If it already has a name, use it

UK train stations are a rich source of poorly-written and confusing signs. Take this label, spotted at Reading station.

‘Platform lighting controller’? That’ll be what the rest of us call a light switch.

I can’t think of a single situation where you’d ever describe this as a ‘platform lighting controller’, so why do so here? It just creates confusion.

I particularly like the helpful information beneath: ‘When the indictor [sic] is lit, platform lights are on.’ Spelling error aside, it’s worth knowing that I spotted this label while standing on the platform. So I expect it’s fairly obvious when the lights are on. It would be dark otherwise.

Complicated terminology makes things harder to understand. Unnecessary information detracts from the really important stuff. As labels go, this is a good example of how not to do it.

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