Noise concerns on buses to usability

I love travelling by bus. I particularly enjoy the opportunity to read but the sound police should sometimes be introduced. It can be pretty annoying on the buses these days. Bring back the conductors but now give them the ability to sensor people who:

  • Use their mobile phone for long conversations

Isnt it frustrating when you have the typical conversation? "I'm on the bus" "I'll be there in 20 minutes" "Sorry I cant hear you, can you repeat", "I am at {clearly visible} landmark", "I can hardly hear you", "Pardon", "Yeah, yeah"

  • Have bad earphones

The tinny noises from bad earphones (notably Apple iPod earphones at high volume)  that mean you have to listen to your least favourite artist played at the same sound level of a chalkboard being scratched. Worse still some thrash metal, sound of a house falling down at 8am on a Monday morning.

Which brings me to my segway:

The use on radio of presenters for traffic reports. They are always high pitched an largely unintelligable. I was wondering if this means that the high pitched skewed noise is for the benefit of the listener or some mind virus (meme) that programs us to be more aware when information is presented in a different way.

Maybe a new usability standard should be to change the look when information is streamed as a different channel. Like when you are using a web site all background information (such as terms and conditions, help etc) should be grayed out and made available contextually. Data of specific types perhaps should always be presented in a certain font or style in the same way traffic is always spoken in that funny voice. Maybe buses should be more usable by cutting off conversations more than 2 minutes long. Or maybe I should just be more tolerant!

More of usability later thanks to Neal Cross, Technical Specialist in the Financial Industry for Microsoft in Sydney.