Technical miscommunication

Subject: Technical miscommunication
From: David Downing <DavidDowning -at- users -dot- com>
To: 'TW posts' <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 10:07:50 -0400

I thought the following anecdote would be relevant, and of interest, because
it's about something done for decorative purposes that could be misconstrued
as having been done for informational purposes.

I recently used a pump at a self-service gas station that was painted with a
pattern of red, blue, and green. The pattern was such that each of the
three buttons to select the desired grade of gas was inside a different
color. The nozzle of the pump was green.

Well, being of above-average intelligence, I deduced that the coloring of
the pump was purely decorative, and that those selector buttons worked
exactly like they did on any other pump, but I had to think about it for a
second. Did the pump only dispense the grade of gas that appeared inside
the green area?

This seems to speak to the issue of using colors to convey messages, which I
know has been discussed here before. Along with all the other problems, you
run the risk of getting people confused between color for decorative
purposes and color for informational purposes.

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