Design Bites: Time Sink

Confronted with this faucet, how do you turn it on?

If you said, "push the handle," you'd be right ... according to me. But, as you can see here, your hands would remain dry.

I was moments away from calling the front desk of the hotel where I was staying when I tried the shower, which worked fine. After another 3 minutes at the sink, I finally figured out how to turn on the faucet.

But I never got used to it, and incorrectly pushed and pulled the handle several times more during my stay.

Adjusting the flow and temperature was a whole other voyage into three-dimensional space ...

Design Bites: Where Can We Talk?

To speak correctly into the microphone below, where do you aim your voice?

Many of our guests clearly believe the answer is "toward it." Which, unfortunately, is only partially true.

You must speak into the blue foam at a point indicated by the small arrow taped on the metal cylinder. Here, it's below the "Y" in WNYC. This a) you must be told and b) is easy to forget in the stress of being on the air. (The manufacturer's logo is another landmark, but it is blocked by the mount.)

Speak toward any other point around the cylinder and you'll sound hollow and distant.

This week, in our main studio, we switched to microphones such as the one in the photograph below, which have a different sweet spot.

Suddenly, our guests stay "on mic" during entire interviews!

The shape tells them how to use it. No signs required.

Design Bites: Buttons Behaving Badly

Rented a Honda CR-V yesterday, and when I went to the left side of the steering wheel to adjust the mirror I was startled by:

The dreaded "VSA OFF" button!

Which does what, exactly?* Must be important, since it's the largest button on the dashboard.

And while we're at it, does the icon in the circular switch say "mirror" to you? How about when you're doing 60?

* Turns out it shuts down the Vehicle Stability Assist system. Sounds like something you don't wanna press by accident.