March 2, 2004
Okay, there are very low consequences for getting this wrong, but this interface still annoys the hell out of me. See the accompanying picture of a gas pump.
Your morning quiz is,
Where do you press this thing to start the pump going?
The big, black sticker that says
(because it stands out so much from the rest and is all in uppercase) PUSH The word
(because it’s Here Here) The word
To (for no reason) The word
(because it’s button-shaped and that’s were the arrow is pointing) Start All of the Above
None of the above
The answer is…
The word Here is the actual button. All the rest is distraction.
Am I crazy or is this a such a bad interface that it isn’t funny? Why not have the white rectangle around the word
Here? Would that be so hard? And it’s clear that there wasn’t always a sticker there with the word on it, but did they have to go and make a bad interface worse? PUSH
Please feel free to attack or defend this amazing accomplishment in the comments. Really, I want to know if any of you have any idea what these people were thinking.
Posted by James at March 2, 2004 2:37 AM
I was hoping the arrow pointing to Start would light up or something when you did it right. I can picture simple minded drivers jumping up and down with delight when rewarded with some LED animation.
That is the absolute worst I've ever seen.
A lot of gas station pumps are bad, and there are many different setups, so each new pump is a new challenge.
It is worse if you use diesel because sometimes the diesel pump will be there with the gas pumps but have a separate payment thingie off to the side that I don't see right away.
I drive a diesel and I've pushed the wrong button. It was an expensive lesson.
Terrible signage! I vote for "Start" because it's right after the arrow, but "Push" and "Here" are intuitive choices as well.
Why aren't there standards for pumps? Would that there were a NIST-type of organization in charge of such things.
Standards are a bad idea, but, really -- it doesn't take much brains to come up with a halfway decent interface for a problem like this.
Make the whole thing a button. Or:
Come on. This isn't rocket science. That's why it's so shocking.
I don't think standards are a bad idea. When I was a web developer I would have given my right arm for software companies (netscape, microsoft) to follow the standards that they fucking came up with themselves!
Now that I'm a photographer, I'm glad F5.6 means F5.6, not something different depending on who the lens manufacturer is.
Anyway, the worst to me are ATM interfaces. Like theres two pads of buttons and often a touch screen. Bleh.
Selecting the grade can be tricky too. I typically use the middle grade and most pumps have that grade selection ... in the middle. Low grade on left, then mid, then high.
However, one gas station had the low on left the HIGH in the middle and then mid on the right. I absent-mindedly whacked the middle button and later realized it was high grade.
> Selecting the grade can be tricky too.
> I typically use the middle grade and
> most pumps have that grade selection ...
> in the middle. Low grade on left, then
> mid, then high.
According to the manufacturer, my car requires high grade gasoline, I've been tripped up by the gas stations who put it in the middle too. It bums me out not because I'm concerned about price, but that I worry about damaging my engine by putting a lower grade of gas in my tank. Mobil is one of those companies that pulls the switcheroo.
I meant "standards aren't a bad idea"
>I'm concerned about price,
>but that I worry about damaging
>my engine by putting a lower grade
>of gas in my tank.
Just don't pee in it (after the last D&D session I worry that peeing in vessels is a widespread phenomenon ).
You missed the denouement where Brother Calandell asked Abacquer if he could kick him in the junk, to which Abacquer responded "Do I get to kick you in yours?"
I do something similar to myself when I link stuff on my page. Every once in a while I'll write "Click here for something cool" and end up putting the link tags around the "something cool" rather than the "here".
And Chuck, unless you drive some high performance European car with a six figure pricetag, I don't think you have to worry about the occasional lower grade fill-up.
Patti, that was one of the weirder comments I've read in a long time!
And by the way, I guessed "START". I prefer the ones where you press the button with the octane you want on it.
Abacquer is a dragon, by the way. Among rules to live by: "Never punch a dragon in the junk."
and i thought software designers were the only ones making bad interfaces
I would have gone with "Start" because the arrow points to it and it is highlighted. My second choice would likely have been the arrow because it looks like it has little lights on it, possibly to indicate it has been pressed. Third would have been Push because it looks like a button. I might have gone with "Here" eventually. I might also have gone to another gas station. :)
I obviously don't have a future in interface design.
> And Chuck, unless you drive some high
> performance European car with a six
> figure pricetag,
How did you know? ;) Just kidding... nothing so grand.
> I don't think you
> have to worry about the occasional
> lower grade fill-up.
That's a relief. It's the first time I've ever owned a car with a turbocharger, and it's my first new car, so I want to pamper it.
No nothing that fancy, but I love it.
It's a PT Cruiser GT 2.4L Turbo, and it is a lot of fun to drive. -->
. My Baby
>Patti, that was one of the
>weirder comments I've read in a long time!
Bil, if I told you all that went on at our D&D sessions, you wouldn't believe me.
wow. that is a spectacularly bad interface. and it looks as if the 'push' is a late addition on electrical tape... wonder if the original was even worse? the mind boggles...
> wow. that is a spectacularly bad
> interface. and it looks as if the
> 'push' is a late addition on
> electrical tape... wonder if
> the original was even worse?
> the mind boggles...
It probably said something like "Depress". They had to switch it because people were standing around at the pumps looking sad and waiting for the gas to start flowing.
I would just push my car to the next gas station.