Fun_People Archive
1 Apr
The passing of "clockwise" and "dial-tone"

Date: Fri,  1 Apr 94 13:43:20 PST
To: Fun_People
Subject: The passing of "clockwise" and "dial-tone"

Forwarded-by: bostic@vangogh.CS.Berkeley.EDU (Keith Bostic)
Forwarded-by: Thu Mar 31 19:36:59 1994

My son (11) confronted a dial phone this past weekend and couldn't
figure out how to use it. He tried pressing the "buttons" but nothing
happened. We finally had to show him the concept of turning the dial.
It took a little practice to get it smooth.

I guess we've reached a milestone. What if he were confronted by the
"anti-drug" pay phones with dials and had to dial 911? He'd be stuck.

In designing UI's we make assumptions about cultural norms or icons.
Most people see the phone dial as a very obvious interface. It isn't,
it's just something most of us learned at an early enough age to assume
it is a part of the natural world.

[Long-time readers of Fun_People will recognize this message as number N+1 in a
series whose Nth member was titled "The passing of 'deasil/widdershins' and
'smoke-signal.'"  -psl]

[=] © 1994 Peter Langston []