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315 votes

What's wrong with USB sticks that you need 3 tries to plug them in correctly?

In my experience a USB plug needs a bit of pressure to go in the port. It’s enough pressure to make me wary that I might break it if I’m putting it in the wrong way. After reversing the plug, it ...
Denis's user avatar
  • 3,363
165 votes

What's wrong with USB sticks that you need 3 tries to plug them in correctly?

Short answer: Design commonly causes misalignment Most plugs or ports have a flared edge, beveled plug or some other design that allows for the orientation of the plug to be slightly off and still ...
Keeta - reinstate Monica's user avatar
157 votes

What's wrong with USB sticks that you need 3 tries to plug them in correctly?

Physical symmetry without symmetry of use I'm surprised that so many of these answers are addressing the consequences of poor design without discussing what made it a poor design in the first place. ...
mowwwalker's user avatar
  • 1,735
149 votes
Accepted

Why are aluminium soda cans typically round instead of square?

It is a combination of manufacturing and usability... but mostly manufacturing. Doing a quick web search for "why are soda cans round" (Google does a decent job) yields multiple insights in the issue....
Nicholas Pappas's user avatar
130 votes

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

I am in the fast food business having owned five units for over 30 years but don't have a unit with two lanes. The reason for two lanes is a matter of timing from McDonald's research into this that ...
Rob's user avatar
  • 2,823
119 votes

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

Unfortunately such cable is not compliant with USB specification, as even in usb power delivery the data lines are used to negotiate power. You should not mark it with USB (or even USB-like) logo at ...
Agent_L's user avatar
  • 1,195
81 votes

What's wrong with USB sticks that you need 3 tries to plug them in correctly?

The underlying problem, as I think we all know, is that the tactile feedback you get with an incorrectly oriented plug is hard to distinguish from the tactile feedback with a slightly misaligned plug. ...
gatkin's user avatar
  • 914
80 votes
Accepted

How to avoid the "local elevator" problem?

Replace the panel A with buttons “to rooftop” and “to garage” instead of “up” and “down”. Now elevator 1 is reserved for special floors and most people use elevators 2-4.
Denis's user avatar
  • 3,363
75 votes

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

You can never beat straight text ("Power Only"); that way, there can be no confusion. That said, I actually have such a cable at home which has an icon very similar to this in a raised profile on ...
TernaryTopiary's user avatar
68 votes

How to avoid the "local elevator" problem?

On further thought, another solution could be to implement a singular, digital wall panel where users can indicate to which specific floor they are intending to go, much like the ones found in many ...
esqew's user avatar
  • 1,071
59 votes
Accepted

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

Is there any chance the label pictogram is actually 10x10mm? Guidance on Labelling and Packaging Version 2.0 - September 2016 states in section 5.2 (Size of the label and of the label elements) that ...
Roger Attrill's user avatar
57 votes
Accepted

Why do we prefer shiny finish on cars and dull finish on devices?

Practical origins defined our tastes When car finishes became shiny (because they weren't always) [1,2] due to the availability of the required technology and paint materials, it was mostly for ...
dennislees's user avatar
  • 11.6k
48 votes

Why are aluminium soda cans typically round instead of square?

Other people have already said "manufacturing" so I will not repeat that. What is worth emphasizing though is that soda cans are pressurized to 2 atmospheres of pressure or more. https://www....
MichaelK's user avatar
  • 866
48 votes

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

It's better for some situations like a quicker user gets through the line faster. Example: a car full of kids takes 3 minutes to order. A single person who knows what they want takes 30 seconds to ...
Josh Carr's user avatar
  • 491
47 votes
Accepted

Why do most smartphones not have a physical keyboard?

While space is an obvious part of the equation, it's not the main one, you could simply have a sliding physical keyboard just as previous generations of smartphones and be a happy camper. However, ...
Devin's user avatar
  • 38k
45 votes
Accepted

QR vs Barcode vs Custom Code

You can add quite a bit of visualization to your QR codes, see for example https://github.com/x-hw/amazing-qr Some examples of that page: If the QR code will be shown on a screen you can even use an ...
F. Pareto's user avatar
  • 556
41 votes
Accepted

Door handle on automatic doors - why?

This is a classic door design problem. Don Norman, the author of the book "The Design of Everyday Things", is quite vocal about door problem faced by users throughout the world. Interactive product ...
Arshdeep Singh's user avatar
35 votes

Why do most smartphones not have a physical keyboard?

What caused this decline in the use of physical keyboards? The iPhone What is the impact on the UX of mobile devices? This is a pretty deep question and is tough to answer objectively. I would ...
tbolt's user avatar
  • 679
34 votes

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

As others have stated, icons are unlikely to be seen. As this question shows, a common way to solve this is to make the cable end visually distinct using colour. In this case, the red end is power ...
Terence Eden's user avatar
34 votes

What's wrong with USB sticks that you need 3 tries to plug them in correctly?

Failure to follow the USB specification I've had trouble with USB devices that completely fail to provide the tactile indicator that the USB specification mandates: 6.5.1 USB Icon Location The USB ...
Toby Speight's user avatar
32 votes
Accepted

Does an on/off switch still means on/off when positioned horizontally?

I think your assumption that vertical switches are always up=on and down=off is wrong. In instances where two switches control the same thing then it is very easy for them to get out of sync. For ...
musefan's user avatar
  • 7,111
29 votes

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

Leaving aside the question of whether there's a better solution than a custom USB cable, if the 'lightning bolt' symbol is not obvious enough, or is too similar to the Thunderbolt symbol, an ...
nekomatic's user avatar
  • 524
28 votes

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

Time Note: just like David Meister mentions in his great answer, this is based on Theory of Constraints Let's say we have 2 rows of 4 cars and it takes 3 minutes to each car to make an order, plus ...
Devin's user avatar
  • 38k
28 votes

QR vs Barcode vs Custom Code

I prefer the custom solution because ... well, because it's custom and gives us aesthetic and emotional design options If this is your graphical solution and your collaborators prefer a practical ...
Danielillo's user avatar
  • 19.1k
27 votes
Accepted

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

Context is everything. Yes, you are right in questioning that some people might be confused by this. However, the usages of this icon each show in dramatically different contexts. The icon is used ...
Nzall's user avatar
  • 2,281
27 votes

QR vs Barcode vs Custom Code

Let's look at each of your options in-depth. Barcode Pros ✓ Well-established technology. Can be used with many types of hardware. ✓ Familiar; recognizable. ✓ Requires minimal image processing. Cons × ...
maxathousand's user avatar
  • 19.5k
26 votes

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

It's not the answer you want, but it might be the answer you need... Whatever graphical treatment you apply to your product, it will never fully convey the difference between 'charge-only' and '...
cheersphilip's user avatar
26 votes

Metro station stop design to prevent people from commiting suicide

Turin's unmanned tube (Italy) has barriers that extend from the quay to the ceiling of the basement. It is virtually impossible to fall on the tracks without tampering with the automatic doors. ...
gabrielecfo's user avatar
25 votes

How to avoid the "local elevator" problem?

In an office building where I worked, they solved a similar problem by making panel A a bit less obvious than panel B. Panel B was right out in the open, on the wall between two of the elevators, ...
user98761's user avatar
  • 351
23 votes

Why do most smartphones not have a physical keyboard?

The main reason is versatility. A keyboard in software can be easily adapted to different layouts, different character/symbol sets and different cultures. In addition, custom keyboards such as Swype ...
Stonetip's user avatar
  • 737

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