All posts filed under “Mistake-proofing

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Designing Safe Living

Designing Safe Living

Lancaster University’s interdisciplinary Institute for Advanced Studies (no, not that one) has been running a research programme, New Sciences of Protection, culminating in a conference, Designing Safe Living, on 10-12 July, “investigat[ing] ‘protection’ at the intersections of security, sciences, technologies, markets and design.” The keynote […]

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Lights reminding you to turn things off

Lights reminding you to turn things off

Duncan Drennan, who writes the very thoughtful Art of Engineering blog, notes something extremely interesting: standby lights, if they’re annoying/visible enough, can actually motivate users to switch the device off properly: Our DVD player has (to me) the most irritating standby light that I have […]

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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 […]

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Best bitter

Best bitter

Bitrex, the world’s most bitter substance, is what’s known as a taste aversive – added to products which might seem tasty to humans (especially children) to persuade them not to drink them, or to spit out what they’ve already drunk. It’s a similar idea to […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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On the level

On the level

A tilt-detector from this 1984 US patent, with intended application on a packing box. The liquid detection stickers in mobile phones, which allow manufacturers and retailers to ascertain if a phone has got wet, and thus reject warranty claims (whether judiciously/appropriately or not), seem to […]

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Tidying up the /cig-bin

Tidying up the /cig-bin

Two types of cigarette receptacle with sloping tops to prevent cigarettes (and other litter) being put on top. Images from the New Pig catalogue pigalog. These smokers’ bins from New Pig employ a very simple architecture of control – simply, sloping tops which prevent litter […]

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Shaping behaviour: Part 2

Shaping behaviour: Part 2

Speedometer, rev counter and fuel and temperature gauges on the dashboard of my 1992 Reliant Scimitar SST. Photo taken on B1098 alongside Sixteen Foot Drain, Isle of Ely, England. In part 1 of ‘Shaping behaviour’, we took a look at ‘sticks and carrots’ as approaches […]

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Shaping behaviour: Part 1

Shaping behaviour: Part 1

A couple of months ago I posted about the ‘shaping behaviour’ research of RED, part of the UK Design Council. At the time I noted in passing a classification of design approaches for shaping behaviour, mentioned by RED’s Chris Vanstone: “stick*, carrot or speedometer.” It’s […]

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