Simple Things

People interacting with physical interfaces are everywhere. Few examples I can recall from what I saw this couple of days are people swiping a card to get a meal, swiping it to gain access to a room, or something as simple as opening a faucet. But there are two examples I’d like to write about in more detail.

The first is door handles. Simple enough, people just turn them and voilà, door open. They might seem hard to improve, but in my experience some handles are more user-friendly than others. For instance, dorm handles are straight and close to the door itself, while handles in the staircase doors are curved outward. While that might seem like a small, mostly aesthetic difference, that curvature meant I could use my elbow to open the door when my hands were busy (something I can’t actually do to enter my dorm).

The second is the toilet buttons that control flushing. The dancing game example we saw in class made me think about visual cues that an interface gives an user for proper interaction. While the game’s builder admitted his game didn’t give cues as to how it worked, the toilet buttons are the opposite: the size of the buttons acts as a very simple cue of the amount of water each button would release.

But yeah, even simple things can give much food for thought.

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