Label vs. Pictograph: Words Work

Apparently, enough folks had enough trouble getting paper towels out of this dispenser to justify the emphatic English-only label:

Towel dispenser - pictograph vs label
Towel dispenser – pictograph vs label

I’d lay money this is the second towel dispenser; the first got ripped apart while trying to extract the towels.

At least the pictograph wasn’t the currently trendy black-on-black

5 thoughts on “Label vs. Pictograph: Words Work

  1. I don’t understand why towel dispenser designers can’t figure out a better UI.

    One of my least favorites is the one that insists you must “Pull Down On Both Sides” of the towel. It you pull down in the center, as is human nature, sure enough the thing jams. What were they thinking? Seems to me to fall in the category of boiling the ocean — the thing will work fine just as soon as they retrain all of humanity to pull it in their special way.

    1. And pulling down with two wet hands leaves you holding a pair of useless shreds…

  2. That arrow doesn’t help. But PDPP (pictographdislexical Pictographobie) seems to be an American thing. The DOT labels intersections, “right turn only”, “right turn okay” .. while all other countries get away with arrows. Even the speed limit signs say “speed limit” on it. (If you don’t know, what a white sign means, you shouldn’t be driving.)
    Looking at my car’s manual, the Canadian model has pictographs on the dashboard, the US model has text.
    And Canadians seem to do just fine with pictographs. When traveling abroad, instead of wearing a shirt that says “I talk American English but I’m not a US citizen and not responsible for any of their doings” they just wear a maple leave.

    1. Aye!

      I think we ‘Murricans have enough of a monolingual culture to get away with text signs; pretty nearly everybody knows the 100 most common English words. Maybe not enough to read, but …

      On the other paw, some pictographs just don’t work.

      1. just don’t work

        Agreed on that. Case in point, the first time my wife ran into the dreaded TPMS icon, she couldn’t figure it out. (I’m the designated RTFM person [sigh], but hers was a solo trip.) One frantic cell phone call later and we figured it out. Still, it looked to her like “(!)”, generating a “wut waz that!?”.

        We just bought a second Forester, and this one has the vision system with collision avoidance and lane departure functions, as well as a smart cruise control. Learning the icons was a bit of a challenge. (Haven’t had Subie 2 long enough to be very comfortable with the controls, but the automagic car-following cruise control is pretty nice. The lane system gets spoofed by tar strips parallel to the markings, and the sales guy warned me not to trust the collision system too much.)

Comments are closed.