Analog Lessons in Usability: Car Locks

[also cross-posted at 30B]

Part two of dispensing unsolicited advice is our new usability column called Analog Lessons. Here’s the skinny, there’s lots of real world examples of design and usability that make for great discussions about how to and how not to implement things online!

Our first example deals with all those new fangled car keys that help you lock and unlock your car (among other things). Who hasn’t remotely popped the trunk of a rental car in a crowded parking lot to help your vehicle identify itself!

One of our big pet peeves is car locks that give audible feedback. Well, specifically those that use the car HORN to acknowledge that yes, “I JUST LOCKED THE CAR FOR YOU!” We imagine that some engineer somewhere had a good reason for the implementation and that there is most likely some arcane combination that prevents it in case you are one of those conscientious people who doesn’t want to irritate the crap out of everyone else in your vicinity or wake a sleeping family member.

So, how do we translate this into sound website design and application development?

It’s a lesson that has been around since the web got graphical and browsers started enabling sound. Simply put: no unwanted or unsolicited noise!

Sure it flies in the face of MySpace, but some surprisingly polished sights like espn.com and MLB team sites are guilty of launching blaring video clips. It is no secret that people use the web at work so respect your user and respect your user’s environment. The only exemption to this rule we are willing to allow is the new crop of video blogs where the focus is 100% video (e.g. Rocketboom).

Have a great weekend.

[tags]usability, espn, mlb, rocketboom[/tags]

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