Monday, 26 October 2009

visual cues

The visual cue here is "WAIT"

it is common sense to press the white button and wait at a set of traffic lights until we see and hear the sound of the beeping and the green flashing man.

But what if somebody couldn't even spell, or read the word "WAIT"?

if the user in this case wasn't English, this still shouldn't be a problem as in there own country, having used traffic lights before they would have learnt the Stop and "WAIT" procedure.

However if the user was english but could not read a word in a sentence, then by looking at the visual diagram at the bottom of the traffic light this would give them an idea that the red man means danger and that they should wait! and That the green man means go,

But what if this user was Blind?

if the user was blind he or she would wait until they hear the sound (beeping sound) where this tells them it is safe to cross.

Why does this work?
in terms of Mechanics the user approach's the lights and wants the cars to stop. when looking at the traffic light interface the aesthetical form and looks have been developed to communicate a simple message that tells the user to press a button, as there is no other option for them other then to press it once. once pressed a visual message comes up which has some type on the interface displaying WAIT in block capitals. this message, is a warning from the style of typography it is communicated out in. The next part of the mechanics is the most important part the process which communicates a message to the user to walk safely across the road without getting ran over.
In doing this the traffic light produces three ways of signs, and meanings to communicate the right message.
The first sign, the light changes to green with a man and a cyclist flashes, this signifies to the user that it is safe to go as the cars have been stopped on the other side.

The second Sign of feedback is the audio sound. Once the lights have changed to green a loud looping beep sound is signaled, this is signified to any users which are blind and cannot see the visual response.

The third and final output is the visual diagram on the interface. If a user is watching the text that reads WAIT in the first step, This will change to a flashing green man and a cyclist which means it is now safe.

I wanted to understand more in depth of how a traffic like actually worked. in terms of mechanics, and construction I had a look at some research below.
Quote below taken from

"Traffic lights work on a timer, but if you look closely on the road when your stopped at the traffic lights, you should see a rectangle like shape under the car it is called a sensor And when you drive on it, a signal is sent, so the timer knows a car is waiting, if no other cars are going the other way, the timer will change and the light will go green so you can go".

This visual cue clearly shows a speed limit road marking at 30MPH.
Drivers that see this sign know that it is a offence to drive past this mark above that speed.
The marking is on a red background which signifies danger.
The red background can be seen from a distant do to size, which signifies to drivers to slow down before they reach to this area.
The marking is also white, large and stretched so cars at a speed can see it when driving over at a pace.
White marking are more commonly used in traffic because they are a contrasting colour and work well when used for warning and speed signs.

Quote below taken from

"When used as a border on a circular sign in the UK the colour red signifies that you must not do anything but if the colour red is a border on a triangular sign then there could be danger ahead for motorists, you are being warned that extra care is needed in the vicinity of the sign."

This image shows a disabled car parking spot.

As a driver looks for a space to park, they see this visual cue, the driver automatically Carry's on.

However if the driver is disabled then this visual cue will be what they are looking for.

The visual cue in this image does not have to have the word "DISABLED" to get peoples attention,

with just a basic stick man in a half circle, represents and signifies to all National public citizens, that this icon is for disabled use only!

The yellow lines are ergonomically designed to form a purpose, it"s function is to stand out from the rest of the parking slots, as other parking bays are white and need no aesthetics to only line and colour. Disabled parking bays are more important and require a more semiotic meaning to communicate the full message. The yellow means caution or warning to motorists. This tells the driver only specific drivers can use this space.

When a person is walking in an unknown environment, he or she is unaware of the building or place they are walking around.

with the help of this simple yellow line that directs the visitor around the building, it is known as a visual cue.

It reacts in the same way as a website. For example when a user lands on a random page they are unsure what to do next. But with the help of some use full Buttons that act as navigation, the user can feel more at home and they can enjoy a more user friendly site
without getting frustrated.

Visual cues like this can normally be found in large art galleries Universities and Hospitals.

Quote below from

"Take the exit on the left at the top of escalator.

Go up stairs on the left signed 'Barbican' .

Continue straight ahead approx 100m and take first right onto 'Gresham Street'.

Continue down Gresham Street, taking third left signed 'Wood Street'

Continue down 'Wood Street' and take escalators at the end on the left handside with the yellow pavement writing saying 'Barbican Centre Follow' (just before the main road)

At the the top of escalators follow the yellow line straight ahead .

Cointinue straight ahead past the the reception for 125 london Wall 'JP Morgan'

Cross the bridge into barbican building and take an immediate left into 'Wallside'

Take an immediate right and walk down two flights of stairs.

The Clinic shares premises with the Barbican Dentist in the 'Postern Building'."

The visual cue in this screen grab is the title at the top of the page.
The title is the first thing user will see and look for when he or she visits a website.
When a user enters a website they want to know what they are looking for, just as if you were browsing in a shop. To have a good title is important else your users could be wasting there time. If your title is a responsive title relevant to your site content then your users will stay and read more.
Quote Below taken from

" The title is essential for a reader to immediately get a feel for what a page is about, and of course from the site owner's perspective by adding a well worded title/summary you are also helping search engines to get a feel for that page's content."

This screen grab of a website, is of modern designing agency, who design interactive media. The visual cues here show images of interactive elements such as laptops,cameras, smart boards, and mobiles. Ergonomically They have taken these images and turned them into visual cues by making these icons the main point of the user's interest. To do this they have used software such as (flash) to turn these visual cues into interactive buttons using advaced technology and skills, so when the user hovers and clicks on the the images, they will respond to the users actions, and perform a task programmed by the designer.

This is a visual cue of the google search bar, this famous cue is viewed and searched by Hundreds of thousands of users every second of every day.

The reason why Google is one of the best web search engines in the world is because of it's userbillity, and mechanics. To use the search bar there is no hard task at all. The userbilllity rule requires 3 steps for landing on the page you want. In this case the first step is to type your source, the second step is to select a button to search for and the third choice is to locate the right website on the results page. in some cases it may take more then three clicks to find a page you want, because there may be millions of sites under the same search criteria so you may need to specifically define your search to meet the subject matter.

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