People Interact

Blog about people-centered design by Lisa Chow and Sandra Sajonas.

Monthly Archives: August 2012

Museum of Endangered Sounds

Museum of Endangered Sounds

Sound contributes to the usability and user experience. In many instances, sound provides feedback. For example, think of when you have to swipe your bank card to get inside the bank during non-business hours. When you swipe your card, you would usually hear a buzzing sound that lets you know that the door is now unlocked. On that note, check out the Museum of Endangered Sounds – enjoy your trip down memory lane and ear canal.

Everyday Usability: Tray Tables

I don’t take the Amtrak trains often (they’re pretty expensive compared to buses), but recently I took the train and I found their instructions for using the tray table to be confusing.

tray table

At first glance, it looks like there are 4 steps in order to use the tray table. After a closer look, it turns out there are just 2 steps to use the tray table and 2 steps to stow away the tray table.

Why would you label the 2 steps to stow the tray table as #3 and #4? It’s not like you would fold the table down and then immediately stow it away as the next step (unless you’re extremely bored on your train ride or the train is stuck for a while due to a signal/track issue – the train problem did happen on my recent trip to DC). So in most instances, you would use the tray table (2 steps – one process) and when you’re done using the table, you would stow it away (2 steps – another process).

I didn’t have any problems using the tray table. Once you lift the table out and fold it down, that was pretty much it, but I just think they could do a better job with the instructions. Thoughts? You can tell me that I’m being nit-picky about this and/or that I probably just got really bored on my train ride and decided to blog about it. Either way, share your thoughts and comments below.

Check out more posts in the Everyday Usability series.

Did You Wikipedia It?

Wikipedia, the people’s encyclopedia.


New ADA Interior Signage Rules

You may or may not be aware that on March 15, 2012, new requirements for interior signs took effect under ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).

Under these new rules, guidelines are outlined for typography, signage location, visual characters and even signage glare.

Although these guidelines are intended to assist the visually impaired, these requirements really assist all of us (universal design – i.e. curb cuts on sidewalk makes things easier for people with wheelchairs, strollers, shopping carts, etc.).  By setting a standard, the ADA is ensuring consistency and continuity, making our wayfinding experience easier.  Thank you ADA.