TM&Th blog
Jean-luc Doumont
Put your signs where I can see them

After several of my lectures on road signs at STC conferences,
attendees have come to me to share some of their experience
(read: frustration) with road signs. Besides everything that may
be wrong with the sign itself, a frequent lament is the position
of the sign with respect to the motorists' line of sight. I concur,
but readily acknowledge that some mishaps are just accidents:
I have seen stop signs knocked down on the ground or hidden
by fast-growing vegetation—surely this was not the intention
(which does not mean, of course, that the hazardous situation
should not be remedied). At times, however, the sign's position
is hard to explain by anything but negligence (or is it total lack
of common sense?), and the issue is not limited to road signs.

Just last week, as I was staying at a hotel near Washington, DC,
it took me several days to notice a sign placed in the shower.

Hidden sign

Visible sign

Clearly, this lack of attention on my part may have much to do
with the overwhelming number of notices of all sorts scattered
across a typical hotel room: procedure for accessing the Web,
TV channel guide, no-smoking reminder, satisfaction survey,
room-service menu, and the many notices about how to save
the environment (and save the hotel a lot of money) by reusing
towels and sheets. Yet it had more do to still with the position
of the sign inside the shower, directly behind the shower head.
I had to get down on my knees to be able to read what it said.

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