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What kind of brake?

Seattle is known for its ferries. Maybe a hundred cars can fit in the bowels of those huge boats. The trip time is measured in tens of minutes, perhaps even hours, so you may want to leave your car and enjoy some great views from the deck or have a beer and a sandwich at the cafe. The only thing the ferry people ask is that you set your parking brake – obviously, they really don’t want to handle a runaway car. And they even came up with a sign to help the damned foreigners to understand what’s wanted from them:

Do I have to sit in the car all the time?

Do I have to sit in the car all the time?

Problem is, it looks like the sign depicts the wrong kind of brake. Certainly you don’t expect me to sit all the way pressing the brake with my foot? 😉

Now, I do realize that some (American) cars do have the foot-operated parking brake, but I believe most cars have a lever between the front seats for that. So if you want to convey a message to people who don’t drive older American cars, you probably should use an image more understandable to them.

UI consistency fail.

Have you heard about Hulu? It is a great service for watching movies and TV shows online for free (with a few ads though). The video player they use, however, has a rather nasty UI fail.

The player’s interface has two modes: when you don’t touch it, it displays a very thin progress indicator at the bottom:

Note where the current point is.

Note where the current point is.

And when you mouse over the player, it displays the extended UI:

The current point jumped to the left!

The current point jumped to the left!

Unfortunately, the progress indicator in the extended and in the default UI modes have different scale, so if you try to jump to a time point using the default UI but let your mouse loose just a little bit to trigger the extended UI, you end up jumping to a very different time point than you intended to.

Very annoying!

Interface design fail: flashy, but useless

This is a control panel for the portable AC unit I got this summer. Note the colored bars on both sides of the fan: I guess originally they were meant to indicate the fan speed, green for slow, yellow for medium, red for fast. But alas, somewhere in the design chain somebody has decided that it would be a shame for the user not to see the colorful red and yellow bars if the fan speed is set to slow, so instead the bars just cycle through all colors, no matter what the fan speed is. There’s no way to gauge the fan speed: the only thing that changes is how fast the little indicator fan rotates, but it is way harder to read than the colored bars could be!

Or perhaps there is a “brand name” AC that uses this same indicator panel, with proper use of the color bars, and I got a semi-legal knock-off, the makers of which are too much into flashy things.