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U-turn, UI turn

I was driving this morning and I got lost. I took a wrong exit and started going down a street. I knew I was going the wrong way and I was pretty certain I wanted to turn around. As I pulled up to a stop light the sign next to the light clearly told me that I was not allowed to make a U-turn. I've probably passed similar signs hundreds or even thousands of times, but this time I stopped and thought about it.

A traffic designer probably realized:

  1. Drivers might get lost and need to make a U-turn
  2. Some drivers would want to make the U-turn at this exact location
  3. A car doing a U-turn at this location could be dangerous or disruptive to traffic

The traffic designer decided that the solution to the problem is a no U-turn sign. But what they didn't realize is that this doesn't solve the actual problem. I still want to make the U-turn and the sign is completely useless to my specific desire to turn around.

Imagine a computer parallel:

Now imagine if a couple signs that could have been useful:

  • U-turn up ahead
  • Exit on right to return to Rt 3
  • Please U-turn on side streets only
  • Rotary ahead
  • U-turn only on green arrow
  • Etc. Etc.

Just a friendly reminder to anyone writing error messages and screen text. It's not what you can't do it's how to get it done that counts.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.