Being good citizens we try and recycle as much as we can. Every Saturday, and sometimes Sunday, we make the trip down to the Recycling area to drop off our collected plastic, cardboard, and paper.
Recently some of the bins have been replaced (were they recycled?) with newer ones. So 5 shiny new metal bins arrived - four red and one grey. Red ones replacing the ones for plastics and the grey was an additional one for cardboard etc. The reason for the long set-up is this Sunday we dutifully went and I saw the grey bin overflowing with plastic.
Now on Saturday it was virtually empty and only myself and one other put a few bits of cardboard in there (We both did a double-check). So what made others fill it with plastic? One idea I had is the lack of good signs. The most dominant is the supplier of the bin. Can you see which one tells you what to place here? You can click through and see it larger on Flickr. All the other new red bins have the same stickers, placed almost identically too.
Also the proximity to the other new bins. All of them were placed together at the same time. So people must have made the assupmtion that if all the new bins are for plastics, then this must be for plastic too, regardless of it being a vastly different color – and no one read the signs as they all look the same.
What went wrong?
Could you blame the users? Aren’t they just being lazy? Well I don’t think so. In the 8 months or so that we’ve been recyclying here I’ve never seen bins filled with anything that shouldn’t have been there. And as I mentioned, I had to double check too.
Could you blame the company? Could they have better signage? Sure, but they want their customers to know who supplied the bins, so they will contract them in the future. That’s their objective.
Why am I rambling on about this and tagged the post web? Well these are the sorts of things that I think about when doing wireframes or page designs for web sites.
- Are visitors going to find the new thing on the old page?
- Have you made it different enough?
- Is the visitor going to get frustrated?
- Does the page serve all audiences?
So it’s important to not only look to see if you are labelling items on the page clearly, but that you are cognisant of what is around them on the page, especially if this is an existing page that you are adding new content to.