2777: Noise Filter
Title text: Party Mode also enables the feature, but reverses the slider.
This comic portrays a generalized, minimalist version of a search engine's front end. The engine helps the user find things (in this case, restaurants) that conform to user preferences. Preferences shown are hours of opening, mean of review scores, price range, and current noise level. All but "current noise level" are rendered less prominent by being drawn in gray, with various typical choices applied; the exception being marked for the reader's attention with a red-circled (and arrowed) overlay. The user, setting the parameters for their search, adjusts the slider to select the maximum tolerable noise level. Taking the slider for increasing noise tolerance past 100 db is eventually interpreted as "Any", or limitless, whatever this might mean for any given position past 100 but not yet at Any. The high range (the 'safe' noise threshold is 70 decibels or less) tells us that the person designing the tool (Randall) may be accustomed to loud restaurants, probably including some that have been getting louder over time, or not actually that familiar and going only by a rough idea of what is necessary and possible.
The caption's statement that the noise slider should automatically appear when the user reaches the age of 30 (ignoring the privacy concerns implicit in such a function) plays on the common perception that a person's ability to tolerate background noise while dining (or anywhere else) deteriorates with age. Such declines have been documented, linked to changes in the inner ear and associated nerves with aging, and can occur in the absence of other hearing-loss symptoms. The term "SPiN (Speech Perception in Noise) threshold" has been conceived to measure this loss. Other studies suggest that personality traits and gender, as well as age, contribute to declines in the ability to perceive speech in noise, so the trope is less precise than is indicated here, and in advertisements by health providers for hearing loss treatments.
The title text shows that Randall imagines a "Party Mode" which also includes this filter, but reversed. Those younger than 30 may wish to filter out places that are too quiet and restrained and won't already have a 'party atmosphere' upon their arrival.
The criteria checked for some of the filter's options can be presumed to have been provided in advance by those running the restaurant (e.g. opening times, though perhaps derived indirectly from other web-listings promoting the business) or its customers (user ratings being aggregated from various online review sites), but the current noise levels will probably require some form of real-time monitoring installed in the premises, with or without the complicity/knowledge of the owners. Efforts are being made in this area, some of which suggest that a real-time measurement of overall noise won't be all that helpful to a restaurant patron, since the noise at a suitably-engineered table likely will differ significantly from the background.
|This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.|
- [A representation of web-page or app-screen contents. Except where mentioned otherwise, all lines and fills are in muted half-tones.]
- [At the top, a search bar with the standard magnifying glass symbol and a word entered into the text field:] Restaurants
- [Below that, a horizontal rule as a section header, with a titular label centered over it:] Filters
- [Subsection title:] Hours
- [Three buttons, horizontally:]
- [Button:] Any
- [Button, selected, drawn in light blue and infilled with lighter blue:] Open now
- [Button:] Open at…
- [Subsection title:] Rating
- [Five buttons, horizontally, four with explicit star-rating ranges:]
- [Button, selected, in blue:] Any
- [Button:] ☆3+
- [Button:] ☆3.5+
- [Button:] ☆4+
- [Button:] ☆4.5+
- [The following subsection, alone, is entirely circled in a drawn red circle, with an additional red arrow pointing to it, and is all in the unmuted tones.]
- [Subsection title:]
- Current Noise Level
- [A horizontal slider-bar, with six marked and labeled positions along its length.]
- [Mark:] 60dB
- [Mark:] 70dB
- [Mark:] 80dB
- [Mark:] 90dB
- [Mark:] 100dB
- [Mark:] Any
- [The bar's 'slider' control is positioned between the two central marks, at approximately 85 dB.]
- [The slider itself is drawn in blue, and the bar is shaded blue in the section between its far left and the slider element to show the range of selections.]
- [Subsection title:] Price
- [Four buttons, with multiple-selection, horizontally:]
- [Button, selected, in blue:] $
- [Button, selected, in blue:] $$
- [Button:] $$$
- [Button:] $$$$
- [Caption below the panel:]
- This feature should automatically appear when you reach age 30.
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