Posts tagged “warning”

Cupcake EULA

Warning Sign, Haute Pink Cakes, San Diego, CA, July 2010

The text of the sign:

*If cupcakes are dropped by customers it is our policy to refrost them, and place them in a new box for $1/box. That’s the cost of the box – this could take probably 15 minutes depending on how busy we are)
We do not offer new cupcakes. If you wish to purchase new cupcakes you may receive 10% off the total, but only for that visit, same order.
*Offers cannot be combined. One coupon or offer per customer per day. Military discount not to be combined with Buy One-Get One Free coupons. Coupons will not be taken for day olds.
*We do not take American Express. Also, no credit cards will be accepted for amounts under $7.00.

One has to wonder about the frequency and severity of the exceptions that led this small bakery to break from their pink/fluffy/hip/indulgent vibe with this pre-emptively admonishing lists of warnings and do-nots. The owners have failed to internalize the brand experience they are trying to create with their flagship product.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] Do You Know What This Symbol Means? [Yahoo! Autos] – [If people can't figure out what a warning symbol is warning them about, does it still qualify as a warning symbol? Should warning symbols require a public education effort? How does one measure whether a symbol is idiot-proof? How many idiots should be queried?] The issue here seems to be that the public hasn’t been properly educated on the warning symbol, which is supposed to be “idiot proof” and understandable across a wide variety of cultures and languages. Yet 46% of drivers couldn’t figure out that the icon represents a tire and 14% thought the symbol represented another problem with the vehicle entirely.
  • [from steve_portigal] The importance of futility in innovation [Pasta&Vinegar] – [See our various rants against finding "pain points" as the pathway to innovation.] This discussion echoes with the notion of “needs” and the desperate quest lead by big companies to find “new needs”. Looking for these so-called new needs is not a matter of asking people what they want or asking them what they would crave for. Instead, observing how products and services that may seem futile at first can be adopted, domesticated, appropriated and tweaked for other purposes is a better strategy.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Pediatricians call for a choke-proof hot dog [] – The American Academy of Pediatricswould like to see foods such as hot dogs "redesigned" so their size, shape and texture make them less likely to lodge in a youngster's throat. More than 10,000 children under 14 go to the emergency room each year after choking on food, and up to 77 die, says the new policy statement, published online today in Pediatrics. About 17% of food-related asphyxiations are caused by hot dogs.

    "If you were to take the best engineers in the world and try to design the perfect plug for a child's airway, it would be a hot dog," says statement author Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. "I'm a pediatric emergency doctor, and to try to get them out once they're wedged in, it's almost impossible."

“Very Loud Please Cover Ears!”

Here’s the Nine O’Clock Gun in Vancouver’s Stanley Park

The cannon, safe inside a cage, fires every night at 9:00. And there are warning signs, of course. One is fairly straightforward

And the other looks like a parody example of Bad Visual Design.

Although the entire sign is hideous, confusing, hilarious yet disturbing, the bad copy, perhaps to cross cultures, is my (for lack of a better word) favorite. I love the phrase “Very Loud Please Cover Ears!” — note that the unnecessary quotes are actually included in the copy. It trumps the bad colors, the confusing icons, and the abysmal visual flow. I picture some bureaucrat, for whom English is not a first language, shouting out the copy to the sign designer, who took it down verbatim. Although just a comma would help a lot, but it still just reads embarrassingly wrong.

See more of my Vancouver 2009 pictures here.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • On the Trail of an Annoying Announcement – Travel writer Joe Sharkey on the irritation and ineffectiveness of repeated airport announcements
  • Advertising in context – HBO is putting audio-enabled billboards in NY and LA to promote the season premier of "Big Love." I liked this localization detail: "HBO representatives at the sites will answer questions and, in Los Angeles, offer disposable headphones. The company assumed that New York commuters would bring their own."
  • Curious study on persuasion in cautioning teens about their online profies – "Many teenagers cleaned up their MySpace profiles, deleting mentions of sex and booze and boosting privacy settings, if they got a single cautionary e-mail from a busybody named "Dr. Meg." The e-mail was sent by Dr. Megan Moreno, lead researcher of a study of lower-income kids that she says shows how parents and other adults can encourage safer Internet use."

Do This Don’t Do That Can’t You Read The Sign?

Earlier this week I spent the day with the design team of a global technology company. I can’t say much more but I can share a couple of photographs from different bathrooms.

The standard soap dispenser has been repurposed for hand lotion. The soap comes from the other kind of standard dispenser, a foot away, next to the sink.

Washing your hands is a fairly unconscious behavior, you assess the space visually and quickly move through the various tasks…so who stops to read the sign that says Hand Lotion? That sign serves more of a “here’s how you messed up, buddy” explanation than as a preventative measure. I had a hard time stopping myself from getting hand lotion when I wanted soap.

We did have a group discussion about observing signs in the environment to identify workarounds and opportunities for improvement and so I was pleased to have an example from their environment to share back. This ended up in the always enjoyable men’s bathroom vs. women’s bathroom comparison…in this office the women’s bathroom includes a dispenser for hand sanitizer (in addition to soap and lotion). Unfortunately I didn’t get in there to take a picture. But, oh, the mode errors!

I was struck by the presumed need for this sign in a different bathroom, explaining what locked and unlocked look like. I had this quick “well that’s dumb” reaction, took the picture, used the facility, and then upon exiting realized that I had failed to lock the door! I’m not sure exactly how I managed to not lock it, since that is another automatic behavior.

In both cases, the signs themselves caught my attention, but I still exhibited the behavior they were trying to prevent (taking lotion instead of soap, leaving the door unlocked).

See also Signs To Override Human Nature, previously.

Japan pictures – part 1 of 3

I’ve uploaded nearly 1300 of my Japan pictures to Flickr. For reasons I’m sure you’ll understand, I haven’t added titles or tags or descriptions proactively, but please add comments or questions on flickr and I’ll gladly offer a story or explanation.

Meanwhile, I’m including some of my faves here, as well as part 2 and part 3.


Hey, bloggers!

Sign from Intellectual Property Office, Ministry of Economic Affairs, in the Taipei airport
The sign reads:
Post only authorized images, music, videos, or writings on your blog, or you could be blogging your way into court! Today’s user is tomorrow’s right owner. Respect others’ intellectual properly rights.

Even before clearing immigration in Taipei, there’s an intellectual property warning for bloggers. Is this really such a big problem? I’d expect them to worry more about CD and DVD piracy first.

Dim Prospects

These dimmer switches are new and they will always be warm to the touch

Seen in a lecture hall at the Berkeley School of Information. Presumably maintenance got fed up with responding to what they deemed to be false alarms. I’m no electrician, but I do have to wonder about dimmers that are warm enough to warrant a service call.


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