The UX of upside-down pavement signs

By | July 6, 2009

You know when you are driving and you see a sign that is written on the pavement itself.  The interesting thing is that the sign is written from top to bottom so you can read it one line at a time while you drive over them.

stopAhead

Although I often find these signs difficult to read, I sort of get why they do it.  Three lines is really hard to read as you drive past.

So the people who write street signs have gotten used to writing this way.  I was at the airport about to walk into the parking lot, when I saw this sign painted on the sidewalk. (not the road).

forTrafficWatch

Clearly, this was meant for people walking, not for cars.  It was on the sidewalk and printed small enough that you would miss it from the car.  My question is:  Why is this upside down?  I am walking.  I don’t have a problem stopping my feet to read.  Making it upside down, just makes it hard to read.

They aren’t trying to be cute (that would be interesting) or create a haiku out of the street signs.  They are being lazy.  The guy who put the sign down just didn’t think about how people would use the sign.

Hardly anyone ever thinks about how their work will be used by real people. This sign serves no purpose.  It is a waste of paint.  Have you written instructions that no one reads?  Maybe you wrote them in the equivalent upside-down language.

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