Where did we park the car?
long ago we parked our car in a large multi-level
parking garage. A nearby sign informed us
that the car was parked
on level 3 in the Dorothy section.
(The garage sections were
marked with different Wizard of Oz characters.)
Upon returning to the parking
garage some time later, we went up to level 3 but
didn't see the car. I started to get a terrible
feeling that someone took our car. The nearby sign
showed level 3 and Dorothy. But then someone
noticed that Dorothy was facing backwards on the
sign instead of forwards.
were in the wrong section! We needed to be in
the section with Dorothy facing forwards! I
bet a lot of people make the same mistake. The
problem is that when you note where your car is parked
you note just the minimum information you'll need
to find your car.
So you might just note Dorothy (or girl
if you don't know that the girl is Dorothy). Which
way Dorothy happens to be facing isn't usually
important so you don't notice it. This is especially
true if you see Dorothy in a normal orientation.
Signs are supposed to provide cues more distinctive
and memorable than the places that they mark. Make
sure that the salient information on a
sign is the information people will need to find
their way. People shouldn't have to see a whole
set of signs to know what information is salient.
Michael J. Darnell 1996-2010. All rights reserved.