21 August 2005

Hoisting Roast Pig

Back from Houston - Grievance Re:Mass. Signage
'Round midnight I came back from Houston. Once again, I-93 was closed from the airport and whatever REALLY IDIOTIC SIGNAGE ENGINEER sort of forgot to make sure that the detour signs spanned all the way from the tunnel to the continuation of Said Interstate. Thank goodness I had a GPS; the signage evaporated somewhere near a completely unmarked 4-way rotary. What do Boston tourists do? Or visiting businesspeople? Mr. Romney, please find the people in charge of Massachusetts state signage and slap them silly. Then give them a copy of any book by Donald Norman or Edward Tufte and send them to IDEO for a summer internship and GET US SOME REAL SIGNAGE.

Maybe I was stuck because of this? Was I really expected to visit the website for the Mass. Turnpike Authority prior to returning home from a business trip, and then map out North Washington Street in case the engineers failed to add signage? Is that even where I was?

[Yes, I do get huffy about these things.]

Oh, and then I made it home so that I could head with J-Fav to something we've been looking forward to:

Back From an Awesome Luau
Our friend RH turned 30 this weekend and held a pig-tac-u-lar luau whose centerpiece was a roast pig.

As I had hoped, La Lecturess perfectly captured the mood of the evening. However, dear reader, I swear, I did not ingest any snout. Honest. Hoofs, tails, yes. But snout?, my word - no. What do you take me for?

Back to Rambling About Human Factors
There is actually a journal article about how to design "You Are Here" maps, you know, for elevators and things. Note to self: add reference when I've found the paper again. (Kind of ironic.)

There is a whole field of study that concerns "usability" - when usability requirements are ignored, for example, you find yourself doing things like:
  • Pulling on a "push" door
  • Guessing incorrectly about which knob turns on the oven burner you want to light
  • Failing to locate your computer's power switch

Here is a brief overview of the field, by Dey Alexander.

A standard, fun, and quite readable introduction - in paperback! - is Don Norman's The Design of Everyday Things. Run out and buy it. Why? If you're not a designer, it'll increase your self-image because you'll quit calling yourself stupid when you can't get objects to function the way you wanted. If you are a designer, well, you probably read it already and Chris Wickens's stuff, too.

New Highway Font

This is old news, but the official U.S. highway font has changed! The typeface we all know and love, FWHA Standard Highway Alphabet E now has an alternative: ClearviewHwy.

Read about it at the Typographica blog, and also at the official website for ClearviewHwy.

Image linked from Terminal Design, Inc.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree that the signage needs help and that the hapless tourist would have been screwed, but should you be interested I can offer you instructions for how to learn to navigate in THE CITY THAT'S BEEN YOUR HOME FOR THE PAST TEN YEARS. It's not all that hard, really. :-)

Did you see jofish's photo of the World's Worst Road Sign?