While in the city looking for devices that are interactive I noticed the buttons on light poles that are supposed to trigger signal lights for crosswalks. My assumptions were completely wrong about how these buttons are used, or rather not used by the public.
I found anecdotally that these buttons are rarely if ever used, and if used they are pounded on like a dammit doll. Not like the kind gentleman in the photo gently pressing as if pressing the Pillsbury Dough-boy’s tummy.
No, people if they did use them they pounded on the buttons like their life depended on it. This generally took the longest amount of time.
But most people never even approached the button much less looked at the crosswalk sign and took mere seconds to decide if they were crossing yet or not. They simple glanced quickly at the traffic light above the intersection and then down the street to see if cars were coming. If there was no cars, they disregard the signs and quickly cross the road. Many people just looked at the person ahead of them or across the street from them to see if they were going and did whatever they did.
(This video was not filmed at the location I studied at 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue but you can get the idea of what is happening)
It is either a failure of the technology satisfy the needs of the population using it, i.e. no direct feedback that leads the public to think of the buttons as placebo buttons, or it is a failure of the enforcement of jaywalking laws or both.
Now I am not advocating for cops standing around harassing people for crossing the street, I mean people do have places to go, but much like elevators without a light in the button it seems like nothing is being done when the button is pressed. Crawford would call this a lack of feedback in the interaction.