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Two Examples of Doing Things Well

   April 25th, 2012

I don't post nearly enough instances of Things Done Well (check out Walking Paper for lots of examples), but here are two things I saw recently that deserve attention:

Thing One: Ramp-In-Stairs
What I like about this is that they were designed together, from the start, and not only look nice, but (presumably) work well too. Much better than having a magnificent grand staircase, then a rickety wooden ramp up the side, or worse, a sign saying "ramp access around the back."

stairs with ramp built in

It's similar to deliberately designing websites and catalogs that look good and work well on multiple browsers at multiple screen resolutions. The best approach, I think, is starting from the ground up with responsive web design (à la Canton (MI) Library, à la One-Pager), instead of trying to backward-hack mobile-compatibility in after the fact, or just tacking a mobile-friendly site on in parallel to your main website.

Thing Two: Domino's Engine Noises
So apparently, Domino's delivers pizza via scooter in the Netherlands, but the scooters were so quiet that cyclists couldn't hear them. To help prevent accidents, Domino's added a "motor" sound to the scooters - but instead of just a typical engine noise, they had fun with it:

[video link]

Awesome, because it not only serves the purpose of an audible warning, but it's also extremely well-done audible advertising - it's funny, attention-getting, memorable, and shows an unexpectedly playful side of an otherwise perhaps impersonal company.

When libraries start delivering items to people via scooters, this would be a great thing to try - the engine noise could be "vrrrlibrarylibrarylibrary BOOKS librarylibrarylibrarylibrary DVDs librarylibrary..."

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5 Responses to “Two Examples of Doing Things Well”

  1. Mir_B Says:

    Either my brain is out of gear, or you didn’t actually say where that beautiful ramp/staircase is…

  2. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Mir_B: sorry, I didn’t. From the comments of the WIN blog, it looks like it’s the Robson Square building in Vancouver, BC.

  3. Kaylin Says:

    It’s a good idea but I think I’d be too clumsy to navigate those stairs without overthinking it.

  4. Philip Willems Says:

    Hi Brian,

    About the ramp, I wished I had seen this picture sooner. We are planning a new librarybuilding (a combined public and academic library, a first in the Netherlands as far as I know) and we had a discussion about the stairs a few weeks ago. Now we get a grand staircase and an elavator for the disabbled. This would be a great entry for the library.
    About the scooter. It was on the news in the Netherlands. The scooter is an electric scooter, that is why it makes no noise. The pizza-guys have a very bad rep over here. Because they drive like crazy. So they hope the bit of humor will decrease their bad reputation.

  5. Philip Willems Says:

    Addendum on the pizza. You will NEVER see a pizza-guy stopping for a red traffic light. Nor bicyclists (especially in Amsterdam).