Just Terrible UI Design: This Freezer Control Dial

Shop owner Aaron Cohen runs Gracie’s Ice Cream, located in Somerville, Massachusetts. Cohen recently posted this photo to the shop’s Instagram with the following query:

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“Imagine you own an ice cream shop and the thermostat on your dipping cabinet, which is the freezer ice cream is dipped (scooped) out of, is set to 4, which is too warm, and you want to make the freezer colder. Are you setting this dial to 3 or to 5 to make the freezer colder? I asked the Gracie’s followers on Instagram earlier this year and there was lots of discussion.”

First off, if you own an ice cream shop, the stakes are high for this seemingly simple problem. Set it to warmer when you were shooting for colder, and you risk ruining an entire batch of product.

Secondly, what terrible, terrible design, as evinced by the confusion in the comments. Some people interpret the arrow to mean, “Turn the dial in this direction to make it colder.” Others interpret it as, “The arrow points in the direction of colder numbers.”

Additionally, temperature is something that we measure using numbers. Higher numbers mean higher temperature. So which is it here?

To top it all off, there’s not even a stationary indicator pointing to a number, confirming what number it’s actually set to. I guess we’re meant to assume 12 o’clock is the target point.

I think this could’ve been solved a million different ways. A blue-to-red gradient would’ve been elegant, but perhaps too pricey to manufacture (two colors rather than one). Use of icons like snowflakes or ice cubes, one on one end, three on the other. Or even just placing the words “cold” on one end and “colder” on the other.

How would you have solved it?

Source: core77

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