I’ve been fascinated by the psychology of how humans interact with the world around them for years. Here are some examples of poor user experience I picked up recently.
This was installed in our office in San Francisco, it took two days before facilities were forced to stick those white labels below the hot and cold buttons. Clearly the manufacturer had overestimated our ability to associate their icons with hot and cold.
We had this hand dryer in one of our UK offices. This manufacturer got a bit carried away with the rather creative diagonal design on the front cover. Every time you washed your hands you naturally put them under the right hand side of the unit below the pattern. The problem was that the air flow came out the center so the back of your left hand always dried first!
Despite knowing this your brain forced your hands to drift back to the right side. I guess if you were short enough to see under the unit you’d be be OK.
This happened to me yesterday as I drove through a local village looking for somewhere to stop for coffee. Two bars sat next to each other on the same side of the road. Both advertised they were open daily and served coffee. We decided to take the one nearest our parking space. The first door we approached appeared to be the entrance to the kitchen so we carried on past the windows that looked in to empty tables. We didn’t find another door so we went to the other bar.
Only later did I discover, from a neighbor, that the entrance to the first bar is through a narrow gate that leads to a door on the opposite side of the building to the road. I guess next time I happen to stop there I’ll take a look. If I remember.