Thursday, August 03, 2006

Not User Friendly

Say what... I've seen people come to a complete stop at this sign on the Glenmore Reservoir pathway. I know a couple who had an argument about what it meant. While it makes logical sense it's not intuitive. Do they ever test these things with people before puting up the sign? Green Circles telling people what path to take would be much clearer.

- Peace


Richard said...

That sign is not one of the least benightedly unintelligible instructions it has been my profound lack of pleasure not to be able to avoid reading.

(Apologies to Marvin the Paranoid Android).

As a side note, my children seem obey much better when I tell them what to do (e.g. stay where you can see me) rather than when I tell them what not to do (don't go where you can't see me).

An if-then coupled with two negatives takes this to a whole new level. Reminds my of my favorite code snippet...

if (!order.isApproved())
{ // do nothing } else { register(order) }

Calvin said...

Yeah I always thought that about that sign, I know exactly the one. A little positive reinforcement would have made a lot more sense.

I think the idea is that in principal you start out being allowed to do anything you want; laws and by-laws strip out those things which you aren't allowed. So you can't really enforce the signs if they say, "bikes can go here" because hey, they didn't say "bikes CAN'T go there!"

Richard said...


After travelling to Singapore, I learned that being allowed to do anything unless the laws forbid it is a bit of a North American phenomenon. It works the other way in Singapore - the government tells you what you can do, anything else is forbidden.

For example, in North America you get "no U-turn" signs and U-turns are allowed elsewhere. In Singapore, you get "yes U-turn" signs and U-turns are forbidden elsewhere.

Reminds me of some debates in Church. Jesus never said that you can blah-blah so you can't do it. Which if course invites the response Jesus never said that you can't blah-blah so you can do it.

Dave King said...

When people see right hand arrow in a green circle or in black and white no one says but it didn't say I couldn't go left.

Calvin you're right about how this sign happened, it's a case of following the thing that works for single trails and not figguring out how to make it work in this case.

- Peace