Burning down fences with flame throwers!

I took Ferris and Will’s independant study class a while ago, Dr. St. Amant gave a little talk about human-computer interaction. Since then I’ve been all about some usability. I’ve read the Apple and Gnome user interface guides, and other more normal articles about usability stuff. I filed a bug at work for a project where I listed maybe 10 suggestions to improve the UI. I don’t think the developer was very happy…

Anyhoo, since I bought this townhouse I’ve noticed some things that could work better. Mostly dealing with light switches.

The front door

Definitely need a motion sensor on the light here. Or at least a smaller, motion sensor triggered light shining on the keyhole.

The laundry room

You can’t actually go inside the laundry room–it’s just a washer and a dryer behind two of those sliding doors. There is a light in the room that you have to manually turn on. Why not have the light turn on automatically when the doors open and turn off when the doors close?

The closet below the stairs

Same as above. While you can go inside this closet and close the door, why would you want to?

Downstairs bathroom

Why not have the light turn on when an infrared sensor detects someone in the bathroom?


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11 Responses to Burning down fences with flame throwers!

  1. terror_firma says:


    We made a difference.

    My favorite usability snafu is the sign in the library above the change machine that says:

    Cashiers absolutely
    WILL not
    make change

    Why would you bold the word that represents the opposite of what you mean?

  2. But do you really need to have the light turned on every time you’re doing laundry or looking in a closet? Isn’t the ambient light from the room usually sufficient?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Mama Fu… who knew?

    Hey Mark! I almost didn’t recognize you without the curls today, but it looks like that really was you! How funny. I also never figured you’d be so easy to find. Just sayin’ hi.
    PS Tell Lisa I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to say hello.

    • Mark Doliner says:

      Re: Mama Fu… who knew?

      Jane Y. from RALFTY?

      • Anonymous says:

        Re: Mama Fu… who knew?

        That’s the one! :O) I could tell you were also trying to figure out where you knew me from. Was that in fact Lisa with you? It’s ironic running into you after all these years with another regional NFTY event coming to Beth Or next year for the first time since that Fall when we got married… was it seven times? Good to see you’re doing well!

        • Mark Doliner says:

          Re: Mama Fu… who knew?

          Neat. Yep, that was Lisa and our mom. I had no idea they were having another regional event here. So….. what’ve you been up to the past 6 years?

  4. salchichatu says:

    You could just have really fast robots that run from room to room turning on and off lightswitches whenever you move. I think that’d be cooler.

  5. Mark Doliner says:

    Or really fast monkeys! Now we’re getting somewhere!

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