Congratulations to Harold Thimbleby who has won a #chi2013 best paper (on 7-segment displays)

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 23.34.32
— don’t use seven segment displays.

Harold’s paper “Reasons to Question Seven Segment Displays ” has been selected as a ‘Best of CHI award’ and will be presented on Tuesday 30 April 2013 at 2pm. There is a short video preview which you can watch here or you can watch the video in context with the other papers.

You can download a preprint copy of the paper here, the abstract is published below.

“Seven segment number displays are ubiquitous and popular. They are simple and familiar. They seem to make economic sense, and with only seven segments they require little wiring and electronics to support. They are cheap to buy and cheap to use; they make seemingly effective and unproblematic products.

This paper illustrates many examples of problematic uses of seven segment displays that could have been better managed or even avoided. More generally, the paper raises design questions and some solutions to be considered when designing numerical displays, and certainly before uncritically using seven segment displays. Although there are markets and applications where cost may be an overriding consideration, for safety critical and other dependable types of use (including general purpose devices that may sometimes be used for critical tasks) more legible alternatives than standard seven segment displays should be preferred.”

Glitch by Flickr user jpmartineau

See also
Thimbleby, H. (2011). don’t use 7-segment displays. Paper presented at the 25th BCS Conference on Human Computer Interaction (HCI-2011), Newcastle upon Tyne, July 2011.

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