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Thread: Really trivial stuff that bugs you

  1. #14371
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    Whoever thought it was a good idea that an automatic gearbox (PRND) has the reverse towards the front of the car, and drive (forwards) towards the back of the car? That is like HMI 101 stuff. And on top of that, why are cars being sold with "PRND" print in non-english countries, especially those where the word for "drive" starts with an R?!

    And before you ask: no, I did not just crash through my garage wall. I'm just annoyed that such horrible HMI is still being mass produced.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  2. #14372
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    Whoever thought it was a good idea that an automatic gearbox (PRND) has the reverse towards the front of the car, and drive (forwards) towards the back of the car? That is like HMI 101 stuff. And on top of that, why are cars being sold with "PRND" print in non-english countries, especially those where the word for "drive" starts with an R?!

    And before you ask: no, I did not just crash through my garage wall. I'm just annoyed that such horrible HMI is still being mass produced.
    Well to make a horse go forwards you kick its behind but to stop it you pull on its nose! And who made light switches go up for on when down for on is obviously natural ? And driving on the right? Whose idea was that? And those switches! O for off when it obviously means On, 1 is a barrier. And those pedals, the same push to go and to stop! It’ amazing we don’ t get crashes.
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    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
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  3. #14373
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    I can't recall the comedian's name, but he told the story of a Good Ol' Boy driving an automatic for the first time. He wasn't sure what PRNDL meant.

    The car was Parked and in P, so that made sense. He started the car and put it in N for Nothin' and it did nothin'. He wanted to Leap out of there so he tried L and the car leaped out! He was doin' 60 and the car was runnin' kinda hard so he put it in D for Drag and it drug out, got up to 80 real quick. But then another car got on his tail and seemed to want to Race. So ...
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  4. #14374
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    "PRND" print in non-english countries, especially those where the word for "drive" starts with an R?
    The most important thing for an English speaker to know in a Spanish-speaking country is that, on the water taps, “C” means “hot” . . .
    So . . . does this look as bad as it looks?

  5. #14375
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    Really trivial stuff that bugs you

    Back in the old days, shifters were on the column and the indicator was below the speedometer. I don’t know why the order PRNDL was chosen (probably to make the mechanical design simpler), but there was no front/back issue.

    When shifters moved to the console, the order was retained, probably for human engineering purposes (keep it similar to what people are used to).

    Similar idea with numbers on touch-tone phones. Make it as much like the thing people are used to as possible.
    I may have many faults, but being wrong ain't one of them. - Jimmy Hoffa

  6. #14376
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Well to make a horse go forwards you kick its behind but to stop it you pull on its nose! And who made light switches go up for on when down for on is obviously natural ? And driving on the right? Whose idea was that? And those switches! O for off when it obviously means On, 1 is a barrier. And those pedals, the same push to go and to stop! It’ amazing we don’ t get crashes.
    From an HMI point of view, those examples are not on the same level as "put forward to go back, put backwards to go forward". A similar example would be if a blinker stalk would work opposite from the steering wheel rotation instead of the way they luckily are made.

    I've done some research and originally the PRND order was for mechanical reasons in the gearbox linkage (mainly protecting from engaging while still moving forward). Then it became a US DOT standard, and what can you expect from an enitity using Imperial units! [insert ginormous rant here]

    Anyway, if you want more fun in this category: try learning foot steer on a caterpillar vehicle and then control the foot steer of a boat or airplane (or the other way around). "Why did you aim for that tree?" HMI people, it's important!!

    And now of course we're stuck in this situation because you can't change an interface that people are used to etc etc. Sigh. Well, I'll continue pressing start to stop.
    Last edited by Nicolas; 2021-Apr-07 at 01:39 PM.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  7. #14377
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    Quote Originally Posted by 21st Century Schizoid Man View Post
    The most important thing for an English speaker to know in a Spanish-speaking country is that, on the water taps, “C” means “hot” . . .
    Same in French. Although we once stayed in an old hotel on the Riviera in which I ran the "C" tap for several minutes, waiting for the water to warm up, before I noticed that the other tap was labelled "H", not "F". The hotel had English taps, dating from the days when parts of the Riviera turned into a sort of British colony in the summer months.

    Grant Hutchison

  8. #14378
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    From an HMI point of view, those examples are not on the same level as "put forward to go back, put backwards to go forward". A similar example would be if a blinker stalk would work opposite from the steering wheel rotation instead of the way they luckily are made.
    The test-pilot George J. Marrett records in his memoirs that the swing-wing control for the F111 Aardvark went forward to swing the wings back, and back to swing them forward. He recalls pilots sticking notes to the lever, reading "Forward-Back; Back-Forward".
    When challenged by the test pilots, the designers said that they had understood the forward position to mean "Go faster" and back to mean "Go slower".

    Grant Hutchison

  9. #14379
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    Quote Originally Posted by 21st Century Schizoid Man View Post
    The most important thing for an English speaker to know in a Spanish-speaking country is that, on the water taps, “C” means “hot” . . .
    I've read at least one children's mystery with that as the clue.
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  10. #14380
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    Similar idea with numbers on touch-tone phones. Make it as much like the thing people are used to as possible.
    Yet here we are:
    -laptop numpad: 1 on bottom left
    -smartphone: 1 on top right

    Even more fun when doing internet banking with a laptop and the cardreader/code thingy: laptop has 1 on bottom left and cardreader has 1 on the top right. You have to type codes into both of them alternating. Fun!
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  11. #14381
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    The test-pilot George J. Marrett records in his memoirs that the swing-wing control for the F111 Aardvark went forward to swing the wings back, and back to swing them forward. He recalls pilots sticking notes to the lever, reading "Forward-Back; Back-Forward".
    When challenged by the test pilots, the designers said that they had understood the forward position to mean "Go faster" and back to mean "Go slower".

    Grant Hutchison
    If that control lever would have been located right next to the throttle lever, that design choice might not even have been a poor one.

    Edit: and guess what: it was.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liJdhxHOZRY

    Apparently the pilots still found it illogical though.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  12. #14382
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    If that control lever would have been located right next to the throttle lever, that design choice might not even have been a poor one.

    Edit: and guess what: it was.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liJdhxHOZRY

    Apparently the pilots still found it illogical though.
    I think the bottom line is that, even if you can defend a design choice as logical, if the users find it counterintuitive, then it's a poor choice.

    Grant Hutchison

  13. #14383
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    That is like HMI 101 stuff.
    What is HMI?
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  14. #14384
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    What is HMI?
    Human-Machine Interface.

    Grant Hutchison

  15. #14385
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    Whoever thought it was a good idea that an automatic gearbox (PRND) has the reverse towards the front of the car, and drive (forwards) towards the back of the car? That is like HMI 101 stuff. And on top of that, why are cars being sold with "PRND" print in non-english countries, especially those where the word for "drive" starts with an R?!

    And before you ask: no, I did not just crash through my garage wall. I'm just annoyed that such horrible HMI is still being mass produced.
    Many years ago, I, a Corvair driver, began reading "Unsafe at Any Speed", by Ralph Nader. (Never finished it.) Anyhow he had a whole chapter about some cars having PRNDL and others PNDLR. Which, being Nader, he viewed as some sort of conspiracy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    Yet here we are:
    -laptop numpad: 1 on bottom left
    -smartphone: 1 on top right

    Even more fun when doing internet banking with a laptop and the cardreader/code thingy: laptop has 1 on bottom left and cardreader has 1 on the top right. You have to type codes into both of them alternating. Fun!
    The numeric keypad layout is, of course based on that of adding machines, which go back many decades. When AT&T introduced the pushbutton phone in the 1960's I recall reading an article in which one of their engineers was asked about the difference. His reply was basically "yeah, we screwed that up."
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  16. #14386
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    I think the bottom line is that, even if you can defend a design choice as logical, if the users find it counterintuitive, then it's a poor choice.

    Grant Hutchison
    I recall working on early self service petrol pumps. We had a video of a trial installation to check the HMI and signage. It accepted cash at that time using a slot type banknote acceptor. It said something like “put the banknote in the slot” and we watched while a driver carefully rolled a fiver and pushed it into the petrol nozzle he had removed from its holster. HMI can be tricky.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  17. #14387
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Many years ago, I, a Corvair driver, began reading "Unsafe at Any Speed", by Ralph Nader. (Never finished it.) Anyhow he had a whole chapter about some cars having PRNDL and others PNDLR. Which, being Nader, he viewed as some sort of conspiracy.
    Sounds like a lack of a conspiracy. Standardisation tends to occur when all the parties get together and agree on what to do. That is, when they conspire.
    So . . . does this look as bad as it looks?

  18. #14388
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    HMI can be tricky.
    And your example aptly demonstrates that it's often not the "M" that's the problem.

    Here's a story of more recent vintage: Elderly woman gets very confused by 'touchscreen' sign (14sec, DailyMail.com)
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  19. #14389
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    M
    ...



    The numeric keypad layout is, of course based on that of adding machines, which go back many decades. When AT&T introduced the pushbutton phone in the 1960's I recall reading an article in which one of their engineers was asked about the difference. His reply was basically "yeah, we screwed that up."
    I was told that the designer reversed the layout of the telephone entry keypad from that of the data entry standard numeric keypad, because if they hadn't, skilled data-entry folk would type in numbers too fast for the earlier telephone circuitry to keep up.

  20. #14390
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    I think the bottom line is that, even if you can defend a design choice as logical, if the users find it counterintuitive, then it's a poor choice.

    Grant Hutchison
    That is true if it is the case for a sufficiently large percentage of the user base. No matter how nice your theory as a designer, the user is called the user for a reason so his judgement is king. Unless there would be a very good technical (mechanical or safety) reason not to do as the user wishes, the user's logic goes above any HMI theory. So if they want the wing lever to represent the wing position rather than following the throttle logic, that's how it should be made. If however the user base is divided over this, they'd have to redesign it. Maybe place a lever transversal instead of lengthwise and put icons on either end. Or make it a rotary knob. Normally I'm a big fan of a logic between the movement of the control and the movement of what it's controlling, but if there is confusion over that the solution can be to design any logical link between the two out of it so users don't assume.

    That being said, I'll be long dead before I agree on the direction of an aircraft's foot steer.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  21. #14391
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    I hadn't heard that, but it kinda makes sense. Then again, it might be an urban legend along the lines of the QWERTY keyboard being designed to keep people from typing too fast and jamming the keys.
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  22. #14392
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    The modern king of bad HMI is touchscreen controls in cars. I can find pretty much any knob, lever, switch, or button without looking, or with only the briefest of glances. Touchscreens require taking your eyes completely off the road.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  23. #14393
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    The absolute worst user interface error I've ever encountered was an old Samsung phone. Luckily they learned from their mistakes since.

    RRRRRING! Phone rings. But the phone's locked. Modern phones allow you to pick up the phone even though it's locked. Not this one. You absentmindedly push the "pick up phone" button, only to see the screen go "phone locked. Press # + * to unlock". And to make sure you've read it, it shows this for three seconds straight, no escape. When the screen finally disappears, you can unlock the phone. If you succeed, the phone will tell you "phone unlocked". For three seconds straight, no escape. After that, you can pick up the phone. Only you can't, because any caller has long since given up or is redirected to voicemail.

    This makes you wonder, when they built the first prototype of this phone, did they test it to such extremes as making a call with it?
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  24. #14394
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonM435 View Post
    I was told that the designer reversed the layout of the telephone entry keypad from that of the data entry standard numeric keypad, because if they hadn't, skilled data-entry folk would type in numbers too fast for the earlier telephone circuitry to keep up.
    The story I heard is that the design was intended to place the number one near the upper left and the 9 & 0 near the bottom to (sort of) maintain the look of a rotary dial.
    If so, it didn’t work.
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  25. #14395
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    Let's all be glad they didn't put the numbers in alphabetical order.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  26. #14396
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    I hadn't heard that, but it kinda makes sense. Then again, it might be an urban legend along the lines of the QWERTY keyboard being designed to keep people from typing too fast and jamming the keys.
    I've heard that story for years and having typed on manual typewriters I can completely believe it (I've jammed keys even with QWERTY).
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  27. #14397
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    Back in the 1980s, the DEC (e.g., VAX) computers had a standardized keypad for numbers and functions on all their hardware. There was a special "GOLD" key that activated functions in the other keys.

    I never bothered to learn it (being both lazy and stubborn), was in fact reluctant to use it: too much chance that I'd type a "42" in Gold Mode and wipe out (or encrypt) my manuscript or program or something else awful. I went on using the shifted top-row keys for numbers, even when programming.

    Even with a reliable modern PC keyboard, I still use the keypad as little as possible, carrying over my old habit.

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    There must be a very impressive Latin name for the fear of keypads.

    I personally love them, but fewer and fewer laptops have them, especially the smaller models obviously.
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  29. #14399
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    There must be a very impressive Latin name for the fear of keypads.
    While there is a term for the fear of keyboards (Ordclaviphobia) I couldn't find anything specific to keypads.
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  30. #14400
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    Let's make it ordonumerorumclaviphobia.
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