The World needs Better Signage

Daily UX #6

It’s certainly been a while! Things are changing and I have exciting news to share soon. At the moment, I’m still at WOKE working alongside a talented design team. For now, let’s get back into Daily UX.

To those who aren’t familiar with what Daily UX is, I started this series in October of 2016, where I would write super-short articles about how little design flaws contribute to my personal frustration, and could be avoided if thoroughly thought-out (mostly the former).

I was at a local Korean supermarket with my girlfriend a few weeks ago, and it took a little bit of brain power to read some signage. Please refer to the photo below:

What’s the pricing of the white bottle on the top-right corner? We both agreed that it was $41.99 at a glance. It wasn’t until we saw a pair of wooden chopsticks for $29.99 on another shelf that we realized our mistake. The arrow was not pointing to the product it was seemingly associated with. If you look closely, it’s displaying the percentage of money you’re saving.

What are some observations and assumptions that can be made here?

  • Arrows always direct the eye — use them effectively and make sure they direct people to things you want them to pay attention to
  • Manager’s Specials signs are in different colours
  • People tend to associate products with price tags that are placed below unless instructed otherwise

And what are some recommendations to better this design?

  • Arrows can certainly be less pronounced and lower down in hierarchy when in contrast with the price
  • Manager’s Specials can be one colour to avoid the confusion of, “what’s the different between a red Manager’s Special and a green one?”
  • Just get rid of the arrows. There are many different icons and ways to call out how much money people can save.

And that’s the difference between a $41.99 shampoo, and a $19.99 shampoo. Merchants shouldn’t make it difficult for people to purchase their products; good design avoids confusion, and almost always expedites the purchasing flow.

I was talking to another designer at WOKE’s open studio yesterday during Vancouver Design Week, and we both agreed that airports have intuitive, accessible signage. If you have any suggestions on where to find artfully crafted signage, I would love to hear your response below!