Everyday Usability

Monday, May 22, 2006

Can it be THAT difficult?

During lunch time we go to the so-called FoodCourt. It is the main cafeteria on the campus where on entrance, you get yourself a tray, maybe a plate if you need one, some cutlery and perhaps a bowl to put soup in. During lunch, all of this gets dirty, but the very bright people of the cafeteria have thought of this: They bought themselves a dishwasher! So when lunch time is over, everybody has to put their tray with dirty stuff on a moving belt so it will get transported to the dishwasher which is of course situated 'behind the screens'. So far so good....

So, imagine lunch is over and everybody goes with the flow of moving people with trays towards the exit of the cafeteria (luckily they did put the moving belt near the exit). You run into the signs displayed in the picture on the left. Because of my crappy telephone picture, I will summarize here what these signs say (note the capitals...):
  • PLEASE REMOVE your WASTE from your tray. This may cause problems in the machine
Okey, that one's logical. The dustbins are quite near, so easy to find. Too bad that they are most of the time full when lunchtime is coming to an end, so I would say that it would be much proper to leave everything on the dirty tray, so dishes AND waste will get transported out of sight of customers. Not leaving such a mess around the full dustbins.
  • Please put ONLY WHITE TRAYS in the machine
Hmm.. weird, there ARE only white trays in the whole cafeteria. And does this mean that I should put my tray into the actual dishwasher or is it good enough to put it on the moving belt?

  • Please put ONLY SINGLE TRAYS on the band
What band? And what music do they play? And what happens if I do stack multiple trays on the belt? Will the system crash? Will I get an undo button? No feedforward whatsoever...

Then we see two (identical!) signs with clear and detailed instructions on how you should arrange your cutlery around your plate on the tray, because a large red cross indicates that cutlery on a plate or in a bowl is just true horror! So knife on the right, fork on the left, spoon above your plate! BEWARE!!!!
At the far left end of the sign parade there is another sign which I cannot read anymore from the photo, but frankly, I doubt if anyone reads the signs at all. Come on, dish washing surely can't be THAT difficult can it????


  • wow, you really studied the signs carefully. You've pointed out some mistakes that I haden't noticed before. Yippee, more to nag about ; )

    By Blogger Nimftoos, at 1:41 PM  

  • oops, don't bother to point out the mistake in my last posting, I saw it ; )

    By Blogger Nimftoos, at 1:43 PM  

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