Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bad signs

Today I had to change the sign on the public computer that won't connect to the printer to say: "Printing is not possible from this computer. If you need to print please choose a different computer" because the old one said "printing is unavailable from this computer. Please see the information desk for assistance" so people would type up long documents and then come over to us and say "okay, how do I print this?"
Inline image 1


  1. I'll be interested to hear whether different wording decreases the number of people who do that. There is much speculation about whether people read signs at all, unless they are looking for the location of a specific item (e.g., a product on a shelf, a customer service desk).

    1. It seems like it did, but the sample size was small because our IT people *finally* fixed the problem soon after I changed the sign. However I do know that the proportion of people who said "the sign said to come to the desk for help" to people who said "the computer says it can't find any printers!" was about 2:1. That does seem high, but the sign was brightly colored, large, and located on a small monochrome surface that the patron was forced to come within two feet of to use. None of this is necessarily typical of library signage.