Category: By By Design

04/18/05

Permalink 11:39:36 am, by fumanchu Email , 39 words   English (US)
Categories: By By Design

Sing a song of sixpence

Alpha-numeric stamps

Can you see wich stamp is "missing" and why?

I also thought the inclusion of the "&" stamp in-between Y and Z was pretty funny—I sing the ABC song in my head every time I see it.

04/16/05

Permalink 10:17:00 am, by fumanchu Email , 52 words   English (US)
Categories: By By Design

So that's why Americans abandoned Brit spellings

When you spell words "the American way", you don't have to work so hard parsing (and pronouncing) compounds like "Centrelink" (the name of an Australian government agency). That is, you won't ever pronounce "Centerlink" like /cen-treh-link/.

So the question is, is this by by design?

03/28/05

Permalink 01:06:58 pm, by fumanchu Email , 241 words   English (US)
Categories: By By Design

The Tools of Information Chunking

4-panel trailer warning label

I found this label on one of our tool trailers while working in Ciudad Juarez last week. The bar on which they placed the sticker is wider than it is tall, so one might think that the 4-panel layout is due to those size constraints. If the layout had been vertical, would it have been like this instead?

same label but in a vertical style

In the original, four horizontal panels each have their own header in a different color, but the meaning of each header isn't very different—"warning", "danger", "caution", and "notice" aren't very specific, and all carry the same semantic. One might think the space is wasted.

But there are good reasons IMO to have four separate sections. If they had not done so, would anyone read all of the information? I doubt it. They would instead gloss over the entire panel, reading only perhaps one-quarter to one-third of the text. Having four sections at least draws the eye to the initial text in each section, and increases the chance that the reader will get "the big points". In addition, I found myself more interested in reading the entire text when it was broken up into four manageable chunks. The first and last chunks are quickly dismissable as "common knowledge"—things you should know without having to read it. That quickly leaves two short lists to check off mentally, rather than one large one.

So the question is, is this by by design?

03/17/05

Permalink 09:58:13 am, by fumanchu Email , 187 words   English (US)
Categories: By By Design

Is this text justified?

Carl's Jr. TACO SAUCE packet

If you can't make out the text on the packet, it reads:

INGREDIENT STATEMENT: WATER, TOMATO, RED
PEPPER*, DISTILLED VINEGAR, CONTAINS LESS
THAN 2% OF GARLIC, SALT, SPICE, CANOLA OIL,
SODIUM BENZOATE AND POTASSIUM SORBATE (AS
PRESERVATIVES), ASCORBIC ACID. *DEYHDRATED

Two rather odd choices, here.

First, why "Ingredient Statement" instead of the more typical (and readable) "Ingredients"? My first thought was that the language lawyers had paid a visit to the copywriter, and left him or her in a fog of legalese. "The Ingredient Statement MUST list the official chemical names or common names..."

Second, why does "Red Pepper" have a freakin' footnote when a) the entire content is a single block of text, and b) the footnote is itself laid out as part of the single text block? Why not just write "Dehydrated Red Pepper" inline? Both Ryan and I had the same thought: maybe it lines up better in the fully-justified block. With ~43 columns max, it would bump to six lines instead of five. But if you change "Ingredient Statement" back to "Ingredients", there's no problem at all staying on 5 lines.

The question is, is this by by design?

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