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

5
votes
3answers
186 views

does a pushed button with I and O on it mean it is on or off

I am trying to charge a childs electric car. It says to make sure it is in the off position while charging. However, it is a button that goes in or out. How do I know whether pushing the button in ...
4
votes
1answer
87 views

Are shoelaces replaceable by more usable alternatives? If so why are they still so common?

Compared to alternatives like velcro (which have been around for quite some time) or mechanisms that allow you to tighten shoes with a twisting mechanism (as seen on some of the football boots), ...
1
vote
1answer
92 views

Why are tactile ground surface indicators potential slip hazards?

For those who are not familiar with the technical sounding term for something that you see in normal everyday life in the city, tactile pavings, also known as tactile ground surface indicators (TGSI) ...
2
votes
1answer
29 views

Design systems that cover both physical and digital use cases

When companies created design systems, it is typically applied to their products and services rather than something that can be used throughout the entire organisations. Atlassian's update of their ...
7
votes
2answers
161 views

Direct users to use a physical button

I'm designing a touch screen user interface to control a physical robot. The interface also includes physical buttons, similar to how a cell phone has touch screen elements and physical home buttons, ...
6
votes
2answers
526 views

Why is the button to open a microwave door always hard to push? [closed]

Every microwave I've encountered always has the same feature - an unusually resistant "open microwave door" button. Why is the button to open a microwave door always more resistant than buttons on ...
0
votes
1answer
56 views

Alternative to “click cycle” without cumbersome UI?

The A/V receiver in my living room has a "click cycle" functionality. There's a button labeled "Mode." It changes the mode every time you press it. If you accidentally miss the desired option, you ...
2
votes
0answers
45 views

Why are European recycling codes so complicated? [closed]

Each time I recycle my garbage, I must wonder why are these European recycling symbols so complicated. For example this one: This symbol is really cryptic for me as a user. PP could stand for both "...
10
votes
3answers
499 views

Why do 4-wheel suitcases usually have their wheels on the short side, rather than the long side?

In a 4-wheeled suitcase, there are three possible ends to put the wheels. Most commonly, the wheels are at the short end: Public domain image I find it hard to keep them on 4 wheels; one has to ...
3
votes
2answers
294 views

Car safety assist dropping speed automatically

Would this be considered good UX if the car in safety assist mode would drop the speed automatically to adjust with the car in front instead of informing the driver of getting too close? This is ...
33
votes
11answers
11k views

Door handle on automatic doors - why?

I was traveling by train, and I came across the board toilet in the picture below: Unlike other board toilets I encountered so far, this one had an automatic door. At least this is what I suspected ...
1
vote
2answers
64 views

Visibility of touch buttons?

At my workplace, I have a monitor of reputed company with touch buttons with back-light which aren't visible unless the monitor is switched on. This includes the power button. Occasionally, I spend ...
1
vote
3answers
281 views

The return of skeuomorphism and the importance of physical design in UX [closed]

I read all articles that talk about trends with interest, as my personal philosophy with UX design is not to go with the latest trends but pick the solution that best solves the problem. So it was ...
1
vote
2answers
184 views

Why many car manufacturers still use gearstick / gearshift for automatic transmissions? [closed]

Why gear selectors for automatic transmission are still made in form of the gear stick for manual transmissions? Isn't this useless waste of space? There are at least two other possibilities (both ...
10
votes
1answer
165 views

Why do mobile phones require to “send” a dialed number?

In phone devices with rotary or touch tone dials you can just dial the number and the call will be made. It may happen that the call won't be made, or the user will dial a wrong number. However, the ...
11
votes
5answers
824 views

Why are car keys and house keys different?

When inserting a car key into the ignition, I am able to do so quickly and easily, without having to carefully line up the key with the keyhole. I can do this despite the fact that the keyhole is ...
1
vote
1answer
315 views

On water fountains, why the blue tap is supposed to be colder than the white one?

Water fountains often propose two taps, one with cold water and one with water at ambient temperature. In my experience the cold one is labeled with a blue color while the ambient one with white color....
2
votes
1answer
134 views

Why aren't all headphone connectors on the left?

Most every pair of wired headphones has the cable attached to the left earcup, probably for reasons similar to why most of the microphones are placed on the left. One would expect then that devices ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

'turn over' on a leaflet

Not too sure if this question should be here or not, but regardless. Should a leaflet have 'turn over' written at the bottom centre to let the viewer know there is another side, or will they ...
1
vote
1answer
123 views

How do people with vision impairment access buildings requiring a swipe card?

With many of the commercial and corporate buildings now having more strict control around entries and exits, I was wondering in terms of accessibility how people with vision impairment are provided ...
-1
votes
1answer
50 views

In hotel lifts requiring swipe card access, is it normal to swipe or press the floor button first?

Having been overseas to a number of different countries recently, I noticed that there doesn't seem to be any convention when it comes to the way people are meant to use the hotel lifts. Some guests ...
1
vote
2answers
360 views

Why don't traffic lights include the time until the light goes red or goes green?

Whenever I am driving I try to speed through the light when it is yellow and it is always stressful trying to get through before it becomes red. Street crossing lights have a countdown number that ...
2
votes
2answers
300 views

How am I expected to carry a key fob equivalent of a smart card attached to my key ring?

A number of wireless smart card issuers is promoting so-called payments tags or key fobs - that's a small wireless device which can be used in place of a wireless payment card or wireless transport ...
3
votes
2answers
104 views

What research exists into user experience design factors for the design of ovens and cooktops?

TL;DR I am after UX research into the design of ovens and/or cooktops, or research that can be applied to their design. Any references would be most appreciated, especially if they cover the ...
1
vote
1answer
270 views

Is there evidence that shows stairs with open risers are less safe than those with risers

I know code allows open risers but I am trying to find more definitive information on safe design. As usual, opinion and anecdote is easy to find but I haven't seen a more academic/scientific look at, ...
2
votes
3answers
890 views

Why do we have both backspace and delete keys on most keyboards?

I wonder why both backspace and delete keys exist on so many keyboards. For example, the commonly used 104-key PC US English QWERTY keyboard: Personally I prefer backspace, and would only use delete ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Why is the accelerator pedal in cars are at the right side ?

The accelerator pedal is located on the right side. Usually, this pedal in more elegant and softer as well. But this is not the question. The question is why it is located on the right side, not the ...
3
votes
1answer
345 views

Why do train departure boards use orange text on black background?

At train stations in the UK (and I also noticed in Italy) - the departure/arrival boards use orange text on a black background. However, at airports there appear to be a much wider variety of colour ...
4
votes
1answer
332 views

Why “heat & cool” buttons on air conditioner remote controls?

On most air conditioner remote controls, you can find buttons such as Heat / Cool. Users must switch to the cooling mode in summer, and to the heating mode in winter. Curiously, Heat 25°C(or 77°F) is ...
56
votes
17answers
16k views

What is the benefit of 2 drive thru lanes at a fast food restaurant?

The following photo shows the drive thru lane at a fast food restaurant. The lane splits in two to allow 2 drivers to place their order at the same time. The following photo shows an overhead view ...
1
vote
1answer
65 views

Numbering teams in a physical competition: is there a point? [closed]

Context One of my "night jobs" is acting as an organizer of the Canadian Robotics Competition for high school students. In short, students build a robot to play a game against other robots, as many ...
81
votes
20answers
24k views

I'm designing a no-data USB cable : How should the end be marked?

I'm specifying a dedicated USB cable for a product, but it won't be a full cable, it will be missing the center conductors. In other words, it is functionally equivalent to a "charge only" USB cable. ...
1
vote
3answers
162 views

Why is the telescoping toilet paper roller preferred over a simpler solution?

I have almost always seen toilet paper rolls presented on a telescoping plastic piece when available for use. A few times I have seen them presented on a much simpler solution: a simple rod with an ...
0
votes
1answer
89 views

Car Park Ticket Machine Letter and Number Organisation

Some car parks in the UK have ticket machines which ask for the car's registration plate so that the ticket is bought for a specific vehicle (this stops people giving half used tickets to other ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Why don't elevators automatically go to the ground floor after being idle for some time?

I work in a regular 10-story office building with 4 elevators. Every morning I notice a situation where all 4 elevators happily sit on one of the topmost floors until someone pushes the button from ...
5
votes
3answers
213 views

On a warning sign, describe safe actions near pictured danger, or pictured safety?

This thread on Aviation.SE raises an interesting question: what is the advantage in putting the "DO" actions below the hazard zone on the diagram, rather than below the safe zone? For context, this ...
4
votes
1answer
227 views

How can we be safe from hitting a glass wall that is hard to notice?

This picture was taken in a Korea airport. I found it very hard to notice many glass partitions, including this one. I almost hit once. What will be the approach to get away from this kind of ...
9
votes
2answers
614 views

Why are monitors landscape and books portrait oriented?

Generally, with most books, they are in portrait form. I've seen reasons for this, like it is less work for our eyes. If this is the case, then why are computer monitors and TVs in landscape form? Why ...
1
vote
2answers
382 views

What is the purpose of zippers with double sliders in cases?

I noticed in most cases from medium to big size there are usually double zippers. These don't normally appear in small cases. What is the benefit of double zippers in contrast to single ones? Only ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Why do washing machines have so many modes of operation?

Every single modern washing machine has a significant number of functions, e.g. this machine from LG: There are 13 modes, 5 spin settings, 5 temperature settings, 4 extra functions, a Start button, ...
36
votes
1answer
4k views

Why put a warning sticker over the warning on this product?

My curiosity got piqued by a can of deodorant with a sticker with a "flammable" warning placed where the text was evidently already flowed around it. Peeling off the sticker revealed another "...
11
votes
1answer
450 views

What research exists into the user experience of physical smartwatch designs?

Consumers now have a plethora of choices in the wearable smartwatch market and one of the most striking differences between the various products is in the design/shape of the actual physical hardware. ...
13
votes
2answers
625 views

Why in the UK are there pedestrian crossings with two sets of indication signals - one above the other?

This has baffled me for a long time: why pedestrian crossings are installed in the UK with two sets of cross / don't cross indicators - one above the other. On this set I saw recently it's not even ...
2
votes
1answer
836 views

On-Screen or Physical Buttons On Smartphones

When I refer to buttons, I am referencing the three common buttons located on the button bezel of many Android smartphones (example below Samsung Galaxy S5): Android smartphones have been making a ...
0
votes
1answer
393 views

Appropriate use of and child-proof alternatives to screwed-down battery covers

On lots of electronic devices with replaceable batteries, the battery cover is secured by a screw. I understand that it may be necessary to protect against child access to the battery bay, but using ...
1
vote
3answers
810 views

Is there any point in “plastic cards” still having raised (“embossed”) lettering on them?

I know in the days of paper credit card slips that the card details were raised so that the card could be used in an "embossing machine" to print the details using a carbon copy layer. But does any ...
2
votes
2answers
335 views

Do users of Braille displays get sore fingers?

I have a very simple question concerning Braille displays. I have never used such a device, but am curious. Do users of Braille displays get sore fingers as a result of repeated touching and stroking ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

Why is the R in front of the D gear in cars (and vice versa)?

Most (or all) cars that have an automatic transmission have the reverse gear in front of the drive (forward) gear (and vice versa). What was the reasoning behind putting reverse (R) in the front and ...
17
votes
6answers
5k views

Why was the “Airport” icon chosen to mean: “radio emissions on your device are disabled”?

I am amused as I drive around nowadays and see "Airport" icons on blue informational signs and I have cause to think: "Well, no WiFi or Bluetooth there!" That is probably what children are thinking. ...
3
votes
2answers
163 views

Designing user experience for an actual, real-life environment (off-screen)?

What do you call it when you design the user experience of an actual, real-life environment, example, an office where services are offered so that the interaction between the customers and the ...