I was at a mall today and was trying to locate signs for the men’s room, restroom, whatever-you-call-it. The first confusion occured when I looked at a sign that had a man and a woman, the usual kind of restroom sign, but this turned out to be the sign for the elevator. My bad.
After a little hunting, I found the sign and subsequently the restroom. The problem was that the sign was small, and there was nothing pointing you to the sign. It was not visible where I was and exploring the floor was the only way I could find the sign.
This, in a mall used by thousands of people, Maybe they don’t like people to use restrooms. You know, conserving water, saving the environment, that kind of thing. Fair enough.
Leaving the mall, the next challenge was to figure out how to get to the parking lot, which is in the basement. Same problem, different sign, or lack thereof. You either had to ask somebody or wander around aimlessly till somebody showed you the way out when the mall had to be closed. I exaggerate, because I am home and the mall’s probably still open.
You have to wonder though–the mall has shops that are beautiful to look at, the lighting’s well done, the restrooms are clean and nice, and so on. Yet, the design has a problem with the most basic of things.
Maybe the interior designers thought that having signs all over the place wouldn’t look good. Maybe it wouldn’t have, but they could’ve asked some fancy designer to make good looking signs. That would’ve helped the beauty of the mall and the people using the mall.
You think that they tested the mall by letting a few people figure their way around the mall? Or even observed shoppers and figured out what problems they were facing? Probably not.
A pity, because it’s the simple things that matter so much.