Sunday, June 18, 2006

Do your graphics say the wrong thing?

Making graphics more usable ...

"If a picture really is worth a thousand words, which words? Graphics are usually the best tool we've got for sending a message--instructions, sign, marketing, entertainment, interface, etc.-- but what are we doing to make sure the person viewing the image sees the message we intended?

Original Sign - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

Original Sign

The picture above is a sign posted at a local trailhead. What does it mean? (Getting it wrong, by the way, means a $50 fine.) It's supposed to mean, "Each human can have no more than two dogs under their control." (this is a leash-optional trail) And while most people could--after cocking their head to the side--figure it out, I have to laugh about what else this sign says like:

"You can have a German Shepard, and an Old English Sheepdog, but SPRINGER SPANIELS ARE STRICTLY PROHIBITED!"

On a trail it's no big deal if you get it wrong or need to take a few extra moments to study it (or read the accompanying text, if there is some). But... imagine situations where it's a lot more important--where the consequences of misinterpretation are serious, and/or time-to-getting-it is scarce. Or imagine a situation where the person viewing the graphic is simultaneously bombarded with so much info that even the smallest bit of cognitive overhead means trouble...

So, what went wrong? How can we make it better? Here's one idea I had for an improved version (or at least a little more clear) and a few simple suggestions. I'm hoping the information and/or graphic designers will jump in to improve on or extend what I've done..."   continued ...   (Via Creating Passionate Users)

Better Representation - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

Better Representation


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