Posts tagged “information design”

Street sign information hierarchy


In San Francisco’s Presidio, all the streets are named after historic military figures. Note how the sign designers added a biography line to provide additional context. The sign serves the traditional navigational purposes but also provides an educational service. The limited readability of the bio line means that it won’t interfere in navigational tasks but pedestrians (or slow moving drivers) can consume the additional information at will. It’s interesting to see how an ordinary object can be redesigned to include a layer of meta-information that doesn’t detract from its familiar, primary purpose.

Now, where did I park again?

For long-term parking, SFO recently switched from a big lot to a 7-story parking structure. At one end of each floor is a bank of elevators and on the ground floor is the bus stop to get to the terminals.

Each floor is (somewhat subtly) color-coded and right next to the button for the elevator is this little widget: a card with the floor printed on it, and a space for each of the sections that can be marked or torn to indicate where you left your car. Simple, elegant.

Check out checking out


I was thinking about how to describe this mess of a Safeway receipt when I read a post on Niblettes that mentioned “brand diarrhea.”

[as I’ve said, I won’t call the person Niblettes, I’ll call him John, but I will call the blog Niblettes. This is my brand aphasia. Or silliness threshold]

They’ve jammed every form of bonus/status/ad/info at the end. For this purchase, the checkout dude even stopped afterwards and recited a lengthy speech referring me to the information located on the bottom of the receipt that I should check out if I had time. His tone suggested there was maybe something special there that I hadn’t noticed, something specific they would want me to find. But what?

He then called me Mr. Portugal and also gave me $100 cash-back, even though I had only paid for $80. I returned the other $20.

I was pretty intrigued by the discounted gas purchase available. But there’s no info on where to get that! Or any info about how to find out where to get that! Nothing on the back, either. Which makes it basically a useless offer if we can’t redeem it!

I await that heavenly day when I earn my free deli sandwich!

Can I just call you “buddy”?

The New Yorker takes a wry look at the cultural perspectives embedded in information design

When you sign up online for Skywards, which is the frequent-flier program of Emirates, the international airline of the United Arab Emirates, you enter your name, address, passport number, and other information, and you select an honorific for yourself from a drop-down list. A few of the choices, in addition to the standard Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss, and Dr, are: Admiral, Air Comm, Air Marshal, Al-Haj (denoting a Muslim who has made a pilgrimage to Mecca), Archbishop, Archdeacon, Baron, Baroness, Colonel, Commander, Corporal, Count, Countess, Dame, Deacon, Deaconess, Deshamanya (a title conferred on eminent Sri Lankans), Dowager (for a British widow whose social status derives from that of her late husband, properly used in combination with a second honorific, such as Duchess), Duchess, Duke, Earl, Father, Frau, General, Governor, HRH, Hon, Hon Lady, Hon Professor, JP (justice of the peace?), Judge, Khun (the Thai all-purpose honorific, used for both men and women), L Cpl, Lt, Lt Cmdr, Lt Col, Lt Gen, Midshipman, Mlle, Monsieur, Monsignor, Mother, Pastor, Petty Officer, Professor, Senor, Senora, Senorita, Sgt, Sgt Mjr, Shaikha (for a female shaikh, or sheikh), Sheikh, Shriman (an Indian honorific, for one blessed by Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, wisdom, luck, and other.


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