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Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Flash of Design Insight

I read POET[1] a while back, and I haven't been able to look at door with a "PULL" sign the same way since[2]. I've also acquired the (they tell me annoying) habit of (over) analyzing my environment. I recently came across the above weirdness at the Pizza Hut franchise inside our local Super Target. It's a little hard to see, but the bar stools facing the window have a board mounted vertically in front of them. It sticks out as an anomaly in an environment obviously designed to be efficiently churned out by the thousands and lacking any non-functional detail.

I sat and stared at it for a good chunk of the 6.001 minutes it took to prepare my Personal Pan Pizza before finally realizing how it added to the usability of the space. Here's a hint: it has to do with the interaction between patrons on the stools and people outside. No? Ok, [3].

[1] The Design of Everyday Things.The name's changed (it was 'The Psychology of Everyday Things') but the song's the same. But you're read it, right?

[2] Only very badly designed doors need signs telling you how to operate them. Good doors have affordances that tell you how to operate them without the need for written language.

[3] Women in skirts. 'Flash' of insight? Puns are the highest form of humor.


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