Previous page Turn page Next page

Which number is it?

Automobile title

(Title) Imagine that you are on the telephone with someone at the Department of Motor Vehicles. You are asked for your automobile title number. As you scan the title document for the number, you see a large number at the lower right side of the document. (See arrow.) You assume that this is the title number. However, upon closer examination, a warning label above the number says "NOT A TITLE NO."! (Not a title number) This warning label indicates that this large-sized number is quite often confused with the actual title number. The actual title number is at the top right corner of the document but is in a much smaller-sized print.

Design suggestion

Since the automobile title number on this document is the one people need to use, that number should be obvious enough so that it can be easily found. This could be done either by increasing the size of the actual title number or by using color or another characteristic to draw attention to it.

The number in large print which is NOT the title number and has no meaning or use to the automobile owner, could be made more inconspicuous by reducing its size. The number should also be labeled as to what it is rather than what it is not.

ID card

(ID Card) Suppose you are a new student at the university. You need to find your student ID number. You can not remember it so you look on your ID Card. There are 3 numbers. None of the numbers are labeled. Which is the student number?

Design suggestion

Similar to the previous example, the student ID number is probably the most frequently accessed number on the card. Therefore, the student number should be labeled and it should be the most prominent number on the card.

Table of contents

Home page

  Previous page Turn page Next page

Document title photo courtesy of Jim McDonald.
ID card photo and idea courtesy of Jean Magne.
Copyright © Michael J. Darnell 1998-2010. All rights reserved.