I had the inspiration for the subject of this post this summer, while having a walk in Milan with a friend. As we passed in front of the XIV century Sforza Castle (italian: Castello Sforzesco), we noticed it was lit by coloured lights, which gave it a quite peculiar aspect.Castello Sforzesco by night. Photo by –Nick– on Flickr.
The most notable aspect, however, is that the colour of the light can change over time (this is what is called dynamic lighting): the following time I was in the square in front of the Castle, it was lit by purple light.
I’m spending the biggest part of the day in one of those luxury hotels, the ones that are so expensive that no detail is left to chance.
One significant detail: if you wash your hands in the restrooms, you can choose between using a paper towel or a fabric one. Now, I’m usually quite sensitive to environmental issues. Not that I’m a Green activist, but let’s just say that I care about those things.
When talking about user experience, predictability is good. Some of the things we interact with in our daily life, though, are lacking from this perspective.
Consider traffic lights: they are among the most widely diffused devices and they can’t be simpler. Green: go. Red: don’t.
Yet, they are widely recognized as universal sources of frustration. Red lights, in particular, are able to annoy almost anyone.
And that’s not just because they are inevitably perceived as something meant to slow you down, but also because they leave you almost clueless about when they’ll eventually turn green.