18 March 2011

...change given

Imagine a world where all vending and ticketing machines were born equal, whatever their shape or size. A world in which the opportunity to perform their task was on a level playing field where any denomination of banknote or coinage was either spent or re-pocketed not by mistake but by rational choice of the user. A world in which every owner of these machines can confidently claim - and know to be one hundred percent true - the catchphrase 'Money goes in, Service comes out'. You may think I'm crazy. A maverick. A silly heart. A utopian fantasist. But this, comrades, is a dream. My dream. Dream no. 47, on a dream list which exists only as a dream itself, to act as the rather wordy and pompous catalyst to tell you how putting money in a slot has become a more usable experience. For a handful of Brightonians. Who drive cars.

So here's the original You May Also Like entry. For those who like nutshells and their contents, the abridged version goes like this:

Brighton City College had a ticket entry machine with some confusing instructions which looked like this:

And I suggested it may help if it looked like this:

Well, I've been back recently and was pleased to discover it's been updated and now looks like this:

Very very close to the labelling and information hierarchy I suggested, which I firmly believe will help people park more successfully.

So, a small victory for usability, and something - should I obtain access to a time machine - I can take with me as I travel back to 1984 and say to me as a kid "Keep drawing volcanoes son (make sure you don't colour over the lines). You don't know it yet, but all this colouring in will one day mean some people will be able to leave their car for a couple of hours without getting a parking ticket".

And with that, my work here is done ... puff of smoke. *cough*