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

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6
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there any research available about the speed of working with a mouse vs. working with a trackpad?

I ask this because of a friend who never hooks up a mouse to his laptop because he claims he can work just as fast with a trackpad as with a mouse. My personal experience is the other way around. I ...
5
votes
6answers
3k views

Why are soft drink bottles round, and milk cartons square?

EDIT: The coke bottle I am referring to in the question is 1.25L. Why are soft drink bottles round, but milk cartons square? The milk carton is more utilitarian, being more space efficient, and ...
5
votes
4answers
534 views

One charger for all cell phones

I'm sure you all have experienced the same problem. The scenario is simple. You have forgotten to take your cell phone's charger with you, and your phone is going to be turned off, because it lacks ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Should a light switch be small or big, or does this depend on other factors?

Small and big light switch compared: It's strange that this usually differs by country. The big ones are easier to hit, but the small ones provide better feedback (if you don't immediately see the ...
5
votes
4answers
210 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, ...
5
votes
1answer
329 views

Is there any attempt to standardize a “cancel” action in elevator buttons?

I live in a country where only a few (I've heard of 2 or 3) elevators has the option to toggle back a pressed button in order to cancel the request. Of course, I'm waiting for all elevator buttons ...
5
votes
2answers
271 views

Steps on stairs in groups of 8

I have noticed than most buildings with stairs, seem to group into 8 steps or 16 before each break, unless the total of steps are for example 6 or 10 and more/less steps would mean too high or too low ...
5
votes
2answers
176 views

Organising Spices for Cooking

In my kitchen I use a variety of spices, both powders and loose whole spices, numbering maybe 30 or 40 individual ingredients. Each one needs to be kept separate and reasonably well sealed while also ...
5
votes
1answer
228 views

How could you design a dishwasher to always be able to tell whether the dishes are clean or dirty? [closed]

One problem my roommates and I have is figuring out whether the dishes are dirty or clean. How could you design a dishwasher to always tell whether the dishes inside are clean or dirty? How can we ...
4
votes
5answers
952 views

Maximum set of stairs users are willing to climb before needing an elevator

I know this question has many variables related to ones own ambition / physical condition, but I'm wondering if you were to have a multi story building, what would be the maximum set of stairs a user ...
4
votes
5answers
414 views

How can the mode of a car's transmission be made more clear?

In a car, if you press the accelerator it can do one of three things: make the car go forward. make the car go backward. not move the car at all. The result depends on what gear the car is in, but ...
4
votes
1answer
222 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
518 views

Air keyboard - does it exist?

Is there some kinect-like device with an application that lets users type in the air and reads what keys they would have typed, were there a keyboard? Even a prototype or a research effort? It ...
4
votes
4answers
477 views

Transparent resin casting vs. solid metal color

I am designing an electronics circuit (gps-tracker/recorder) that I would like to cast in a material for durability and aesthetics, as pictured. I may decide to sell it at some point. It would be ...
4
votes
2answers
93 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 ...
4
votes
6answers
201 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
142 views

Conditioning users

Playing around with my heat in my new vw gti ;), I noticed when you press the heated seats button once, it's starts you off with maximum greatness (3 / 3) press it again it goes down ( 2 / 3) (1 / 3) ...
4
votes
2answers
194 views

Is it better to mirror a real-world system for specialized users?

I'm designing a web interface for a control-center kind of thing that's extremely information-dense because it controls a fairly complex system. To an outsider, it's kind of been like trying to make ...
4
votes
4answers
343 views

Controls on moving controls?

It hit me today when driving home from work turning right in a highly busy crossing. I wanted to lower the music volume but couldn’t find the control without looking. On previous cars I’ve owned, the ...
4
votes
2answers
116 views

Does having WiFi spots and similar equipment visible improve user experience?

Suppose I'm planning an office or a restaurant or a city. I need to plan where I have wireless communication spots installed. Those may be WiFi spots or cell towers or DECT phone spots. I've planned ...
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 ...
3
votes
5answers
473 views

Shower Controls

Having recently stayed in a hotel where the shower controls required the user to first pour cold water over themselves before it was possible to turn the control to the warm position: I wondered ...
3
votes
5answers
238 views

Would a 'Processing' indicator on pedestrian crossing controls be helpful - and if so how would it be designed?

Pedestrian Crossings used to be simple things where you pressed a button and light went on saying 'wait' and then you waited until the red man turned to a green man. However, modern crossings in the ...
3
votes
2answers
253 views

Self Service Checkouts [closed]

I have, in the last few months, had to endure these hideous devices. I dislike them because I find them intensely patronising "Invalid item in bagging area" - no it isn't, it is the item you have just ...
3
votes
3answers
170 views

Is it a good idea to set a different signal for performing a u-turn?

For a long time, I wondered why is there not a separate indication to signify a u-turn, e.g. the rear lights would have two segments for flickering lights - one spaced on top of the other - as to ...
3
votes
2answers
256 views

Why are TV bezels there?

Isn't it true that LCD display units only have ribbon wirings on their bottom (or any one side)? So, this should leave the other sides from covering up their edges, shouldn't it? I have read somewhere ...
3
votes
3answers
705 views

Why do electric fan knobs often place the highest setting right after the off position?

Electric fans are often controlled by a knob which the user turns to power the fan on or off, and control the fan's speed. On a lot of fans, the knob goes immediately from the off position to the ...
3
votes
1answer
66 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
410 views

What is the psychology behind road markings on lanes unaffected by speed cameras?

In the UK, speed cameras are usually accompanied by white striped lines on the road. I have always assumed that was a visual reminder to the motorist to "watch your speed- it's about to be checked". ...
2
votes
4answers
495 views

Why is there a contradiction between red in software and in workshop hardware?

If we often use red in software to warn someone to think before interacting with something, like a delete button for example, why do serious power tools like circular bench saws have big red buttons ...
2
votes
2answers
81 views

Do large format books make a substantial improvement?

In the last several years I've seen larger format books alongside the familiar pocket paperbacks. Sometimes these are taller, sometimes they are wider, and sometimes both. I've wound up with these in ...
2
votes
3answers
137 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
355 views

Why are switches with light indicator common but outlets are not?

Wall mount light switches that have a neat light indicator that turns on when the switch is in "off" position are quite common. The purpose is to make finding the switch in the dark easier. Looks ...
2
votes
2answers
582 views

What does “form factor” mean when referring to software?

I'm asking about when the term is used in context of software UI. I see Wikipedia articles related to hardware when Googling the term, but not sure what people mean when they refer to it in context ...
2
votes
3answers
634 views

What is the best user interface you have ever used/seen in real-world or real-world objects? [closed]

Exclude all web/mobile/application/computer software interfaces.
2
votes
6answers
227 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
353 views

Thermostat UIs make me guess and think too hard

Every digital thermostat panel I've come across - just HORRENDOUS! There's a temperature display. Fine. There's an up and down arrow. First thought, it's to change the temperature. Good. There's the ...
2
votes
3answers
324 views

Is this a Mapping or Visibility issue?

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
140 views

Is the label orientation on this product a message from the manufacturer?

I posted a question on the DIY SE site, and it was recommended that maybe a part of it would be better asked here. Consider these two outlets: The blue WR logo indicates that the outlet is ...
2
votes
3answers
328 views

Is there a standard for the positioning of the elevator control buttons?

I've always wondered why elevator control buttons are found where they are. For example, the following image shows the elevator control buttons positioned on the right side. The way I see it, ...
2
votes
3answers
246 views

UI for dimming light

What is the best / natural UI (User Interface) for dimming multiple lighting zones (LEDs) using a microcontroller? Here is what I have thought so far Use rotary encoder to up/dn the brightness Use ...
2
votes
2answers
322 views

Wireframing hardware dashboards/control panels - best practice

For an upcoming customer project, I will be dealing with control center UI, including visualization on-screen software, but also hardware control panels and dashboards. The project emphasizes on ...
2
votes
2answers
304 views

public transit bus stop and door buttons

Not directly software related, I wonder about UX design in public transit busses. In Germany, some time ago there was a simple system in public transit busses: If the bus was quite empty, and no one ...
2
votes
1answer
142 views

Do you know any good source for human-robot interactions?

"In most cases, user experience design (UX or UXD or UED) fully encompasses traditional human-computer interaction (HCI) design, and extends it by addressing all aspects of a product or service as ...
2
votes
2answers
665 views

Method for usability testing of physical products

I am looking for a methodology for interaction testing of a physical product / interface. I am thinking something like expert testing (Heuristics) but just not for digital interfaces. Are there any ...
2
votes
2answers
105 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
122 views

How to make microwaves meals easier to empty [closed]

There seems to be a problem with the common way to deliver a microwave meal. From a flat, compartmentalised tray contents must be tipped or spooned onto a plate in order to be eaten. If there are two ...
1
vote
2answers
546 views

Designing UX for an In Vehicle Infotainment system

I am working on an In Vehicle Infotainment System. This is one particular use case I am finding difficult to think in terms of UX : There is an IVI system attached in car which can take commands ...
1
vote
2answers
195 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 ...
1
vote
5answers
154 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 ...