Category Archives: Physical Interfaces

Design and usability of physical interfaces (i.e. things you can touch)

Leading the Eyes

Every good magician knows how to lead an audience’s eyes with their gestures. This allows them to make the audience look in one direction, and whilst their gaze is averted, the magician is free to perform a sleight of hand or develop his illusion.
This same effect can be used in design. Here in the UK, [...]

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Verbose seat reserved LED signs on Virgin Trains

I travelled to Leeds to visit a client on a Virgin Cross Country train last week. Above each pair of seats on the train is a small LED sign that says if the seat is reserved or not (see the picture – sorry about the quality it was taken on my phone in less than [...]

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iPlayer on Virgin Media Cable

Usability Friction reader Nick Wright emailed this week to tell me about the frustrating design of the BBC iPlayer on his Virgin Media Cable TV set top box.
The Virgin set top box has a common look and feel throughout the user interface which makes the system feel nice and unified. However, the BBC decided that [...]

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How am I supposed to know I can tilt the iPhone?!

A good friend of mine told me that he was showing off his new iPhone to his dad over the weekend. Obviously, his dad loved it; but when he showed him how you can tilt the phone over and get the cover art for albums his dad said:
“How do I know to do that?”
It’s a [...]

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iPod headphone disconnect automatic pause

Edit:Many people seem to be ending up on this page when searching for a solution to their iPod pausing randomly. I’ve put some of the common solutions to this problem in the comments below. Hope this helps!
I love my iPod. I’ve owned 3 different ones (5 if you count my 1st and 2nd generation iPhones!). [...]

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Cash Machine/ATM Staring Contest

Cash Machines (or ATMs if you prefer) are a big part of daily life. They have pretty much replaced going into banks for drawing out cash. Many of them are located in high traffic areas such as shopping malls, train stations and airports. The busiest always have a queue of people waiting at them. So, [...]

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