Cars And The Rain, Breaking A Mental Model

I managed to not get lost on the way to class last night and arrived relatively unscathed. It was raining with the usual accompaniment of horrible traffic. I always wonder why when it rains here there is a seemingly great increase in the number of cars on the road. This might seem like a stupid question to ponder (and well it is) but since no one walks here, no one takes public transit, and there are the same amount of scooters on the road why the increase? This should be the study of someone’s Masters thesis at Tsing Hua I think.
When I am explaining a concept I like to use my own ineptitude to help explain a point.
I like to use the light switches in my house as a good example. I have lived in this same old house in Hsinchu for the past 3 years. In all that time I don’t think I have gone a day without pressing the wrong button to turn on the lights in a particular room. It’s a point of constant annoyance for me and jokes from others. Many of the light switches in my house are of the 2 switch variety – not unlike what I have grown up with in Canada. There is one key difference. In Canada the location of the button, top or bottom, consistently corresponded to a specific location. Up means on and the top most button means the light in front. In my Taiwan house the correlation is the opposite – hence I make many mistakes using the “interface”. It’s a simplistic example that seems to help introduce the idea of breaking a persons mental model of an interaction at your own peril.

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