Many of the interfaces I use in daily life now feature soft buttons – the kind that’s unlabeled but adjacent to a display screen. At some point, a label pops up next to the button: ‘OK’, or ‘Cancel,’ or whatever. Cashpoints (uh… ATMs, for those who don’t read English) do this, for example. My car has something similar but rather more complex, in the manner of aircraft navigation screens only, sadly, not offering anything by way of navigational data. But anyway, you’ll have seen the sort of button I mean.
This morning, I made my first so-called ‘chip&pin’ purchase; the ‘new’ bank card with the chip that’s been present for years (and that stores data I’m not allowed access to, nor indeed will my bank tell me what kind of data anyway) is jammed into a slot above a little keypad, into which you enter your pin number. A screen next to the keypad offers instructions, and beside it are a row of dinky little buttons that get neatly labeled ‘Enter’ and ‘Cancel’ when appropriate.
Only, they don’t work. No, one is supposed to press not the button next to the text ‘Enter’, but the large green ‘Enter’ key. The little button doesn’t do anything. Arrrghh! Haven’t these people read Donald Norman?