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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Righty tighty, lefty loosey?

I want you to take a good look at this crank. It's just a crank with a spool of cable which was used to block an entrance to a construction site in Mountain View. That's Shoreline Amphitheatre in the background, for what it's worth.

[ Click to see it bigger and uncropped. ]

So then, given the annotation someone added, which way would you turn the crank to accomplish a given task? To me, those straight lines can be deceiving. It's almost suggesting that you want to move the handle more or less "up" to close it, and more or less "down" to close it.

Trouble is, it can go up on either side. Likewise, it can move downward on either side as well. This happens until you reach the top or bottom, and then it inverts.

In reality, the operative directions here are clockwise and counter-clockwise, but you have to "get there" from the straight arrows for it to make any sense.

Regardless of whether you are tripped up by this or not, check out this edited photo and see if it looks any better:

All I did here was bend those arrows around in a graphics editor to make them give the appearance of following the natural rotation which would happen. It makes a bit of a difference, doesn't it?

To me, I can only see one way for the crank to go if it's to follow the curves of these new arrows. The original straight arrows introduce just a tiny bit of doubt which would make me pause before operating the device.

It's funny how just a little tweak can make a big difference.