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

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4
votes
2answers
717 views

How long should automatic doors delay closing?

Automatic doors have a sensor that detect whether people are present, and when there are none, and after a delay, the doors close. How long should that closing delay be? Does it depend on factors ...
61
votes
12answers
9k views

Do signs printed on the road offer a significant advantage for the user over signs on a post?

I was driving earlier today and I came across a stretch of road that didn't have signs for the speed limit but instead had it written on the road like so: Image source It got me thinking that it ...
7
votes
4answers
177 views

Why do stairs have overhangs?

Most stairs (at least here in the US) have an overhang or 'nosing' where the edge of the stair protrudes over the riser: I've heard different reasons for why the nosing exists, but I've not been ...
36
votes
4answers
3k views

Why are messages on the road printed in reverse?

After reading this question, something occurred to me that I've always wondered - but never thought to ask. Why are road messages/signs printed in reverse? (source https://xkcd.com/781/) Anytime ...
3
votes
3answers
497 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". ...
0
votes
1answer
76 views

Is there a human advantage to painting heavy equipment (aka “baggers”) bright yellow?

Is it just branding, decoration, or is there an actual human-centered reason for it?
6
votes
7answers
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 ...
22
votes
5answers
2k views

Why do public restrooms place the paper holders so low?

Most public restrooms that I've used (in the US) place the paper holder very low, with the bottom of the roll (where you can grab the paper) below knee level when seated. This is not true in the ...
15
votes
2answers
345 views

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

I often hear complaints 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
207 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 ...
63
votes
9answers
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
111 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
129 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 ...
86
votes
12answers
19k 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 ...
13
votes
16answers
1k 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 ...
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. ...
1
vote
2answers
153 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
103 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
191 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?
2
votes
2answers
158 views

Why do revolving doors rotate counterclockwise?

In all my life I have never seen a clockwise revolving door. How did counterclockwise become standard?
13
votes
4answers
905 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
2k views

Why AMBULANCE is written as ECNALUBMA on emergency vehicles?

Why is AMBULANCE sometimes mirror written on emergency vehicles ?
3
votes
2answers
221 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
1answer
100 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
115 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
7k 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
159 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 ...
202
votes
15answers
38k views

Why do most public toilet doors open inwards?

The design of most public restrooms greatly caters for the ability to wash hands after the use of the toilette, providing facilities like sinks - sometimes with touchless faucets - soap dispensers, ...
9
votes
3answers
517 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 ...
15
votes
5answers
436 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
74 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
171 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 ...
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 ...
27
votes
8answers
7k views

Why do people mount TVs so high on the wall in their homes?

When I was a kid, movie theatres tended to have the screens fairly high and the seats were all at or near ground level (very gentle slope), meaning we all looked up at the screen. Over time people ...
12
votes
13answers
5k 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: ...
30
votes
16answers
7k views

Traffic lights: why yellow before green?

Traffic lights around the world use the yellow light to warn people that it will soon turn to red, so that people can stop before. This is perfectly understandable. However, I found out that in some ...
40
votes
11answers
7k views

Why don't most elevator panels let you unselect?

We've all seen it in the movies where a kid will push all the buttons in an elevator. We've all likely done it - accidentally hit the wrong floor. There's no unselect after you select a floor in an ...
103
votes
19answers
18k views

Which way should be “on” for a switch?

Most of us use switches every day in various forms. And although there are sometimes general norms in countries as to which direction is "on", there is variation between countries. So when ...
1
vote
4answers
182 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 ...
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 ...
0
votes
2answers
197 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
6answers
240 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
3answers
367 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, ...
5
votes
4answers
220 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, ...
9
votes
7answers
6k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
171 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 ...
386
votes
24answers
29k views

Why do people clear the screen multiple times when using a calculator?

I've noticed that most people when using a real or a virtual calculator, they hit the Clear button multiple times when clearing the screen (even though hitting it once is enough), so I started ...