Once I found myself in the dubious position of Customer Assistant at a university computer center. We had three computers that were used for students to sign up for email accounts. Signs were on all the walls, in and out of the computer lab, that read "Email Account Setup This Way" and pointed toward these three computers. Still, every day, two or three people would ask us where to sign up for an email account.

Frustrated, I created a seven step sign in large letters, detailing the exact procedure to follow in order to get to these computers:

How to Sign Up for an Email Account

  1. Look at the other end of the room from where you are standing.
  2. Notice the computers labeled "Email Account Setup."
  3. Go to one of them.
  4. Sit down at it.
  5. Fill out the form you see in the Netscape browser with your relevant information.
  6. Hit "Submit."
  7. Remember your username and password.

One day, soon after putting this sign up, an older man came in with his daughter. He walked up, started to speak, and then noticed the sign. He read it, looked over his shoulder, turned back, read some more, looked over his shoulder again, conversed quietly with his daughter, read a bit more, then walked up to the window and asked, "Where do we sign up for an email account?"