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Stupid Usability #97

Parking Ramp Button not clearly Marked

Written By: High Monkey
Posted: 4/20/2015

From the mind of Joe Cronin, Project Manager at High Monkey:

For this week’s Stupid Usability, I have an example that not only shows poor usability but also the lengths that a company must take in order to correct that poor usability.

I was going into a parking ramp the other day and when I arrived at the machine at the front, I was presented with the following view. Let’s take a look at the Stupid Usability issues this machine has and what was done to try to correct it.

The initial design of this interface is that the blue button is the button that the user should push in order to get their ticket. The instructions for which button to press are located in a black rectangle below the blue button. Within the same black rectangle, there is another button which is to be pressed if the user needs assistance. When the user reads the instruction “Press Button for Ticket”, they look to the first button they see, the “press for assistance” button that is located just down and to the right of the instructions and within the same black rectangle that seems to group the instructions together with the button.

In addition to the Stupid Usability issue of the grouping of instructions with the assistance button, the “press for assistance” button is in small text to the right of the button. When I was sitting in my car, I could barely see this instruction. If the modifications to the machine (which we will cover shortly) were not there and I was in a rush, I could easily see how I would press the wrong button because it was not clearly marked.

It is very clear to see that the issue of users pressing the wrong button has happened enough that the parking ramp company has had to take their own measures in order to fix the issues. First, they had to screw on a clunky plastic cap that physically blocks people from pressing the assistance button unless they have an actual need to press it. They also placed a second label right underneath the blue Ticket button with instructions to press that button for the ticket. These modifications correct the Stupid Usability issues, but they are clunky and not elegant looking. This is not a big deal for a parking ramp ticket machine, a tool meant for a simple utilitarian purpose, but it underscores the importance of user experience testing for all products (websites, phone applications, etc.). If the initial design has Stupid Usability problems, the fixes you will need to put in place will often be clumsy and awkward.


Chad's Bio Coming Soon!

More About Virgil

Virgil Carroll is the owner and president of High Monkey – based in Minneapolis Minnesota. Virgil also wears the multiple ‘hats’ of Principle Human Solutions Architect and SharePoint Architect.

Virgil is one of those rare individuals who can dive deep into technical topics while speaking clearly to the business owners of a project and never forgetting that the end user experience has the highest priority. He calls it using both sides of his brain. Virgil is passionate about leveraging technologies ‘out of the box’ as much as possible with a focus on the strategic use of content to create websites that deliver the right content to the right audience on the right device at the right time. Virgil brings high energy, an ironic wit, and a sense of grounded perspective whenever he speaks to an audience. Virgil regularly speaks at conferences and user groups throughout the United States and occasionally in Europe.

Posted: 4/20/2015 12:00:00 AM by Brian Haukos | with 0 comments