Interaction with the artwork has proved annoyingly problematic. I did not expect users to find a telephone dial difficult to use. I should have predicted this given the technology is now 30 years out of date. Many younger people have never ‘dialed’ in their lives.  I should have taken account of the fact that when it was invented the British Post Office precursor of General PO produced short information films showing people where to stick their finger in the dial mechanism. In my box the knock-on effect of user error created a perfect storm of system failures. The technology of the 1930’s, the user and software of 2018 struggled to come to terms with differing expectations of system speed and responsiveness causing much bad-tempered slamming down of handsets and walking away moaning about having heard nothing.

My predicament is that I want the telephone box to continue to remain a bit of an enigma or a mystery to those that encounter it. If I were to ‘prop it up’ it with copious operating instructions some of the mystery would be undermined. It would become an arcade game or a gadget. Something to be solved or competed against. I am hoping to provide the somewhat debased concept of ‘an experience’, as something the user can discover for themselves. Obviously this throws up issues of usability on the assumption that the less information the user is given, the more errors they are likely to make and the less satisfactory the experience will be. Conversely too much information overwhelms the user with the same result. The unwillingness to wait for things to happen, analogue electro mechanical technology being so much slower than digital, was initially a problem, requiring the judicious use of audible messaging such as ‘please hold the line’ or wait ‘3 seconds.’ That said, even when they are given instructions users tend to ignore them, so I have reconciled myself to the inevitable slamming down of handsets. The time in rehearsal has helped solve some of these problems but by no means all.

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