And the award for Most Unnecessary Signage goes to...

This. As Rain Noe perfectly explains on Core77, "the entire point of [the two symbols] is that they don't require an explanation and can be understood by those who cannot read English." The complicated clarifications, filled with text of three different sizes and styles and variable underlining, ruin a simple and effective design. I'll be so lost in puzzling over all this that I might just ignore the steady red hand and wander into the street!

Emergency-alert buttons should be unpressable!

Recently, poor UI design led to a false incoming-missile alert in Hawaii. This is a terrifying accident - and a failure not of the user, but of design. According to reports, the alert was in the same drop-down menu as test alerts used regularly for various internal purposes; the addition of an "Are you sure?" dialog box didn't help, since most people cruise through dozens of those every day. Buttons with serious consequences really should be unpressable - it should take unusual thought or action to press them. These kinds of designs already exist at all levels; examples from severe to mundane include the classic "turn two keys at once" to launch a missile, "break glass" to pull a fire alarm, the recessed "panic" button on your car keys, even the slightly-longer press required to engage caps lock on a Mac. I hear the employee who pressed the button has been reassigned - but the designer of this button is truly at fault.

Hey, pressure-washer warning label...

...if you don't want me to do it, don't make it look so fun!

Bricking Unsecure Devices: Good, Evil, Both?

Millions (or tens, hundreds of millions, or billions?) of IoT devices are shipped with default usernames and passwords, which users seldom change, and which malicious hackers can then use in attacks. A hacker by the name of Janit0r released his own virus for these devices, which simply bricks them before they can be used for larger bad deeds. And so the moral question: is this bricking of devices good, evil, or both? Gizmodo's Adam Clark Estes seems to argue for the "good" side, but there are good arguments for each. I'll stay neutral, and make sure to change my default passwords!
[via Ars Technica]

Theft Deterrence by Disguise, AirPod Edition

Apple's new AirPods are pricey little things, so theft deterrence isn't a bad idea - especially when it's this clever. A $4.99 sticker from Etsy will transform your tech into mint-flavored floss, at least as far as thieves are concerned. This follows some other theft-deterrence-by-disguise examples I've posted for cameras, bikes, and even sandwiches - though my favorite method might be deterrence by guilt.
[via Gizmodo]

Necessity : Invention :: Laziness : Brilliance

As far as bang for your buck, measured in delight delivered per hour of effort, Dave's poster pretty much can't be beat. As Tom said, "Nice one Dave."
[Tom Wysocki, via Core77]

Smart Keys and Unpressable Buttons

I'll admit it: I love my minivan. As long as it's considered for the function of transportation instead of the excitement of driving, there's nothing it can't do. It doesn't skimp on conveniences either, which include smart keys and power sliding doors. However, there's a literally unpressable button in that mix. The idea of a smart key is that it can be in a pocket or bag, and you never have to touch it. To allow you to lock the car without having to find the key, there are "lock" buttons on the outside door handles. The problem is that you can't use the lock buttons until all the doors are closed - so the convenient-but-slow sliding doors force me to wait by the car so I can press the lock button after they close. A simple change seems feasible, where the car could beep to acknowledge the lock button with the doors open, then double-beep when the doors close and successfully execute the lock command. It'd save a few seconds every time, often many times per day, and that adds up. Making buttons more pressable can make smart keys smarter!