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Auto ceiling lights

Front ceiling light My wife went on a business trip with some people. While trying to read a road map at night, they had difficulty determining how to turn on the front ceiling light in their rented mini van. See photo. There was no visible switch. They looked and felt for a switch, but couldn't find one. Then someone accidentally discovered that the light could be turned on by pressing on the lens of the light like one would press on a button. Perhaps the designer of the light was trying to avoid unsightly light switches!

Rear ceiling light They also had a problem turning on the ceiling light in the rear of the mini van. See photo. This light looked like the front ceiling light, so they tried pressing on the lens, but that didn't work. Perhaps they weren't pressing hard enough. They tried banging it with their fist! It still didn't work. Maybe the light was burned out. Later, someone discovered that the rear light wasn't burned out. The driver could turn it on with a switch on the dashboard!

This example is interesting because there are three problems. First, there is no obvious switch to turn on the front ceiling light. Most people do not expect to press on the lens to turn on a ceiling light. Second, the rear ceiling light which looked similar to the front light wasn't designed to be turned on by pressing on its lens. However, most people would assume that it would be turned on in the same way. And third, because people's natural tendency when a button doesn't work is to press it again, harder, the rear ceiling light could be damaged by pressing on it too hard in a frustrated attempt to turn it on.

Design Suggestion

A typical light switch on the front ceiling light would solve all three problems! If the front ceiling light had a typical switch, it would be obvious to know how to turn it on. Also people would not expect the rear ceiling light to work like the front ceiling light because they wouldn't see a switch on it. Finally, they wouldn't be likely to damage the rear ceiling light, because they wouldn't expect to press on the lens to turn it on.

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