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Technology

There Are Good Designs, And Not-So-Good Designs

The advertising industry has come up with a good idea, at the right time.

The fact that it came about as a result of pressure from regulators takes away a few points, but it’s still a good idea.

Trying to ward off regulators, the advertising industry has agreed on a standard icon — a little “i” — that it will add to most online ads that use demographics and behavioral data to tell consumers what is happening.

When consumers click on the icon, a white “i” surrounded by a circle on a blue background, they will be taken to a page explaining how the advertiser uses their Web surfing history and demographic profile to send them certain ads.

And, here’s your “i” icon, personally I like it.

I also liked the heads-up research that went along with the graphic design,

[after testing] the icons and phrases with a panel of 2,604 Internet users to see if they remembered them and understood what they meant, two of the phrases — “Why did I get this ad?” and “Interest-based ads” — did the best.

If this is indeed adopted by the industry, users will have an intuitive way to get information they need. No instruction manuals or small print needed. Transparent. Great Design.

On the other hand, we have the design of Emergency Brakes in NY City subways. Since these things actually save (or don’t) human life you might think a few focus groups or research would help the design effort.

If you (take the time to) read the instructions, they actually say not to pull the emergency cord in case of fire, medical or security emergency. Hmmm.

Don't Pull, Instead Sit Down And Read This

In reality if you have lots of time to figure it out, the whole thing makes sense as described in the NY Times and the MTA website. But will you have time?

Besides, as we’ve previously pointed out, nobody but nobody reads instructions anymore.

Focus group anyone?

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Discussion

2 thoughts on “There Are Good Designs, And Not-So-Good Designs

  1. I always figured those cords didn’t do anything. Now I’m curious, and booking a plane ticket so I can yank one to find out.

    BTW where’s the commentary on the Apple/Amazon/publisher renegotiation of e-book prices? We need help making sense of it all.

    Posted by Matthew | February 2, 2010, 6:07 pm
    • Matthew,

      I’ve thrown in the towel on [1] Health Care Reform and [2] e-books pricing distribution vis-a-vis the publishing industry.

      My drawbridge is up, the moat is full of water, and the rest of the world is on its own.

      So there.

      Posted by Bob Gelber | February 2, 2010, 6:53 pm

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