It's all spinning wheels and self-doubt until the first pot of coffee.

Yahoo! Bathroom! from! Hell!

Funny story - it looks like you'd pull this door, but actually you have to push it. I got confused and thought it was engaged and stood outside for thirty seconds before accidentally pushing.

Source: The doors are unusable... on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

This gave me an idea for a scifi story: One day, you wake up and find that nothing seems to work right. All the affordances you've been used to from everyday things have flip flopped, and all the little things no longer make sense. Pretty dumb / silly, but might make for a good Twilight-Zone-style story.

Archived Comments

  • There's a part in Amelie where Amelie pulls a fast one on a nasty corner grocer while he's out. He wakes up the next day to find that nothing works quite as it should or seems quite like it's supposed to. Satisfying revengeful hilarity ensues. :)

  • Ever since I learned about affordances and such in my senior design class, I can't help but notice when the cues are wrong/missing in buildings/objects/software. It's uncanny how many things are just terribly designed in the most basic ways.

    Take for instance the iPod nano click wheel. The center button and wheel are both smooth and at the same elevation -- I can't use it without looking at it! Luckily the little adhesive protective thing I put on has a raised center over the click wheel -- an intentional feature so that I can now feel where it is. This is especially important because I like to wear it under my shirt on the lanyard phones all of the time, and operate it through the shirt.

  • The physical therapy office I used to go to also had pull bars on a push door. It's a lot less funny when your hands and arms are messed up such that pulling on a push door causes serious pain.

  • Hey, well what if everything flip flopped only every 18 months?


    self promotion self promotion self promotion

  • Or move to another country - compared to New Zealand, in the US:

    • switches are upside down

    • taps turn the wrong way

    • showers are just totally different (sometimes i've just stood there trying to push and pulling and twist everything that can be in an effort to get some water to come out!)

    • paper is a different size

    • not to mention the whole driving on the other side of the road, which affects what side of the pavement you walk on, how you walk through double doors, which way to look when you're crossing the street...

  • @Hadley: That's the first thing that hit me, too. When I moved to Germany, I noticed the light switches were upside down, as well as all switches on, for example, coffee machines. You push them up to turn them off. Also, the titles on the spines of books are written from bottom to top, so you have to tilt your head to the left to read them. Then there's the whole using a comma for a decimal point thing, and periods for thousands-separators. And the ginormous electric plugs.