For questions involving physical interfaces and interactions with "real world" objects.

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3
votes
3answers
176 views

Why do we say that door knobs afford twisting?

So many basic discussions of affordances begin with the example of door knobs affording twisting. It seems to be the second example used in Norman's 1988 definition, even. However a symmetric round ...
6
votes
1answer
100 views

Using warnings to reduce printer waste

I've seen where businesses try to limit printing usage by limiting users from printing more than 100 or so pages per month with an application like this: download bmml source – Wireframes ...
61
votes
11answers
6k views

How to convey: “don't move until the task is done!”

Our local public transportation system uses electronic cards (something like RFID technology) to validate rides. Users enter the vehicle and place their contactless card against a reader, and a beep ...
12
votes
16answers
998 views

How can I get people not to put trash in recycling bins?

In my office space we have a main trash can and "recycling" can in the break room. They are simply two bins, with the same color, that are hidden in a cabinet. Outside of the cabinet are two ...
4
votes
2answers
93 views

UX to consider on a business card design

On a UX stance, what are the best practices to consider when designing a business card? I've done some research in order to find some that I might not have considered and I have to admit that I've ...
1
vote
5answers
167 views

Why to loosen always by rotating it counterclockwise and to tighten by rotating it clockwise?

For example: Screw / bolt Bottle design Why this intuition works for most people? Does it have anything to do with the right-hand rule?
84
votes
12answers
18k views

Why do showers have “hot” and “cold” knobs rather than “temperature” and “quantity” knobs?

I do not understand the advantage of the popular "hot" and "cold" controls in showers, as opposed to "temperature" and "quantity" controls. Is it simply because the latter option is harder to ...
2
votes
2answers
144 views

Why do revolving doors rotate counterclockwise?

In all my life I have never seen a clockwise revolving door. How did counterclockwise become standard?
1
vote
0answers
65 views

How do you indicate visually that a shower is for women? [migrated]

When you see toilets sign they look more or less like this: It is clear who can enter in either of them. Now, say you are designing the signs for showers and you want to distinguish between the ...
1
vote
2answers
138 views

Why are elevator doors always too small? [closed]

I noticed that elevator doors are always narrower than the compartment, so people get jammed up trying to exit. Why don't they just design elevator doors so they are wide enough for everyone to exit ...
1
vote
1answer
92 views

What is the purpose of jackets having small zipperless back pockets just below the neck?

I was a little bit surprised to find that my Bench-branded 100% polyester jacket had a little zipperless back pocket just below the neck, especially since placing something like keys there would make ...
5
votes
2answers
108 views

Are dial format speedometers more effective than numeric speedometers?

I recently criticized a sketch of a automobile instrument cluster concept that indicated speed with a bar gauge and a numeric readout. I and many others suggested that a dial speedometer was easier to ...
34
votes
12answers
6k views

Why do speedometers (in the US, at least) go so high? [closed]

Typically one doesn't drive much faster than 80 MPH. Even in an emergency passing situation, it would be extremely rare to drive more than 100 MPH. In fact, as far as I know many cars have governors ...
13
votes
4answers
158 views

How to indicate which way the boards plug into each other?

I'm developing a board like this that serves as an adapter for a given board that needs to be plugged like this given that the board size is the same, users tend to plug it the other way, the way ...
9
votes
3answers
507 views

Why are coiled cables rarely used?

Yesterday I saw an interesting idea: What are some potential reasons why so few cables have a coil in their middle - like old telephone cables? I know that we don't want all cables to be like that, ...
25
votes
7answers
6k views

How can a retractable pen design be enhanced to discourage users from clicking the pen frequently?

Retractable pens typically have a rather noisy mechanism. Some users periodically start pressing the pen button frequently (while they're talking on the phone or while they're waiting for some result ...
3
votes
1answer
70 views

What is the best way to visually indicate correct plug alignment with socket (hardware)?

I currently have a problem where users are not correctly aligning a plug with a socket on an electrical device, leading to the plug being forced and the pins breaking. Users have suggested putting ...
13
votes
2answers
305 views

What was the reason behind total transition towards wide screen displays by the manufacturers?

I often hear complains by users who are not satisfied by the wide-screen monitors and prefer traditional screen ratios of 4:3 and 5:4. Unfortunately such monitors now are quite rare and the laptops ...
1
vote
4answers
171 views

How to design a physical device?

I have an idea for a product startup. It is a wearable device with one functionality, around which I and my friend started to think. We are pretty sure that we can develop it with only this ...
0
votes
2answers
195 views

Is there a benefit from driving on one side of the road, while sitting in the other side of the car?

I've noticed that cars/automobiles manufactured for countries with right-hand traffic (where vehicles drive on the right hand side of the road) place the driver's seat on the left hand side of the car ...
123
votes
12answers
21k views

Why do idle elevators close the doors?

If the elevator stops on a floor, opens the doors to let the passengers out, and hasn't received a command to go on another floor, why does it close its doors afterwards? If the elevator is not on my ...
7
votes
9answers
3k views

How can employees be subtly reminded that when they talk loud in the cubicle farm corridor they disturb people in the cubicles? [closed]

We have a software shop with a cubicle farm where cubicles have non-transparent (painted drywall) walls about 1,5 meters high. There's a corridor running through the farm. Most of the time all the ...
3
votes
2answers
212 views

Is it really a bad thing to place an ad TV in front of the stairs?

We have the following room arrangement with a plan on a 40 inch TV mounted on the wall. download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups In this place people usually walk ...
5
votes
4answers
216 views

How can railroad operator help passengers find power outlets below their seats?

There'a railway car with passenger seats looking roughly like this (please ignore the seatbelt): Seats are arranged in ICE fashion - two rows with a passage between them, two seats in each row, ...
2
votes
6answers
235 views

Volume controls and mute order

I'm designing a remote control that only have Volume Up, Volume Down and Mute. But I can't decide where to put the mute button, in the middle or on the bottom. And what should I have for the Mute ...
6
votes
1answer
491 views

Is an office-lobby monitor slideshow any more usable than a homepage carousel?

I've got a real-world variant on the classic "Are Carousels Effective" question. My office, like many others, has a 40 inch LCD TV hanging on the wall in the lobby, and on it displays a looping ...
17
votes
3answers
3k views

Board game design: Which design is clearest to indicate failure?

I'm trying to design a board game (and am not an artist) but want to ensure that I've got some practical aspects designed appropriately for the layout of a card. I tried asking on ...
1
vote
5answers
172 views

What is the best way to arrange chinese words on a menu [closed]

On a English menu , the food items can be arranged according to alphabetical order For a Chinese menu , there are no alphabet, only chinese characters , what would be alternative way best to ...
42
votes
2answers
2k views

Why don't ATMs show blank arrows for unused buttons? [closed]

Have you ever had trouble lining the arrows up with the correct button on ATM consoles and other similar interfaces? Height of user can affect perceived alignment, as well as poor installation or ...
4
votes
6answers
208 views

Encourage use of only one roll at a time from toilet paper dispenser

The toilet paper dispenser in a bathroom stall at work made me think of an interesting problem. There are two rolls hooked up and ready for use at any time. As the rolls get smaller and smaller, the ...
3
votes
1answer
117 views

The usefulness of home appliances sound notification?

In our homes we now have home appliances such as a dish washing machine, a microwave oven, a washing machine, a tumble drier. Every one of these appliances makes a little sound notification when it's ...
0
votes
2answers
174 views

Optimising urinal use [closed]

When you visit a urinal (so one for the gents), you’ll find that where urinals are arranged in groups of 3, the middle urinal and floor are typically cleaner than those to either side. This stems from ...
-1
votes
1answer
237 views

What shape should toilet seats be? [closed]

This is something which has been annoying me for a while now. It seems a simple question: what shape of toilet seat is nicer for the user? However, I've asked around a bit and there's quite a lot of ...
2
votes
3answers
140 views

How technical should airline pilots be?

I've been on a few flights recently, and idly listening to the captain talking to the passengers got me thinking: The captain's world is very different from the passengers' world. The captain has to ...
0
votes
1answer
181 views

Toaster's “bagel button” does not work. UX or engineering issue? [closed]

Below is picture of my toaster's front panel. I put bread in, press the "bagel" button, and a bagel does not come out. I simple get toasted bread. A bagel is totally different. I claim this is an ...
28
votes
9answers
3k views

How can wiring systems be designed to not rely solely on colour?

Yesterday I was faced with the challenge of replacing the stock radio in my vehicle. The stock radio had broken, and it was time for a new one. As it is, building the proper wiring harness is already ...
4
votes
1answer
234 views

Does drawing a dash across the numeral 7 (seven) increase readability?

The RBRC battery recycling logo was recently updated to add a dash to the final digit 7 (seven) in the phone number: Does this increase readability? In what situations, if any, is writing the ...
0
votes
1answer
88 views

Do new pedestrian crossing buttons show an activated state?

I think many people are familiar with the situation of people waiting at the pedestrian crossing and repeatedly pressing (sometimes bashing) the button in the belief that it might somehow speed up the ...
98
votes
20answers
14k views

Toilet flush buttons

This question has been bugging me ever since I've started learning usability. I am talking about the two buttons for the flush : Full and half container. On one hand, the button shape has to ...
50
votes
8answers
11k views

“Do Not Disturb” tags in hotels, how can they be improved?

We've seen keys being replaced by key cards, new LCD TVs, WiFi and LAN in each room but the one thing that doesn't seem to have changed is the "Do Not Disturb" tag that can be hung on the doorknob ...
13
votes
4answers
879 views

Why are double-handle taps still installed in households and public washrooms?

I'm wondering why double-handle faucets are still installed in sinks, bathtubs, etc in newer places of dwelling as well as public washrooms. From reading, they appear to be easier to install, but ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Why most of the microphones are placed on the left of headsets / headphones?

I've noticed that the mayority of the well-known brands (Sennheiser, Logitech, Plantronics, Razer, SteelSeries, Audio-Technica, Phillips, etc) tend to make headsets with the microphone on the left, is ...
0
votes
1answer
265 views

Why are push and twist switches more common in lamps than pull switches?

More than once, I've reached under a lampshade to turn on/off a light and had to a) search around hoping I didn't burn myself to find the switch and b) figure out which type of switch the lamp used ...
0
votes
2answers
166 views

Why is the groundfloor G on some lifts, and 1 on others?

The lift at my work for example, groundfloor is '1' and the next floor up is '2' and so on. Whereas other lifts, ground floor is 'G' and the next floor up is '1'. Is there a reason for this ...
27
votes
11answers
4k views

Touchscreen devices: why did the stylus fall out of favor?

It seems to me that devices (such as navigation systems) that use a stylus for touchscreen interaction have become out of of favor. Instead most new devices are intended (i. e. larger buttons etc.) to ...
61
votes
8answers
15k views

Why do traffic lights have three separate light bulbs instead of having one?

Recently, I checked out a concept design for a traffic light with only one light. Do you know the exact reason for having three lamps in a row, instead of one like in this concept?
51
votes
12answers
15k views

Why did early telephones use a rotary dial instead of 10 individual buttons?

I was watching a video of little kids trying to figure out how to use a rotary phone, and it was not immediately clear to any of them how the rotary mechanism was supposed to work. That got me ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

How do blind people know where to find Braille signs?

On many occasions I have seen signs, with the equivalent in Braille underneath the text. Which is great. But what baffles me is this: how do blind people know where to find the Braille text? I don't ...
25
votes
2answers
3k views

The reasoning behind book dust jacket while there is a hardcover

I am wondering, what is the reason behind adding a dust jacket when a book has a hardcover as well. Initially, the purpose seems to be obvious: to protect the hardcover below it, so that it does not ...
7
votes
1answer
463 views

Why do stove dials rotate from “max to min” instead of “min to max”?

Unlike microwaves, on every stove-top/oven I've used, a dial that controls the stove elements can be turned backward to click to the maximum setting, while the dial that controls the oven temperature, ...