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

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419
votes
24answers
33k 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 ...
88
votes
5answers
14k views

Why do numpads on keyboards and phones have reversed layouts?

I came across this on the web. It's supposed to be funny, but we all know better :) So, why are the numpad layouts different, and what are the reasons behind each?
212
votes
15answers
42k 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, ...
109
votes
19answers
30k 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 ...
63
votes
7answers
10k views

Why don't ATMs give you cash before your card?

I live in Australia, so this might not apply worldwide, but here, when withdrawing money, the ATM will give me back my bank card, then several seconds later the cash comes out. This typically leads ...
90
votes
8answers
10k views

What reason could Nintendo have had for putting the A and B buttons the wrong way round?

When Nintendo brought out it's first game system, the NES, it had a controller with four buttons: Select Start A B However, somewhere, a designer, in their infinite wisdom, decided that the A and ...
219
votes
15answers
43k views

Why do washing machines have windows?

I'm curious why every front-loaded washing machine I've seen so far comes with a window, while other household machines, like dishwashers, don't. From a design or UI/UX perspective, why would one ...
51
votes
13answers
5k views

Why do Microwave oven UIs fail?

I’m not a professional chef, but I do know my way around the kitchen and its machines. The dishwasher, the fridge, the freezer, the stove and the oven all works as expected in many homes. Could you ...
34
votes
7answers
8k views

Why don't sandwich toasters have an on/off switch?

The absolute majority of electrical appliances have an On/Off switch. However, the absolute majority of sandwich toasters do not - you just plug them into the socket and unplug them when you're done. ...
18
votes
4answers
934 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 ...
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 ...
101
votes
20answers
17k 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 ...
92
votes
12answers
21k 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 ...
64
votes
8answers
17k 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?
82
votes
9answers
10k views

Why is the “Record” icon always round and usually red?

I've been wondering why the symbol for 'record' is universally (AFAIK - has anyone seen exceptions?) a circle and usually red. Cameras, VCRs, voice recorders, smartphones, web apps... I've seen cases ...
44
votes
11answers
9k 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 ...
27
votes
10answers
3k views

Traffic lights: “yellow” is progress, not state

When thinking about how (real-world) traffic lights work, I wonder if there is a more intuitive way to display the yellow light. The meaning of Green and Red are states: Green: Ok, you can go! Red: ...
26
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
586 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 ...
43
votes
7answers
7k views

Why do ATMs need to take your card in?

In every ATM I've seen, the card is "swallowed" by the machine, and returned at one point or another (or not, if you type the wrong PIN 3 times or whatever). This leads to people forgetting the card, ...
18
votes
5answers
626 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 ...
8
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
70
votes
12answers
10k 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 ...
42
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
24
votes
7answers
2k views

How can a TV Remote's UX be improved?

TV remotes have the astounding distinction of having about half as many keys as my keyboard and one thousandth the functionality. The problem stems from the (perceived) need to present every possible ...
8
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
7answers
5k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
154 views

Putting names on international business cards in a helpful way

With electronic transmission of contact infos (h/x/j/vCard, CardDAV, EAS etc.) it should be possible to store unambiguously the various parts of a person’s name and title as well as their gender and ...
4
votes
3answers
305 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
935 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Keyboard shortcuts on non-QWERTY keyboard layouts

I've been using the Dvorak keyboard layout for a few years, and something that's always bothered me is keyboard shortcuts. On a QWERTY keyboard copy and paste are conveniently positioned as Ctrl+C and ...
3
votes
5answers
256 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
535 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 ...