Recently, when exiting the parking garage, I noticed some signage updates to the new payment system installed by the garage. Since I’m a monthly card holder, I just have to flash my card and the gate automatically opens. Based on the labels and dialog windows, my guess is that the process for paying to get out of the garage is not intuitive.
Take a good look at the photo below and tell me how absolutely genius this set up is.
For starters, the smaller item on the far right with the slick rounded top is an electronic parking meter. You put in money or a credit card, select how much time you want to pay for, and it spits out a little piece of paper you stick on your dashboard.
Note that the parking meter has a solar panel on top of it, presumably to keep it powered or partially powered.
Now take notice of the larger “thing” to the left of the electronic parking meter. This is signage informing the would-be parker about parking rates, instructions on how to pay for parking, and undoubtedly some language that says something about the parking company takes no responsibility for lost, damaged or stolen stuff. Aka, fine print.
The designers of said signage thoughtfully included an awning over the signage, presumably to shelter is reading the instructions from the rain (this is Seattle, after all.) The awning manages to stretch over the a portion if not all of the solar panel on top of the parking meter. Again, I’m sure, to keep the Seattle downpour off of whomever while the parking people get their money.
Both of the signage and electronic parking meter are situated somewhat under a very large tree, the branches of which create a leafy canopy.
Now, I get that solar power has come a LONG way, but this is genius.
I have no IDEA why I’ve been thinking about “Norman Doors” lately; it may have been while watching an older episode from Modern Family where Claire gives herself a shiner while being boss for the day at her dad’s closet company.
Most in the UX community are familiar with the phenomenon, but for those unaware it’s relative simple. A “Norman Door” is simply a door that one simply cannot determine exactly if it is meant to be pushed open or pulled open. (The title is named after the well-known Donald Norman.) Conflicting handle design (vertical or horizontal) and signage (“Push” or “Pull”) may often be at odds with one another.
I found a nifty little blog post with great examples of Norman Doors at 703 Creative.
The post has some great examples that will generally leave you head scratching, but hopefully wary next time you approach the entrance to your local shopping mall.
Luke W (a.k.a. Luke Wrobleski) gives us a brief and informative breakdown of the Apple Watch UI and interaction model, with recommendations for improvement. I really like his take on the suggested model of use: notifications, glances, apps.
Not an owner of an Apple Watch, yet, I can appreciate how iPhone owners (myself included) would look for a similar interaction model to access information. It only makes sense, right?
I came across this great article, “Simplify Your UX Through Reduction” on UX Matters not too long ago. It’s a great piece on simplifying through reduction, organization and prioritization. It fits right in there with The Zero Interface Approach and Progressive Enhancement.