Archive for November, 2006

Two ways to invent a dog toilet

Saturday, November 18th, 2006

Whatever to do about the dog shit that litters city streets and greens? Design competitions, fines, specially designed scoops and bags, and any number of other solutions haven’t had much effect. Couldn’t help but notice two solutions which neatly embody ‘opposite’ approaches to technology. (more…)

Observations in the train: WC signage

Monday, November 13th, 2006

The train I take from Amsterdam to Rotterdam is a rolling lab for observing how people use technology.
Today, I watched passengers struggling to find a WC. Nothing is easier to find in the train than the WC, because as on trains anywhere (except certain sinister Soviet types which hopefully have gone out of use), it’s at the end of the car. If the location isn’t enough of a clue, you can’t miss the familiar British ‘WC’ in prominent letters on the door. (more…)

Usability Crime: Marnixbad Swimming Pool

Saturday, November 4th, 2006

Remember the old days at the pool? Standing in a puddle with an armful of winter clothes and shoes, discovering that the locker only can be used by inserting a 10-cent piece that went out of circulation 40 years ago?

Marnix Bad BraceletTo avoid these kind of annoyances, the recently completed Marnixbad swimming pool provides visitors with a digital bracelet. When you wear the bracelet, doors see you coming and swing open, lockers offer space, and the cash register in the corner quietly notes your payment. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work… Here’s the bracelet at right. Now follow me while I try to go for a swim in this environment filled with embedded intelligence. And discover a Great Usability Crime…