Half asleep, with my mind numbed and elsewhere by a monotonous commute, I find myself looking like a complete numpty as I hammer the closed button to open the train door. With 20-30 people waiting to get off behind me, someone reaches over my shoulder and presses the open button. There was a collective sigh from the other passengers that confirmed my status as the first moron of the day: maybe even an early contender for plonker de jour.
There was little recovery from this embarrassment BUT like any good HCI and interaction designer I have tried to find a way of blaming the design rather than me, the user. How could you improve such a simple system? Surely there’s no way you can get out of being such an idiot here?
Well, I think I have an answer: why the hell have two buttons on a train door in the first place? Surely just one button would do, and it would do better: push to open when it is shut, and push to shut when it is open. If you can think of a good reason to have two buttons please tell me because I can’t think of one.
Whilst you ponder that also ponder my new design for a light switch (picture below). The left switch turns on the light, and the right switch turns off the light. Neat eh?