Weeble (clockworksaint) wrote,
Weeble
clockworksaint

I hate Puffin crossings

I've said it before, but I hate Puffin crossings. While claiming to be user-friendly they are anything but. Their use is an exercise in doubt and frustration.

Procedure:
  • Press the button. Nothing happens.
  • Press the button several more times in frustration. After a second or two, an unlabeled red panel will illuminate.
  • Wait to cross.
  • Nothing happens.
  • Discover the mystery red panel has gone off again.
  • Press the button again and stand in the centre of the camera's field of view. You are probably now blocking the pavement and have a poor view of the road.
  • Watch the panel by your side for the red or green man. If it's dark, you'll be so dazzled by them that you can't see the road. On more than one crossing I've encountered, you will be facing away from the flow of traffic you wish to cross.
  • Wait ages.
  • Green man illuminates.
  • Start crossing.
  • You now have no feedback whatsoever as to how long you have to cross. A camera is supposed to watch you cross and not allow traffic to proceed until you're done, but you have no way to know if this is working. Since the ones to detect if you're at the kerb don't work very well, I don't really trust this one either. There is no flashing amber phase for the cars.

I really get the impression they were designed by somebody with very good intentions and a magical understanding of technology, and with no user testing that wasn't under ideal conditions. I tried to search for more information about them, and found council workers bemoaning the lack of an education campaign to explain them. This strikes me as getting it backwards. User-friendly systems should not require you to read a manual! If it isn't intuitive to use and predictable in behaviour, it's not user-friendly.
  • Why don't they respond to your button-press instantly? Regular Pelican crossings manage to.
  • Why has the "WAIT" light been replaced by an unlabeled red panel?
  • Why, when the environment is such a pressing concern, have the needs of motorists been prioritised over those of pedestrians?
  • Why is the camera zone and area from which you can observe the lights more than a pace back from the edge of the road?
  • Why is the system used in areas where space constraints mean that the lights are positioned where it is impossible to watch both them and the road?
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