In case of an emergency, look for the red window

Milan Metro emergency directions in 2016. Image credit: Roberto Casati
Milan Metro emergency directions in 2016. Image credit: Roberto Casati






On Milan Green Line Metro, november 2016.

The time will come, you have act in an emergency. Quick, what does the panel say? Text is too long, go for the picture! Quick! Pwerful visual language!

Here is what the picture means: top, pull the emergency handle down. Middle, open the case with the door-opening handle (in red). Bottom, pull the doors open. Further bottom, evacuate.

Hey, not so fast. Notice how the shapes in Middle and Bottom are basically the same. The case of the door-opening handle looks almost exactly like the doors to be opened. You are surely entitiled to infer from Midlle that you have to find a way out by pushing the window pane of the door.

Last but not least, all the shapes are air-du-temps, rounded-angles rectangular smartphones. The computer metaphor is so strong, it also affects Top, where the handle system looks like a desktop PC. (Mind it, “handle”: why not use the powerful root, “hand”?)

So this is how I read it.

Top: here begins the story of the computer.

Arrow down, we move from red-screen desktop to red-screen smartphones (Middle).

Arrow down, choose between two cellphones (Bottom: actually, a step back from smartphones).

Further bottom: time to take a ride on a merry-go-round. Mind the inverted step.

Bob Noorda, R.I.P.


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