Everyday things

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?

1 thought on “Everyday things”

  1. You want to use a bit of software I do where the Ok and associated radio buttons can be selected just by clicking in the general vicinity of them – well, I say general, it’s really just about anywhere on the right or left hand side of the screen!!!!
    The great part is that when you accidently click the Ok you’ve no idea what radio buttons have clicked as well. Fantastic!
    Oh, and on the point of ATM’s our local one’s been showing “One or more of the following applications has ….”, the usual Windows error, for over 4 weeks now. I wonder if it’s actually been taking any money out of my account?

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