S simple just get off at the next stop and go to the

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s simple: just get off at the next stop and go to the destination control box in the elevator hall, and specify the intended floor. PEOPLE S RESPONSES TO CHANGES IN CONVENTIONS People invariably object and complain whenever a new approach is introduced into an existing array of products and systems. Conventions are violated: new learning is required. The merits of the new system are irrelevant: it is the change that is upsetting. The
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destination control elevator is only one of many such examples. The metric system provides a powerful example of the difficulties in changing people s conventions. The metric scale of measurement is superior to the English scale of units in almost every dimension: it is logical, easy to learn, and easy to use in computations. Today, over two centuries have passed since the metric system was developed by the French in the 1790s, yet three countries still resist its use: the United States, Liberia, and Myanmar. Even Great Britain has mostly switched, so the only major country left that uses the older English system of units is the United States. Why haven t we switched? The change is too upsetting for the people who have to learn the new system, and the initial cost of purchasing new tools and measuring devices seems excessive. The learning difficulties are nowhere as complex as purported, and the cost would be relatively small because the metric system is already in wide use, even in the United States. Consistency in design is virtuous. It means that lessons learned with one system transfer readily to others. On the whole, consistency is to be followed. If a new way of doing things is only slightly better than the old, it is better to be consistent. But if there is to be a change, everybody has to change. Mixed systems are confusing to everyone. When a new way of doing things is vastly superior to another, then the merits of change outweigh the difficulty of 150 The Design of Everyday Things change. Just because something is different does not mean it is bad. If we only kept to the old, we could never improve. The Faucet: A Case History of Design It may be hard to believe that an everyday water faucet could need an instruction manual. I saw one, this time at the meeting of the British Psychological Society in Sheffield, England. The participants were lodged in dormitories. Upon checking into Ranmoor House, each guest was given a pamphlet that provided useful information: where the churches were, the times of meals, the location of the post office, and how to work the taps (faucets). The taps on the washhand basin are operated by pushing down gently. When it was my turn to speak at the conference, I asked the audience about those taps. How many had trouble using them? Polite, restrained tittering from the audience. How many tried to turn the handle? A large show of hands. How many had to seek help? A few honest folks raised their hands. Afterward, one woman came up to me and said that she had given up and walked the halls until she found someone who could explain the taps to her. A simple sink, a
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