Unusable Podcast 004 – Road signs are confusing

Unusable Podcast 004 – Road signs are confusing


Coming up on the Unusable podcast: Road
signs that lie… I argue with a TomTom… none pizza left beef! Is it none nune or none? Hello and welcome to the Unusable podcast where we discuss the importance of user experience in technology in the world
around us, and we talk about great design that just works or moan about it when it
doesn’t. hello Andy. hi David. Hi. Back for another episode. yep yep yep.
hey we’ve had good feedback actually should we talk about the feedback now? I thought we agreed to talk about it later.
well okay. Do you want to introduce yourself? yes so I am Andrew Waite, and
I am a product owner of a SASS product in Derby. And I am David Ball, I am a web
developer and I live in Derbyshire. That’s interesting by the way just pick
up on something… I usually go by where I work. Okay. And you you like to announce
where you live. well I work like just a few meters away from you Are you hoping for home visitors? So I’ve got a bit of a gripe this week which i think has somewhat inspired the topic. okay. …which is that we recently did a road
trip to Folkstone in Kent to pick up a car of all things. Because you know you
do, that’s about I think about three and a half hours drive including around the
M25 which is the busy bit around London. it was a deal I couldn’t
refuse yeah that’s true I don’t know if you go there you didn’t like it I think
you’d have to buy it well that’s the risk this is a total aside anyway on
that journey a long journey I think I should have counted I didn’t but I think
there were at least five or six instances where the electronic motorway
signs had a message showing right at a temporary speed limit or something like
that but there was no actual hazard and the whole thing was pointless and
actually I would say at least twice that was I believe dangerous that those signs
were giving misleading information okay so hold on what’s going on you’re
driving along and it’s telling you to go a certain speed
so that so the overhead sign says something like so the national speed
limit is 70 miles an hour in the UK because you run the motor oh yeah yeah
and it will say 50mph, obstruction in road. okay and this is a digital temporary
sign that’s not always there? yeah so you think oh god right I better so damn slow
down a bit there’s an obstruction in the road don’t know if this is in a motorway
don’t regular track directly travel on so maybe the speed cameras better so
down to 50 okay okay and maybe this is just me because some of the drivers must
know about some sort of secret lease it’s a lie
because there’s plenty where the drivers just zooming on past it continuing to go
70 okay so they’re completely ignoring what their signs saying yeah and then
there was one particular and it was quite horrible it reduced the speed to
50 and then it said lane closed move over now it looked like lying hands move
okay now so I’m I’m doing 50 and everybody else seems to for some reason
like I don’t know not take any care of it and it’s telling me to move over so
I’m moving over into the second lane yeah and there’s other traffic doing 70
and seeming seemingly getting angry with me because I’m doing what the sign says
and going 50 in the middle lane but the most annoying thing is there was nothing
there there was no reason to reduce speed there was no reason to move over
into lane to the lane wasn’t close there’s no obstruction so are you saying
everyone else just ignored it and is that what you’re supposed to do that’s
how everyone was behaving so I don’t know am I am I in the wrong for obeying
the sign I don’t know it must have been five or six instance instances of
temporary signage so either lane closed or obstruction in the road or something
like that on a reduced speed limit okay and all of those times there was no
actual need for it it’s completely unnecessary signing there was no yeah
there was no incident any any time that this happened on the return journey so I
stopped believing it right and also I felt actually it was quite dangerous
doing 50 in the middle lane with other traffic doing still carry on doing 70 80
miles an hour you know I thought well what’s the balance you know do I obey
the rules and and and hopefully not get a ticket or do I break the rules and I
feel that’s probably safer given the speed of other traffic around me yeah
I’ve always felt it feels safer to do the same speed as everyone else this is
a difficult one but if we had someone from like at the traffic
here right now they would say oh yes you should definitely follow the signs
because that’s what they’re there for that keep us all safe but it still felt
dangerous driving along in the lane with trap you could just look in your
rear-view mirror is going 70 80 still but there were even people that decided
it was appropriate to undertake me and go in the first lane which they just
presumably driven past the sign that says lane closed – do not go in this
Lane today they’re probably thinking oh it’s just one of those guys who’s slowly
in the middle lane I didn’t want to because people do get annoyed about that
people go in slowly the middle lane but you’re doing that because you’ve been
told to yeah you’ve been told that the left hand but the way this thing is like
probably like I’m the only one that’s been told that the lane is closed and
it’s 50 because I’m the only one you know yeah I couldn’t see anyone else
doing following the signs it was just me so how do they know it’s not yeah they
must have seen it before they must know some sort of trick it does make me
wonder yeah you know how have any accident has been caused by the signs
being wrong I’ve noticed sometimes where the sign has been counterproductive how
do you mean coming home from work last week so I was I was going ahead and as
operationally roundabout or as we say in the Midlands in Ireland and so I was
going to this roundabout at Midland it’s only people I know from the middle is a
call that an island I don’t know so I was going straight over and there’s a
sign just before the roundabout saying road ahead closed and I was like oh no
how am I gonna get home I need to go straight straight on and if the road
ahead is closed that’s gonna cause me some real problems but actually what it
means when it got so they roundabout is that the road on the left was closed so
really he wasn’t ahead for me I’ve been ahead for someone else but it
wasn’t ahead for me and yeah I was thinking about trying to turn turn round
to get to take another exit things like that and I was probably just gonna ruin
my whole evening and trying to get through it was closed at the roundabout
so they would try to warn you in advance which is a noble intention they were
trying to warn you in advance that one of the exits from the roundabout is
closed yeah well be more sensible is assignment
said first exit closed that would be more useful yeah maybe they didn’t have
signs maybe there are no signs saying those things there’s any limited science
that you can make them make some that’d be nice so there was another time where
I was going to work and there was a divergent sign but where was the road
that’s closed does that I’ve apply to me is the road somewhere on my
route or is it gonna be on another route how does that sign know where I’m going
but how would you convey that much information because that’s obviously the
problem with road scientists you’ve got to try and convey information to someone
zooming past very quickly true it’s an interesting point but still assigned
same diversion might be more misleading than it is useful because I might not
have been going where the sign was telling me about in which case I’m just
all confused now and now thinking derive time I would ignore it until unless I
came across something and said you should follow this division I would
ignore it well surely I want to go well surely that proves that how
pointless it is well in this story it didn’t apply to me
so so I just carried on to work and it was fine so if he was alright well but
there was one time I was in this big long queue for ages in a place where
there’s not normally a queue it was a bit traffic lights and traffic was
queueing I had to go left but it took me maybe like 40 minutes to get to the
point where I could go left it’s only really close to the turn where there was
a sign saying access to nothing what it was some place closed but the thing is
I’d already been in the queue for forty minutes until I got to that sign so
queuing for 40 minutes was completely pointless and unnecessary and nobody
told me and all the other people that were
trying to get down there as well nobody told us that we couldn’t get that way so
surely there must be some way to tell people that they can’t go yes there is a
diversion sign no Google Maps it had no dated I really I use Google
Maps a lot in fact I used Google Maps almost almost every day on the way to
work because it’s dead easy I just like put my phone in its little holder thing
and then say say hey Google never get to work then it goes okay
navigating and it sort of comes up with the maps and it takes a few seconds but
then it does that and it shows me the routes and because it obviously it’s
close to the internet it knows the traffic and so after maybe 30 seconds it
might then go oh actually there’s another routes to go on so take this one
instead and that usually is really good except for times when there’s a road
closure but Google Maps doesn’t know about it there was one time
I think oh it’s really quiet down there that’s the best way to go exactly what
happened yeah that’s why a lot of people use Waze though isn’t it you see no I’m
not saying I’m not so Waze is owned by Google I think their data feeds into
your map so that makes it better but ok ways is a sat-nav up where the users can
report a problem as they’re driving along so for example you being the first
person to go down there would be covered you’d be you know in your forty minute
queue or going to the bridge that’s been knocked down you would unfortunately be
scuppered but you would be able to press o quick button on the app to say it’s
blocked yeah you turn around and then everybody else behind you doesn’t have
the same problem so that’s quite good yeah cuz you can’t report these things
in Google Maps it’s actually really difficult talking about road signs mhm
is no the funny example but you with me in Natyam day trip yeah well it’s an
evening event leave me good to see the League of Gentlemen on stage which is
kind of irrelevant but good show anyway anyway when we’re going there there was
a temporary some kind of Tempe roadworks road closures we’re not like in
Nottingham and the road had a temporary sign indicating which lane went which
direction so each lane you know this one goes left goes to this town centre may
be the right one goes off to a suburb etc the wording on the side said stay in
lane now it didn’t say get him Lane now he said
stay in Lane but if you’re in the wrong lane well that’s what I’m wondering
because there’s no other sign to tell you yeah these are this this is the lane
you to get in it was literally right this is where these lanes are going stay
in the one you’re in and I’m like but I don’t want to go I can go can i disobey
the sign are you allowed to disobey signs in that case I thought it was so
stupid that I did I mean oh we’ve been to a mond strict about it by saying no
because if there’s a sign saying 50 speed limit you can’t go above 50 speed
limit that is so if it says lame lame you should stay in the lane yeah but if
it also said drive off a cliff you wouldn’t do that true I have a problem
with the legitimacy of signs if you see a road sign with speed limit on
obviously that’s legitimate that has been created for the purpose of telling
us what to do but I saw some the other day and it was a road works and the
signs that had been didn’t look right the font was a bit off
the round circle around the edge was a little bit thinner than normal I thought
this has just been made by somebody else so was making their own size if
someone’s making their own signs are we supposed to obey it somebody actually
did that in May they had a you know on a motorway you get the signs that say this
exit is for Leicester Nottingham whatever the different places it goes to
and they had a consistent problem that people kept missing their little village
or whatever because it wasn’t on the side or he wasn’t well marked on the
side yeah so they took it upon themselves to have a vigil on tape to do
a vigil on Terra and they made their own sign they climbed up on the motorway
gantry they replaced the sign with their own sign and it stayed there for years
or noticed and solved the problem it’s something and then the council
eventually found it and replaced it and they replaced it like her like so they
actually kept the change they’ve been made yeah and I think they came out and
condemned the vigilantism because obviously because he’s not authorized to
do that and if he was if he was trying to fit in it actually dropped exactly
into a car then somebody could have died it could be horrible he wasn’t following
safety protocols and whatever yeah well I like about that story though is that
he really thought about it and he made sure that the sign was weathered so that
it didn’t stand out as like a nice bright shiny new sign
yeah yeah so he made sure that it was all weathered and yeah say make sure
there’s a little bit rest on there whatever but why not why not oh I think
it’s a great idea but you can’t well how do we know what’s real if someone did
put a fake road sign up then how are we supposed to know to follow it you’ve
already told us a story about how signs told you something that wasn’t true fake
news it’s just fake news I’ve got a very minor story about signage at work we’ve
got a about two bins in the kitchen and one of them says recycle only and so for
ages I was putting only recyclable stuff in the recycle bin and then I noticed by
looking inside some things in there were definitely not recyclable and I asked to
one one day and they said no who don’t use it for
this it’s just a normal bin but yeah it still has a sign on saying recycle only
which means that if that’s not true what else is not true cuz it all is a lie
exactly how am I supposed to believe anything how am I supposed to know if
the sign says that that the next sign I see is to be believed as well so like
after my journey where I’m seeing died version that doesn’t possibly exist the
next thing I might see is you know you drive with a 38 sends me it’s set for
ages those red triangle signs saying flood right it’s had this for maybe two
years signs warning as if a flood have you ever seen a flood there no never
how would I even flood it so it’s like on a hill going up it’s not gonna flood
so if I see that as well I’m already thinking well all of these signs that I
see must just be some sort of unfunny practical joke which means that them
then they’re all crying wolf and the next sign that I see might be something
completely useful in legitimate but I’ll might just ignore it because all the
others are nonsense well I think that’s the risk for me with the especially with
the temporary motorway signs because I I think those ones I just don’t believe
them and I wonder if that’s why other people have just completely ignored them
as well something that I wanted to talk about and it’s something that I’ve had
to research before the podcast but I couldn’t find anything about so I just
kind of thought it’d be interesting to talk about is American signs feature a
lot a lot more by the way of text wording British signs I think a more
symbol based okay what I’ve seen so when I drove in America there would be a sign
saying slow or things like right turn on red or no right turn on red whereas in
the UK those things are predominantly like no left turn and things like that
similar yeah so it all being an arrow with a cross through it exactly so I’m
not sure what the right answer is but which which of those approaches is
better I would say if you’ve got an icon an arrow pointing one direction with a
cross through it that’s very clear to everyone not just
English language speakers as well because think about the amount of
visitors that we might get to this country just people on holiday from
another country might not speak English that sounds useful for them but there
are quite a few symbols in the UK there yeah unless you are told wouldn’t
necessarily be obvious have you got any examples
examples well there’s a picture of a sort of triangular sign with a picture
of a tank in it come on you can guess the warning triangle I think everyone is
fairly universal thing I’m not sure if it’s Universal but triangle usually
means danger at least it does in what about the UK and Europe the classic
picture of a car with an explosion above it in a circle what does that mean
no exploding cars you cannot explode it means if you’re carrying explosives you
can’t drag down there it was carrying explosives seems
doubtful that’s very niche also surely there should be like a designator
designated explosives vehicle not what looks like a Morris Minor it was
probably just the average cow and those signs are made there it won’t be okay so
one that you might not know about unless you are told that no overtaking sign
it’s two silhouettes of cars next to each other one red one black Oh
and that means no over say learn about that when you try to do your driving
test yeah of course yeah would I know what that was if I haven’t learned
learnt well usually know is symbolized by cross through isn’t it in roads in
road signs anything in a red circle means prohibited really mmm triumphant
warning circle means prohibited so if you see a picture of a car in a circle
it is enough to have a load true it just means no cars allowed I just think that
things worth cross through means no you know like the Ghostbusters logo as a
cross through a ghost which means no ghost I would have thought that’s the
same thing on a on a road sign do you know what I would agree with you and
it’s actually slightly inconsistent yeah that’s annoying no u-turns no left head
and no right turn all have a cross through them that’s why we need
consistency but no horses no horse riding doesn’t have a cross through it
hmm no pedestrians doesn’t have a cross through it okay I’ve got an article here which is
young drivers understand emoji road signs better so a study was done yeah
with young people I think young people who are drivers and they they showed
them some signs ask them if they knew what the real one was assigned for and
then they showed him some fake signs but using emojis though we all know emojis
are just a little a symbol of something and what they faced were these emojis
that they’d made up like so they have the draw road signs in an emoji style or
had they literally recreated a road sign with existing emojis there is it’s a mix
I’ll show you I’ll show you in a bit and I’ll tweet this on our Twitter which is
that’s unusual podcast well yeah pretty much they’re there they’re made up but
using emojis and what they found when they asked it’s only a small number of
people to be honest so it’s not a study that you can really take too seriously
but what they found out was that 61% of 17 to 25 year-old motorists show they
understood the emoji road signs better than the real road signs this America or
UK UK okay is there evidence that we should maybe redo our road signs as a
country maybe I’d be able for that I don’t want to drive around on roads with
emojis on signs I think that would just be depressing but if they clear it then
that’s gonna be better for everyone yeah I’m all for clarity and I think there’s
certainly some road signs in the UK that haven’t been thought about enough so for
some of the people that they asked 68% were unable to correctly identify the
real road sign depicting a pedestrian crossing now what is that that would
just be a pedestrian crossing the road right additionally 80% could not place
the sign for no vehicles which i think is confusing actually the one that looks
like Evel Knievel doing a stunt as part of reading around this I was looking at
the people that originally designed a lot of the iconography in the fonts I
can’t what their names are but it was two people wasn’t it did the typeface
okay so it was jock Kunia and his assistant and later business partner
Margaret Calvert who did a lot of the iconography in the fonts that we used in
our signs but do you they’re offered held in quite high regard so they’re
often talked about as the I’ve seen a lot of TV programs where they
you know they talked about how they did a fantastic job from the designs and
they’re still in use today and the font really clear and all the decisions that
they made as part of making cyanea they would tasked with but do you ever think
that for a moment at some points they might think because it cuz clearly
nothing’s perfect do you think they ever think you know that that side could have
been better and I wouldn’t do if someone died from it and am I responsible they
sat there thinking am I responsible sort of dying because hope they didn’t feel
bad about it but they might look at that evel knievel sign and go I wish I don’t
love it so one of the things interesting that
Joc Kinnear and Margaret Calvert did when they were doing the typeface and
the iconography they said that the words on signs should be mixed case ie they
should start with a capital N and have lowercase letters which might seem
counterintuitive to start with because you think we’ll block capitals they’re
much more recognizable simpler but actually they they they found out that
word is easy to recognize the separate words when they’re marked with a capital
letter at the start okay so the word boundary is you’re zooming
down the road a word boundaries easy to make out if each word start with a
capital o as opposed to if you think about it if all you had was capital
letters and spaces there’s only the space that denotes that that’s two words
and not one I think you’re right actually if everything was written in
capitals I would find it a lot more difficult to understand and in fact yeah
if anyone sends me a text message with almond shout ease
yeah well the shouty capitals yeah you do have to really look at it to figure
out where the hardest lead isn’t it it’s harder to read yeah so it’s
counterintuitive in a way so we’ve talked a lot about road signs yep
something we haven’t talked about is signs you know the paths of life there’s
a quite cool Tom Scott video so Tom Scott’s a youtuber if anyone doesn’t
know watch his stuff brilliant well he talks about the underground and have the
underground signs often London la ground yes sorry
the london underground signs often lie so they’ve obviously got to manage huge
volumes of people at peak time so what they’ll quite often do is route people
round a longer way just to delay them and if you know the shortcuts you can
just go through a different passageway that’s
marked exit all sort of thing and get where you want to go quicker but the
signs lie for the well for the good of the many really by taking you run a long
way so it tells you something that’s not true
so it says well exit this way is what it’s not true it’s just that it takes
it’s not the most direct way so it’s trying to split the traffic up to the
purposive know so that with you if you keep people busy walking around a series
of long tunnels going a long way around those are people that aren’t stood on
the platform making it even dangerous for people before when the train comes
in that’s quite interesting I don’t know how I feel about that though I would
hope that the sign saying way out would always tell me the most effective way to
they were out no I think the way outside generally are reliable because they just
want to get you out you know they get you out I think it’s when you when it’s
got a sign in front of the platform front of the line yeah they will
potentially not tell you the most direct way to that platform I wonder if Google
Maps does this for road navigation or if it has a responsibility to do this
because Google Maps when you’re driving the navigation is brilliantly I use it
all the time but if everyone or the majority of people rely on it do they
have a responsibility to not clog up roads because why I like it is it will
tell me the most effective efficient fastest way to work but if everyone knew
that way save the a38 your carriageway is is all clogged up with traffic it’ll
tell me Oh actually go this other way instead but if they’ve told everyone to
go that way down these back roads they could quite easily clog up the back
roads and cause a nuisance for everyone else so do they do they have a
responsibility to navigate you in lots of different ways do they have a
responsibility to keep the roads traffic free well I was wondering if they bias
it away from for example people’s houses and and sort of heavily populated areas
you know do they do they try and keep traffic on the main roads I do wonder
and a very specific reason that I wondered this for quite a while so I
live next to it quite a major juncture between a motorway and a dual
carriageway and sounds lavish all the satnavs wants to do is
me up to that main junction which I assume is because it thinks it’s a
faster road I don’t know and then to come back up myself into the housing as
they were I live but the fastest way is actually to if you’re driving up the
dual carriageway is to leave at the exit before and to drive through the housing
estate and my sat-nav I’ve tried several of them always want to go that same
route they want to take you up to the to the main roundabout and then double back
on yourself and sort of minimize the time in the housing estate but the route
through the housing estate leaving by the previous Junction is quicker and the
time on the sat-nav the estimator tablet rival just drops as I take that route
he’ll say you know I’m ten minutes away from my house as I leave the dual
carriageway and it will still be telling me to turn around and go back on the
dual carriageway and then as I Drive down the through the housing estate it
will just drop drop drop drop and it only takes two minutes to go through
that way so house someone programmed in a bias against driving through a housing
estate because people in housing estates don’t want their roads clogged up with
main road traffic I don’t think Google engineers are
looking at the maps around your house and going oh let’s not get the cars to
go down there it’s too nice think of all the people in the houses that we really
really appreciate is not sending the cast on that I don’t think they’re gonna
think that at all so you think that Google wouldn’t have any qualms about
sending people down there if it was I think they were gonna do the most
efficient and effective thing to make people happy it’s and enjoy their phones
that they bought to be honest Google is one of the ones that does sometimes
suggest going that way okay but stumbling some maps never want to get on
there even if you know about traffic and quite a few other apps that I’ve used do
don’t want to get on there yeah I think that’s because Google actually has the
data saying that people are going down there because they’re spying on those
it’s faster but Tom Tom it’s clever so speaking of tom toms
look what we got here this is this is your TomTom from your car is it it is
yeah this isn’t it looks quite a modern one widescreen it’s not modern big
screen it’s it’s quite a few years old now I’m purchase that as I’ve seen
before yeah well I first got a sat-nav when they were very old and clunky and
this isn’t old and clunky this is not old and clunky but it’s by far from like
the latest you can get although I don’t know how I don’t know how good they are
these days but this is not everyone no well but this is the thing my phone the
the the free navigation that I get from Google Maps is so much better than this
and that’s what I wanted to sort of illustrate what it doesn’t do very well
here’s voice activation right so this is what I like to do I like to put this on
there on the dashboard and just sort of leave it there and not touch it you’re
not really supposed to touch anything in the car and so a lot of steering wheel nothing should distract you from driving
I know me and so this comes with special ability to talk to it and navigate using
your voice it’s a TomTom site now yeah I can talk too yeah I will tell you
what version it is but I can’t remember so how do we talk to it okay well there
you go you’ve been given this you’re gonna figure it out now so I sort of put
it there voice control no you don’t suppose to be
touching it okay talk to it hey Tom Tom Tom Tom Tom what’s the
activation phrase now you seem you have to know what the activation phrase is I
think it’s okay Tom Tom okay okay Tom Tom no oh maybe it’s not going on well
oh I’ve talked I’ve always confirm Oh creepy is there not always listening so
when you say ask it to navigate to somewhere like Denby navigate to
Chesterfield what I think we want to stop at home know what creepy
navigate to Chesterfield navigate to Chesterfield say the least number of a
petrol station near you I want a petrol station why what I want
to tell you about a petrol station navigate to Birmingham no navigate to
Birmingham I think you have to do it is like is if you’re programming a sat-nav
in the old-fashioned way hold on go to an address 42 Priestley Street Sheffield she’s got it
number one so it was showing you a list then was it yes it should be a list of
four options the other three were just ludicrous
okay what the first option was the most accurate in yes please go start no
that’s stupid explain to me what’s happening it’s got
its give me the options to cancel change the house number change the street
chains if you’ll start again but but not not just to go there oh right exit
exited it backs it so you haven’t successfully managed to navigate
anywhere no I don’t think I ever could I think I just resort at touching the
screen if it was me to be honest well this is what’s annoying about this and
what’s so good about the modern yeah using your phone because I could say
right now without even have to touch my phone navigate to anywhere I’ll actually
test it with the same challenge hey Google navigate to Chesterfield okay
there we go is just showing the maps right now so that was you see how much
easier that was so what you had to do on the TomTom was go
through a sort of menu so you you were trying for a long time to say navigate
to place which is the most sensible way of describing it but it didn’t
understand the most sensible way it wanted you to say it in the way that it
knew which was what does it want first navigate to an address what first yeah
which i think is born out of they’ve claimed up just added voice commands on
to the traditional menu system that has a traditional Santa of it would give you
options like navigate to an address navigate to a point of interest though
the options that you’d have so they’ve just taken those and made the voice
commands which is fine probably for the TomTom engineers but for an actual
person who will just want to do something yeah they haven’t considered
the usability yeah they haven’t bad usability stories my my bad usability
story this week is from going to KFC in the what’s now called the into Center in
Derby it’s irrelevant where it is but you went to KFC I was with you I shared
this delight yeah it was their delight so I decided to place my order on a
touchscreen I don’t know what am i a glutton for punishment oh yeah
absolutely there was a person there a human being who is ready to take your
order ready and willing and you like no no I’m gonna go and talk to the robot
yeah you did pressing some butter cuz I knew it was gonna be rubbish so what I
decided I wanted was a Philip rice box meal as he’s known right so that chicken
and rice in a box yeah yeah I get that yeah is to fill it rice box did they
fill it with rice in a box Oh terrible it’s chicken Philip oh is it really
oh it’s thought I wasn’t even making a joke I just know it’s right box Oh terrible over there yeah so I chose the
option of a Philip rice box from the menu yeah is it would you like to make
it a meal and it gave me a picture of each so the picture I could choose
either just the Philip right at rice box which was a balk
with some chicken in it hold on a second explain the interface here so you’re
standing in front of what looks like a giant portrait phone a phone that’s
import anything and it’s weird because you did look like a tiny little borrower
type person who was messy yeah it was messed around that massive
fail okay so so there’s a menu on the screen yeah some kind of like not a a
user interface menu but an actual physical food menu mm-hmm and I chose
fili rice box many men said would you like to make it a meal okay there were
two touch areas on the screen yeah one which was represented by a picture of
just the filling rice box which was just the thin rice box and another one which
had a glass of Pepsi Max the Filat rice box and some corn and it said make it a
meal so that’s what a meal is yeah some corn
you mean like corn on the cob yes right okay not just some for milling and
making some bread so so I decided that I would like the corn on the cob yeah
that’s exactly what I want in the picture okay so you’ve clicked on the
picture that was exactly what you wanted yes okay and then it asked me what I
wanted to drink right which I said 7up okay I find then that was the end of the
options but what it said is that my side order was fries oh so at that point I
was confused because you hate on the picture of corn well I don’t know
whether I would get caught and fries or was I supposed to get an option of corn
or fries I was a bit confused to be honest so on the screen right now then
on this this option is just at what the pictures and fries if I took a picture
I’ll show you okay later this is the actual thing that on the screen okay so
that’s showing you it’s kind of like on an e-commerce website which I suppose in
this really is isn’t it it’s just an e-commerce website just happens to be
next to a restaurant yeah and so it’s showing you the summary of
what your order will be so it says the meal on the Left which has a drink the
box itself and some sweet corn then some fries in the middle and then the 7up
yeah okay oh but it’s also turned French no yeah you’re gonna mention that code
oh who drew drew drew too I don’t know what that means some reason it just
turned French in the middle of she’s just yummy just you invite these
things so that it’s just so anyone different language I wanted a rice box
with some corn right yeah by the looks of it that’s what you’re gonna get and
some fries that might come separately well and a load over 700 which I assume
represents some 7up it arrived yeah and it was a rice box and some fries and
some 7up and I said where’s the corn and they said I’ll come with fries or top it
for corn I was like well but the picture shows those things yes I would see in
the picture right there in first you could have shown them that picture on
your phone I did this is what I wanted but the thing is I took the picture
because I was like kind of a bit I’m sure I couldn’t leave I don’t do to KC
that often but I vaguely remembered that it was corn beans fries or I think maybe
your of other options but there’s a few different ones you can have is this
coleslaw maybe it’s a side so what did she say just the actual human server
confusion I think I think I don’t think I was complaining about I looked at the
TV screen and these pictures what I wanted and yeah I couldn’t actually
order it this is why some products they say things like batteries not included
or things like that because you see them on the advert or on the listing with all
these things next to them then you might think the batteries are included or
they’re no but in this case KFC will affiliate rice box meal is the rice box
aside which they classify as fries beans corn coleslaw whatever yeah and the
drink yeah okay they even show it pictured on
the TV screen with corn yeah but don’t give you any option to choose called oh
hold on you’re complaining about something that’s completely different to
what I thought you were complaining about I thought you were saying that the
picture is misleading because it includes some things that you don’t get
but what you’re saying is actually there was no option right at that time to even
how it should it’s gone it showed the picture of having a rice box with corn I
went that’s what I want and then it just didn’t let me choose just went you
haven’t fries with it oh so you were funneled through a process and you had
to have what you were given well I didn’t because I complained about it and
they switched it oh oh so what you did get corn I got cornea oh I thought the
only I’ve been trapped with a human why the
Johnson in the first place a French TV screen would not let me choose corn did
you know the best touchscreen checkout process I think in a high street shop no
but you’re gonna tell me McDonald’s Oh they’ve got a lot of money they can
get it right they can’t make I think they’ve done quite a good job actually
but I know these are the same it’s the same process isn’t it it’s a touchscreen
there you go and press some buttons on I have no problem with the touchscreen to
order my food I have a problem when it goes wrong doesn’t have the right
options it go slowly it doesn’t give the user feedback when you’ve pressed a
button that’s what I have a problem with yeah I think that’s actually why I like
them at all ones because they register every touch or press even if it needs to
go do some processing so that’s one of my main gripes with the self-checkouts
in supermarkets you press a button and it’s clearly going off to think about
something but it doesn’t tell you on the user interface
it’s some kind of loose no spinner there’s no user feedback so you end up a
end up just like going well did that work and I’ll press it again and then by
the time it eventually catches up it does like eight things in one that’s cuz
she pressed it a million time Treasury impatient it’s not very well designed
though it should tell me as soon as you press it the terminal should go okay I
know it’s going to take a second for me to go and protest that but let me just
put a spinner up and grey everything out disable the buttons I agree it is
frustrating it always ones are quite good at that but those ones I think very
good at having quick feedback when you interact with them one of the the great
things that he wrote about donald’s touchscreens is that for fussy eaters I
find that quite embarrassing to have to go and order something and say you know
can I have this but without that or with this any even you know sometimes I would
prefer an extra gherkins in a Big Mac or something yeah
but it’s quite you know you think about asking for that because it’s just you
know you’re embarrassed of your own order yeah you can have whatever you
want yeah but the touchscreen is great
because then we’d all touch screen accommodates all the options that you
can have all your awkwardness yeah so you could literally go on to the middle
touch screen and you can say I want a Big Mac and then you go and edit and you
can say odd you know next burger patty extra bacon I mean some of
the things are extra charge but you say I don’t want any onions or whatever you
can actually do very similar to that old meme of non pizza with left beef you can
order a Big Mac and say I don’t want half the things in here and just end up
with a bun if you want but that power means you could be totally awkward with
your order but because it’s a computer screen you don’t have the embarrassment
yeah you’re right a human being still has to put it all
together yeah but for them they all I do and you throw together burgers as it
appeared on a TV screen in front of them yeah they call the poverty screen and
just says make a Big Mac but don’t put the lettuce in it there’s only so many
options in there really and there’s nothing you can do this that ridiculous
no no I think we could try I think we could go and try and just have just the
bread let’s do it let’s make very expensive but oh can we talk about the
time that we that we did that on the Domino’s websites yeah I ordered a
pizzas so it’s just if anyone don’t know why this is a very famous internet meme
for someone that abused this Pizza configurator so the Domino’s Pizza can
be rate allows you to choose to add and remove toppings and they chose a piece
with no sauce no cheese half and half and on the Left half no toppings on the
right half just beef but this was a long time ago we’re talking about something
it was a website this was years and years ago yeah that somebody did this
and I just remember the form being just like barely styled web form and not
really making any sense the usability of it was awful I’m not surprised more
people didn’t get these just by accident yeah with no left beef or whatever it’s
called if I was one of the options where I was the option left beef half one
thing half another thing as that is that what was going on yeah it meant beef on
the left half but there was no sauce and there’s no cheese it was just yeah beef
bits of beef rollatini we did yeah yeah yeah we did yeah
that was that was so funny I really I regretted not recording it properly
because we were laughing for so long what did there is the most what did the
delivery guy say when it arrives I think you just looks really sheepish like he
probably expected that we’ve done this by mistake
humming over some very expensive bread because I remember I did we did we have
meat on it I think it was just bread no just like we had left beef but the beef
was had nothing to stick it to it no just be pretty much rolled up yeah
yeah it was all in the box just around the bread be Nuggets wasn’t it like
those yeah so they just rolled off and they were on to one side so it took down
the corner and what I thought was really funny is that someone’s obviously had to
make this thinking it was a serious order and they were probably dead
nervous about it as well they probably thought oh something’s gone wrong on the
form and someone’s gonna ring up all angry where’s the rest of it yeah
they’ll blame this on on the person who’s made it rather than blame it on
the website options and we’re obviously we knew what they were doing big steep
it didn’t actually say do you have any other requirements so we did we asked
for a picture of a dinosaur on the box did we get one no disappointing but what
I thought was good that they had done is they put a sort of light little
sprinkles they obviously just every pizzas he goes
it’s some kind of light like garlic yeah a little bit taste that done that with a
dry bread beef on half of it which is mostly rolled off by this end and the
sprinkling of seasoning seasoning yeah and this cost quite a lot buddy they
have like a base price and I don’t think they expect people to do stupid stupid
as we did yes so yeah I think we paid quite a lot of money just for the worst
pizza I’ve ever had he was worth it there wasn’t it it was
just four it was it was funny it did entertain me as my stomach Rumble so on
the last episode we talked about measurements and the imperial system and
how stupid it is or is it does it make sense and if you didn’t listen to it why
not go back episode three available okay so I have a bone to pick with you about
this because I had some feedback from Zack who listened to his talk about
Imperial and metric and which one was better and whatever and he said I’ve
always been on the fence about Imperial versus metric but Andy’s arguments have
swayed me to favor Imperial which is not war
wanted to happen oh oh explain the metric is so much more sensible and
precise and we should live in a world precision is brilliant but Andy’s talks
up Imperial now which which is just based on nonsense it’s vague it’s just
completely made up by somebody wants it makes sense in everyday life the
imperial system makes sense doesn’t make sense and I don’t think you
matters I think people use whatever they feel comfortable with and make sense to
other people around them and it doesn’t matter I think we should all have a
shared metric that makes sense to us all and unites us all and brings the world
all closer together through our shared knowledge of a sensible metric you’re
not you know let me have this one if right if you were doing a recipe in your
kitchen and you just for some reason you offer to a new scales break okay right
and you need the recipe tells you you need 12 grams of sugar right how do you
know how much that is okay but the recipe tells you the same thing but this
time all your spoons are broken right device imagine imagine this has happened
right but URI girl has been around apprentice spoon he has yeah it tells
you need a teaspoon of sugar yeah you could I’m pretty sure I could estimate a
teaspoon of sugar yeah okay you are right without needing equipment but I
couldn’t I could not estimate grams of something yeah that’s it we quite proven
argument over I’ve got a story that Doug reminded me of and so there was a young
okay he doesn’t listen he has enough of us just everyday so NASA had a problem
once they would they launched something they called the Mars climate orbiter and
it was going to land on Mars and it was going to be fantastic and stuff but it
was lost in space because of a problem between Imperial and metric so some of
the calculations were done in Imperial zone NASA as a forward-thinking
organization that it is uses metric not any sort of old-fashioned made-up stuff
and but one part of it the calculations were done in some Imperial and I think
it to do with force so NASA uses Newton’s
for force yeah but these calculations were done in pounds per second okay and
a pound obviously something made up a long time
ago and means nothing whereas Newton is a kilogram the force per second I think
so anyway because of these things that didn’t make sense
the orbiter went completely out of control they lost it probably just burnt
up in Mars atmosphere and a lot of money wasted do you have any other comments
and feedback after our exciting tap chat lap chat in the last episode because we
know dancing its temperature talked about taps Zak has sent us in a picture
of some taps which he calls them “Norman taps” after the Norman doors. Okay, and so
I’ve got a picture here. Okay so what they say push be icy I’ll describe them
to you for the for the sake of the podcasts okay there’s a very shallow
basin and this is obviously taps in I think it’s in the shopping center
because I recognize the the font the tactile sort of nozzle on it and it’s
it’s a automatic tap where you put you know it’s all where you put your hand
underneath there’s a sensor and the water comes down yeah I’m with you yeah
but the thing is you don’t know where to put your hand obviously you know to put
your hand underneath the spout but you can’t see where the sensor is and
there’s nothing to really tell you that waving your hand under them is going to
work and there’s an instruction on the on the side which says go with the flow
which is a weird sort of instruction but then it says very very small it says our
super modern taps are automatic so no need to twist or touch them but the
thing is you need to sign to tell someone how to turn a tap on but exactly
so obviously they must have our people confused or there must be expecting
people to be confused but you should need to explain to people how to use
something as simple as a tap surely it should be obvious the whole point of
having something sort of new and modern and better is that it is completely
effortless but you’ve made it more efforts because someone doesn’t
understand and Zak sent me this obviously because he was a bit confused
because they the tray is quite shallow as well you expect to sink to be fairly
deep so that you could sort of doesn’t look like a thing it doesn’t
look like a sink it looks like a sort of a bar area that just has this
weird-looking tap on that sort of looks like it has the top thing that could be
twisted but obviously you’re not using it that’s twist so it’s a very strange
thing I think with things like that I think it can’t work but you have to have
it so that it looks obvious that you’re supposed to put your hands under it and
the water just starts yeah yeah yeah you have to make that look obvious somehow
and I don’t think you asked I mean the easiest way to do that is to make it
look like an actual sink rather than like a bar like yeah it sounds like
they’re not really thought about it I went to a place once think it’s a
nightclub ages ago and the sinks were in the middle of the toilet area, like a
circular thing and I saw people coming up to it using the sink shaking
their hands off I’m just sort of leaving and I did the same I was put my hands
underneath I was thinking oh this must be automatic it doesn’t seem to be a
problem for everyone else they seem to understand what to do put my hand
underneath nothing oh maybe the sensors broken move to the next one further
along same thing nothing I couldn’t work out they cannot all be broken can I can
I make a guess at what it actually was foot pedal it was a foot pedal yeah how
was I supposed to know there’s no sign well yes I know I mean it you’re saying
you shouldn’t need a sign up we just happen now you’re saying well I won’t
eat it a sign – no I don’t want a sign and I don’t want to need a sign I just
want the tattoo work yeah any way you’d expect and the way you’d
expect yeah don’t remind me of that classic video of someone being
interviewed at a festival do you know the one I mean maybe they come out of a
cube of a cubicle or portaloo or something and they go over to this sort
of sinky trough looking thing and yeah pick up the soap bar that’s there yeah
yeah lovely smelling soap bar and give them so give them the hands a good wife
but it actually to unlock as is clear that it was a urinal with a urinal cake
it’s a little cake of this or of that all of your arms that’s been stained
with urine if you seen any terrible road signs or anything else in usability that
you want to tell us about then you can email us its podcast app to be unusable
calm or you can send us a tweet on on the Twitter at @unusablepodcast.
This has been the Unusable Podcast and it is now time to “sign off”. Hahahaha. because we talked about signs. Yeah I know

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