Posts tagged “indicator”

Put the muffin down

Interesting ritual-gizmo from Fresh Choice (an all-you-can-eat chain). At a buffet, how do you stop the staff from clearing your plates when you stand up to get more (or visit the restroom), especially if you dine alone? Here’s their solution, a two-sided laminated muffin card that you keep next to your plate.

I believe these are available as you arrive (at Fresh Choice, upon arrival you go through a cash line to pay and get your plate) although I didn’t see them. I saw the muffin cards around the restaurant as I walked back and forth to get more food.

While it does seem like a workable solution, it seems like a half-measure, shifting the service responsibility onto the customer. At a “nice” restaurant, the staff are attentive, but here you are doing self-service what with retrieving your own food, so maybe they figure why not give the diner another task to manage.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] Drilling Down – Why Elite Shoppers Eschew Logos [] – Rather than rely on obvious logos, expensive products use more discreet markers, such as distinctive design or detailing. High-end consumers prefer markers of status that are not decipherable by the mainstream. These signal group identity only to others with the connoisseurship to recognize their insider standing. In one study, fashion students were more likely than regular students to favor subtle signals for products visible to others, like handbags. But for private products less relevant to identity, like underwear and socks, there was no difference between the groups. Jonah Berger, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania and one of the paper’s authors, said it was not that insiders simply had a dislike for logos. Instead, he said, they avoid them “in identity-relevant domains to distinguish themselves from mainstream consumers who buy such products to show they’ve made it.”
  • [from steve_portigal] | News and Reviews of Products with Elder Friendly Features – Those of us with aging parents share many things, chief among them the desire that our elderly loved ones have the opportunity for the same quality of life that we enjoy. For some this means remaining independent, for others it might mean a need to make caregiving simpler to meet the needs of people we love. The elderly prefer simple uncomplicated gadgets and products which are lighter and specially designed with higher contrast, pre-programmed features. Products of use might include talking Pill boxes, medi-alerts, and a myriad of gadgets with simple “how to use” instructions. That’s the focus with Eldergadget, a comprehensive blog where a person with an aging loved one can go to find the latest gadgets that meet a seniors needs and maybe some products you have never dreamed possible. We also bring you the latest up to date news, videos and developments in technology for seniors. We also include lighthearted fare such as humor and retro gadgets in order to brighten a person’s day.

Mixed Signals

From a recent rental, here’s a dashboard indicator I’d never seen before. As far as I could figure out, while the car is warming up, the engine temperature light shows a green “cool” indicator. At least, it disappeared after a few minutes, so I concluded that was associated with the car warming up. We don’t want the engine to be too cold, and any indicator at all is perhaps a bad (or less good) thing, so it seemed to be a warning. But green is good, so is it good that it’s lit up? Is it good that the engine is cool? Is it bad when it goes out?

See more of my Vancouver pictures here.

Why is this digital?


This restroom-last-cleaned-at status box is a digital device that replaces a familiar paper version. I’m not totally clear what the function of this has been: enforce compliance by employees who are responsible for doing the cleaning, remind the public that (appearance notwithstanding) the institution does indeed care about restroom cleanliness?

How does making it digital improve the performance? Is it the meaning of digital (to the public, or the monitored staff?) or the usability of the technology (one button press replaces writing by hand?) or the affordances of the technology (networked data tracking to look for patterns over time/location?)…

Snowy indicators

Hydrants, Holland, MI

In communities where they get deep snow, fire hydrants are tagged with these red alerting devices so that snowplows don’t hit ’em and fire trucks can find ’em.

Snowstick, Holland, MI

These sticks are used to delineate paved areas (plowable) from non-paved (non-plowable).

Interesting examples of follow-on design, where there’s a deficiency in the original design, or at least a failure to accomodate local conditions.


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