All posts filed under “Forcing functions

Eight design patterns for errorproofing

Eight design patterns for errorproofing

Go straight to the patterns One view of influencing user behaviour – what I’ve called the ‘errorproofing lens’ – treats a user’s interaction with a system as a set of defined target behaviour routes which the designer wants the user to follow, with deviations from […]

comments 6
What’s the deal with angled steps?

What’s the deal with angled steps?

It’s a simple question, really, to any readers with experience in urban planning and specifying architectural features: what is the reasoning behind positioning steps at an angle such as this set (left and below) leading down to the Queen’s Walk near London Bridge station? Obviously […]

comments 8
Staggering insight

Staggering insight

I’ve mentioned a few times, perhaps more often in presentations than on the blog, the fact that guidelines for the design of pedestrian crossings in the UK [PDF] recommend that where a crossing is staggered, pedestrians should be routed so that they have to face […]

comments 10
Salt licked?

Salt licked?

UPDATE: See the detailed response below from Peter of Gateshead Council, which clarifies, corrects and expands upon some of the spin given by the Mail articles. The new shakers were supplied to the chip shop staff for use behind the counter: “Our main concern was […]

comments 8
Hard to handle

Hard to handle

British Rail’s drop-the-window- then-stick-your-hand-outside- to-use-the-handle doors puzzled over by Don Norman in The Design of Everyday Things are still very much around, though often refurbished and repainted as with this delightful/vile pink First Great Western-liveried example. I’m assuming that this design was intended to introduce […]

comments 16
Design with Intent presentation from Persuasive 2008

Design with Intent presentation from Persuasive 2008

Dan Lockton: Design With Intent (Persuasive 2008) view presentation (tags: environment affordances sustainability lockton) EDIT: I’ve now added the audio! Thanks everyone for the suggestions on how best to do it; the audio is hosted on this site rather than the Internet Archive as the […]

comments 4
Home-made instant poka-yokes

Home-made instant poka-yokes

Update: Also known as Useful Landmines in the 43 Folders world – thanks Pantufla! Mistake-proofing – poka-yoke – can be as simple as encouraging/forcing yourself to do things in a sequence, to avoid forgetting or avoiding intermediate steps. If you’re the sort of person who […]

comments 33
Spear’s Spellmaster: Poka-yoke in the classroom

Spear’s Spellmaster: Poka-yoke in the classroom

Back in September we looked at Mentor Teaching Machines, a clever type of non-linear textbook from the early 1970s which guides/constrains the user’s progression, in the process diagnosing some common types of misunderstanding and ‘remedying’ them. The comments were enlightening, too: there’s a lot more […]

comments 5
I believe in mirror-queues

I believe in mirror-queues

Meagan Call has written a very interesting piece examining the technique used in some (women’s) public restrooms* of moving the mirrors to the wall near the entrance/exit, rather than behind the sinks as might be expected (and is usually found in mens’ facilities), to lessen […]

comment 1
Do you really need to print that?

Do you really need to print that?

This is not difficult to do, once you know how. Of course, it’s not terribly useful, since a) most people don’t read the display on a printer unless an error occurs, or b) you’re only likely to see it once you’ve already sent something to […]

comments 13
Slanty design

Slanty design

The Main Reading Room, Library of Congress. Image from CIRLA. In this article from Communications of the ACM from January 2007, Russell Beale uses the term slanty design to describe “design that purposely reduces aspects of functionality or usability”: It originated from an apocryphal story […]

comments 7
Water on the membrane

Water on the membrane

The Cranfield/Electrolux Smart Sink – photo from Trespassers by Ed van Hinte and Conny Bakker. Ten years ago, teams from Cranfield University and Electrolux Industrial Design collaborated on an ‘eco-kitchen’, a family of related concepts for a kitchen of the future. Part of the intention […]

comments 2
In default, defiance

In default, defiance

‘Choice of default’ is a theme which has come up a few times on the blog: in general, many people accept the options/settings presented to them, and do not question or attempt to alter them. The possibilities for controlling or shaping users’ behaviour in this […]

comments 9