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Usability GOT ITs! and NOT-ITs!


NOT IT! the Accidental False Legend (and spawned retro fits)

Totally awesome, right?
While on a long drive to meet with a client a little while back, David Hammond, a colleague of mine here at IDV, and I stopped at Burger Kings a couple of times and picked up some coffee.  The "BK Joe" machine had, right there above the nozzles, iconographic representations of boldness in the form of three increasingly caffeine addled eyeballs commensurate with DECAF, REGULAR, and TURBO coffee options.  The tagline on the dispenser read, "CHOOSE YOUR LEVEL OF AWAKE."
Here’s that false legend and the resulting retro fitted sign…
But the nozzles were just the standard coffee, decaf, and hot water.  What’s the deal?

Either this was an expensive corporate-wide dispenser retro fit or it started right out of the gate as a cool looking but totally misleading graphic.  Either way, the result is a false legend.

At some point they retro fit the dispenser with a plaque (right there under the nozzles) to tell confused TURBO drinkers that this machine is actually of no use to them.  Pay no attention to the gigantic legend in front of you.

…and then another plaque to really mitigate the misleading eyeball legend.
Here is a second plaque to further override the fake legend.

Written instructions as part of the initial view of a user experience is usually evidence of a problem and the overall design ought to be revisited.

The problem is removed, and so are the requisite instructions.
Then I saw this one a few miles up the road; they had given up on the eyeball notion altogether and glued over the problem with a different retro-fit plaque.



GOT IT! The Seat-Shaped Seat Control

Bear effortlessly interacting with a user interface device that controls  4 motors and 5 points of articulation.

Here is a snapshot of my son, Bear, demonstrating my favorite example of natural mapping: a seat control that is shaped like a seat.  Yesterday I was driving along and Bear, out of the blue, says, "This is an awesome car.  The chair is so easy to move up and down."

Bear, 7, didn’t need much time to figure out the whole seat thing.  There is a weird magical little conversation that happens between the engineer of a feature and the eventual user of that feature that is broadcast by inanimate little doodads.  Some doodads are better conduits than others.

Interaction elements that are intuitive, and even fun, most definitely impact the broader experience for the positive.



John Nelson / IDV Solutions / john.nelson@idvsolutions.com


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