Poka-Yoke. This is a the Japanese phase for “mistake-proofing.” Basically, you design things so well and people cannot help but use them correctly. It prevents errors by design. Basically, awesome and practical design.
An everyday example of this is that diesel pumps are wider in diameter than gasoline pumps. . . so you cannot “mistakenly” put diesel in a gasoline car. Another example is might be charging your cellphone – but putting at cell phone in your shoes by the door, or in your bag. You cannot miss it. When I write sticky-notes to my wife, I put them on her iPhone. Cannot miss them.
Consultants can poka-yoke their work. Think about how to apply this to your work. When you give your client a presentation in pdf, it prevents them from changing it. When you draft a communication email for your client to copy/paste, it prevents mistakes (unless you make them).
There are tons of ways to poka-yoke your excel.
- Using drop-down menus, so you have to choose one of the choices
- Locking cells so people cannot mess with the formulas
- Hiding data pages so people cannot mess with them (right click, HIDE)
- Setting print area so it only prints what you want people to see
- Conditional formatting to highlight key values
Here is one of the most ANTI poka-yoke examples I have ever seen. Terrible design. This elevator as two buttons on it. Up and Down? No. . .
Medical emergency and UP
It looks exactly like the UP button. I am sure this poor design causes a lot of trouble, angst, and unnecessary “emergencies” all the time. Not cool, not poka-yoke.