Pop ups are bad enough anyway…

….but this one beggars belief! It’s on top of my web-mail inbox (BT Yahoo for anyone wondering!) and didn’t seem to allow me to close it down, my only option was to close the browser window. I guess this is one film they really really want you to see.

Screenshot of an advert pop up

Screenshot of a pop-up advert overlaying my web-mail inbox (apologies for the redactions!)


Lift accessibility

I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to the accessibility of web sites and don’t really get too tired explaining to people why a PDF of a scanned-in document is a no-no. I always assumed that the accessibility of web-sites was still in its relative infancy compared to other industry’s.

Take lifts (elevators!) for example, according to wikipedia:

The first reference to an elevator is in the works of the Roman architect Vitruvius, who reported that Archimedes built his first elevator, probably in 236 B.C.

Yes, you read that right, the lift was invented in 236 B.C.

Obviously lift technology has moved on somewhat and advances and additions have been made over the years since 236BC. Once such advancement is the addition of the audible announcement of the direction of travel, door status and floor position. The reason for this is for visually impaired lift users, who cannot see the electronic display indicating where and in which direction the lift is traveling.

In our building we’ve recently had some of our lifts replaced, it is these new lifts that I have noticed a change in the order of the announcements. They start by announcing the direction of travel and floor number before the lift doors have opened. The only people who can hear these announcements are the people already in the lift, surely they’re much more useful to the people who may be getting on the lift.

I’m probably being a bit picky but I would have thought lifts would come with a standard configuration which had been tested.

Have we learnt nothing in over 2000 years of lift design?

When a buttons is not a button!

I was recently working on a minor flash teaser trailer for some e-learning.

While playing with the flash I didn’t have sound on my machine so assumed the buttons at the bottom of the trailer were sound controls. As it wasn’t clear what they were for, I asked the supplier what they did and advised that a label along the lines of ‘sound controls:’ would be required.

I received the immortal reply:

‘Not all the buttons are functional, some are purely graphical’

It beggars belief – this trailer was actually provided by a design agency!

My bed…

I’ve just discovered this site: User centered, which “studies the design of every day things”, and it got me thinking:

Is it possible for a bed to suffer from poor usability? I ask, because I think mine does. Not in the truest sense, in that it is perfectly comfortable and I don’t particularly suffer from poor sleep, however, I do seem to be stubbing my toe on its out-turned legs with worryingly regularity.  My wife said that if I was a monkey I would have learnt by now! Maybe its just my big feet.

Photo to follow.