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

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18
votes
5answers
505 views

Which placement of list of ingredients is most convenient for the cook?

In the process of doing the layout for a cookbook, I'm faced with the problem of placing the list of ingredients for each recipe. I've looked at several cookbooks and seen numerous approaches. I can ...
17
votes
7answers
1k views

Is a book more user friendly than an e-book?

Lately I've had this thought that books were more user friendly than applications. Why do I say that? Because of these reasons: You can visibly see, at a given time where you are and how much you ...
17
votes
8answers
4k views

Why do light switches find themselves OUTSIDE the room they light up in some European countries?

Okay, to be fair my experience is mostly with Poland, though I have observed this electrical interior design decision in a few neighboring countries while travelling, but can't generalize there. ...
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 ...
17
votes
5answers
4k views

Why do light switch buttons have up/down direction when it's really a toggle function?

If you do a quick image search on your favorite search engine on "light switch" you get a large number of images. Most of them have up and down direction, to represent state. Up for on in the US, and ...
17
votes
5answers
1k views

What's the optimal seat arrangement for a self-driving car?

Take your average mid-sized sedan layout (though this is the view of an SUV, it should illustrate the idea for anyone who has never been in a car before.): You have a driver's seat and a ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

What’s the use of vertical guide lines when filling out forms using handwriting?

I’m quite fast making shopping lists via handwriting, and I think I’m not alone using small notes instead of trying to make lists in my phone. But when I come to the store and they give me a discount ...
16
votes
5answers
885 views

Why do most dashboards use capital words?

Most car manufacturers seem to use ALL CAPS for the interiors's buttons and switches, at least when they are not using symbols. Example: They even use capitals for things that are not even ...
15
votes
5answers
423 views

How to differentiate rechargeable from non-rechargeable batteries?

(For example) AA batteries are available as rechargeable and non-rechargeable variants. As they are of identical construction, you have to read the tiny text on the battery to find out if they are ...
15
votes
11answers
3k views

“Tool” or “target” on vacuum cleaner pedal?

I always get confused by the icons on my vacuum cleaner pedal. Take a look at the upper icon. Is that icon representing 1) The tool. I.e. "Your now using the pedal without the brush" (ergo, on a ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the reason for Concave round buttons in Elevators

What is the reason many elevators have concave shaped buttons. Like this: Any special reason behind this?
14
votes
4answers
758 views

Why are sinks always rounded?

I've noticed a trend recently that some sinks have a flat base, but they seem to be few and far between. Are there any reasons related to UX for why sinks have traditionally always been round?
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do manufacturers of most small/medium refrigerators default the door to swing counter-clockwise?

Most people are right-handed, right hand is handy. However, most small/medium refrigerator doors swing counter-clockwise (top view) by default. This forces you to move/arrange heavy things with your ...
14
votes
4answers
462 views

Keyboard number row ordering

On a typical keyboard, why is the 0 in the number row next to the 9 instead of the 1? This seems like a question which should have a straight-forward answer, but the only one I could find is this ...
13
votes
4answers
869 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
911 views

Why do Juice cartons fail on opening?

When I open a simple juice carton I fail on opening. I always seem to waste some of the concentrated juice on the kitchen sink and I wonder – do I do it wrong or is it the package that does not have a ...
13
votes
1answer
556 views

How can you indicate a hidden button on the back of a device?

The first time I used an iMac it was a terrible user experience - I couldn't turn it on. I was scouring the keyboard and running my hands around the edge of it looking for the on button, or some magic ...
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 ...
13
votes
2answers
301 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 ...
12
votes
13answers
4k views

Why do physical keyboards still have built-in numpads?

Normally I use a wireless keyboard without a number pad and a mouse right next to it. Having started a new job, I was finding my right arm somewhat more sore. This was confusing until I realized: ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Elevator dispatch algorithm choice

We have a single elevator servicing an 8 level residential building. What might be the optimal elevator positioning algorithm to optimize user experience (primarily, wait time)? I was thinking ...
10
votes
16answers
901 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Dice and Domino Dot Convention

I noticed dice and dominos both use the same convention for dot placement. Is there a reason for this? Is there any research on how to layout dots so that they are most readable?
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Why do Pedestrian Traffic Signals only play the audible crossing notification for only a short duration and not for the entire duration of crossing?

As per with the American Disability Act (ADA), audible pedestrian signals are supposed to be implemented in most traffic signal projects. These audible signals are designed to assist visually impaired ...
10
votes
1answer
444 views

Why do US food labels intermix desirable and undesirable properties without distinction?

I find it remarkable that the US FDA, after years of tweaking and no doubt lots of time and money invested, could only come up with a food label that is terribly confusing! The left side shows a ...
10
votes
2answers
912 views

Why are most public restroom faucets so short?

My question was inspired by this one. The majority of public restrooms have huge sinks and short faucets. When I wash my hands, most of the time I touch the back wall of the sink and that makes me ...
9
votes
7answers
5k views

Why do some cars have the fuel door on the passenger's side?

Many cars, such as the BMW M3 pictured below, have their fuel door on the passenger's side of the car. I do not understand the reasoning behind placing the fuel door opposite the driver; placing it ...
9
votes
6answers
1k views

Childproof washing machine

My little boy (11 months old) has just discovered how the buttons and dials of the washing machine work. This is inconvenient, because the machine does not react well to random button mashing while ...
9
votes
5answers
910 views

Volume controls: Why is left down and right up?

I see a lot of people discuss the order of buttons (e.g., should OK be on the left and cancel on the right? or submit button on the left or right?) but something that I wonder: Why do volume ...
9
votes
3answers
7k views

Why is the accelerator pedal different

The question is in reference to cars. The accelerator pedal is more elongated than the other two and usually softer as well. Why?
9
votes
3answers
506 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, ...
9
votes
2answers
471 views

Is duping the consumer really a good business practice?

I have had this at the back of my mind for sometime and I believe UX is the proper place to post this though I may not phrase the question right so please chime in if you have suggestions! There are ...
9
votes
4answers
599 views

Why did packaging for reams of paper change from paper to plastic?

After realizing UX includes the wonderfully apropos tag "physical" I am hoping to get some insight into something that has long been a conundrum for me: when the packaging around a ream of paper ...
8
votes
6answers
2k views

Why is a manual transmission so complicated? [closed]

While driving I noticed that the gearbox is complicated for a first time users. I find it hard to tell which gear my car is in while driving. Is there a reason for this design, and is there a better ...
8
votes
3answers
952 views

Traffic light, no more shapes?

I remember when I was a kid. Each traffic lights had different shapes. Red = Square, Yellow = Triangle, Green = Circle. Now all the traffic lights that I see are round. Is there a reason why they ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

What are the benefits of non-QWERTY keyboards?

I'm stuck with QWERTY, but have been tempted to try Dvorak. Dvorak advocates claim it's faster. Are there any studies that compare these two (main) keyboard layouts? Are there other layouts out there ...
8
votes
4answers
6k views

Why did Google opt-out of hardware buttons for Nexus devices?

Are there any real UX reasons to remove hardware buttons from Android Nexus devices? In above Nexus 4 the bottom part is wasted space - won't adding buttons like menu/back/home make it more ...
8
votes
4answers
289 views

What are the User Experience disciplines in the analog world?

It is clear to me that User Experience (UX) is about how a person feels about using a product, system or service. This website is focused on the digital world, but what happens on the analog world? ...
8
votes
4answers
273 views

Is the middle power option 50% or 60%?

A friend of mine has a blender with 6 control selections: One off position, and five power settings in order of less to more power. Example below: A discussion has erupted over whether or not the ...
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 ...
7
votes
3answers
980 views

Why is the caps lock key often so big on a keyboard?

It seems that the caps lock key is not a frequently used key on a computer keyboard yet on all the keyboards I have used, it is afforded a significant amount of interface real estate, often as much as ...
7
votes
6answers
980 views

How could petrol forecourts be designed to improve efficiency?

I am always shocked when I go to a petrol station. The layout- in the UK, at least- seems to be fairly standard. But it always seems to me to be incredibly inefficient. These are the issues: When ...
7
votes
1answer
460 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, ...
7
votes
2answers
264 views

Do manufacturers of markers produce different shapes for each type (whiteboard/permanent) so you can tell the difference by touch?

In the sense that this is an interface with the user of pens, I thought this might be an acceptable place to ask this question, but if it's just application interfaces, then please remove or close ...
7
votes
6answers
2k views

Why electric car windows can be automatic for driver's window and manual for others?

I'm European and I don't understand the logic behind electric car windows commands. In a lot of cars, a driver can fully open the electric window on his side with a single push. But if he wants to ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Reason for blinking laptop power light on suspend

My HP Pavilion laptop has a power light on the switch (a slide-and-release switch). This light is off when the computer is off or hibernated, constantly on when the power is on, and it blinks when the ...
7
votes
5answers
926 views

How useful is this coffee cup “hot contents” warning?

I came across this on Dan Pink's blog. This caption on a coffee cup is supposed to serve as a warning sign to caution people that the coffee is hot and care must be taken to avoid burns. The ...
7
votes
2answers
246 views

Interesting visualizations for a personnel in-out control

I have a database with the data of all the company personnel in and out through several facilities (All people must put their fingerprint in the scanner to open doors) I'm looking for interesting way ...
6
votes
3answers
310 views

Why is User Experience treated different in digital and physical stores?

When shopping online there is (from my experience) a well thought through design of all the steps from finding the product(s) you want and need to the check out process and purchase of the product(s). ...
6
votes
8answers
400 views

Order of physical controls: volume down, volume up, mute

My speaker has 3 physical buttons in this order: volume down volume up mute I find the order quite illogical, I would expect: volume up volume down mute Is there any convention on the ...