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I am thinking about whether my faucet has an issue with mapping, or visibility.

I searched for the shower button for 5 minutes! Can you find the mechanism to turn on the shower (rather than have water come from the faucet)?

What kind of design issue is this: Mapping or Visibility?


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It may be a silly question, but where is it, actually? I believe there is a valve (the centrally placed one), another one for controlling the temperature (the one to the right, with a red button, for limiting setting it to too high level; after pressing the red button you can set higher temperature), but where actually is the shower switch? – Dominik Oslizlo Mar 12 '13 at 12:53
thanks for your answer :). no one. the central one control the pressure, and right side control the temperature, you should pull down the ring part where the water falling(bottom of the image). it is very strange, so I think it is a visibility issue. – flatronka Mar 12 '13 at 17:43
Yes, definitely visibility in this case :) – Dominik Oslizlo Mar 12 '13 at 17:49
but it can be affordance too? – flatronka Mar 12 '13 at 18:31
Depending on the definition of affordance you use. Three are multiple interpretations of this term - some of these consider visibility and accessibility of an item, goals of the user etc. – Dominik Oslizlo Mar 12 '13 at 19:17
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I think it is a Mapping issue, since the correct answer is probably to pull down on the ring near the end of the faucet.

The faucet end (opening where water comes out) is an object-part that usually lacks interactivity. It does have an interactive affordance, which is the protrusion of the ring that allows downward force. The absence of texture or other typical device inhibits recognition of the function.

Like most non-intuitive UIs, once the user is educated as to the operation, this mechanism is probably preferable over the life of the product (user exposure).

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thanks for your answer. – flatronka Apr 10 '13 at 17:31

Well, I guess your options are visible (unless there is something underside), so it has to be mapping, as you don't know which is which.

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it can be affordance or both, can you connect your answer to theory, norman or gibson principle? I read about a lot but I don't know this is the reason why asking. Thanks for the answer, – flatronka Mar 12 '13 at 19:08
Affordance is when you don't know how to deal with a certain appliance: do you need to press it, to pull it or turn it? In case the trick is to pull one of these while it doesn't seem to be pullable (eg: no outer edge or texture to pull with), then yes, it's also an affordance issue. Mapping is when you don't know which lightswitch is for which light, as it's outlined in Norman's Design Of Everyday Things. – Aadaam Mar 13 '13 at 23:16

This is both natural mapping an visibility. I can see the red nob on the faucet on the right top, and if it would be dark (or I would be blind) - I could also feel it if I needed to. Thus this is both visibility and natural mapping.

enter image description here

Image from University of Iowa HCI Lecture 2006

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