Tammy Guy Design | Think Outside the Box, but Don’t Forget the Box Exists
Tammy, Guy, Liran, Design, Creative, Usability, UX, UI, User Interface, Consulting, Web design
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27 Jul Think Outside the Box, but Don’t Forget the Box Exists

Imagine if every time you walked into a McDonald’s the menu was different, the food was different, or the prices were different. If you had to relearn McDonald’s every time you walked in, it would be less attractive as a fast food restaurant. People rely on consistency and past experience for fast decision making. Inconsistencies cause delayed responses and, in some cases, unwanted errors.

McDonald’s lovers have learned the menu through frequent visits to different McDonald’s locations (same brand, different locations). Conversely, web users learn standard web behaviors by frequent visits to different websites (different brands and markets). The more consistency there is, the easier it is for users to find their way within a single website and to move from one website to another. Deviation in standards can cause delays for users or cause unwanted user behaviors, such as abandonment in favor of other companies. However, this does not mean that creativity should be banned or that reinvention of the wheel is no longer needed. After all, today’s Mercedes looks quite different from Karl Benz’s first gasoline automobile.

Restroom signs are fun examples of how creativity and consistency can coexist. Designers often take the familiar male and female symbols and propose their own creative interpretations, offering a unique look-and-feel to a universal symbol.

As long as it doesn’t interfere with the goal of the sign—i.e., providing a clear direction and organization—creative designs can offer great ways of uniquely conveying the message.

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