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Recently on Twitter, Ben Simo posted an interesting photo of a set of road markings at the entrance to a driveway/car park etc.

Despite being a joke or rhetorical question my tester brain engaged immediately with the question posed by Ben and with the photograph presented.

After a minute or so of Logical Reasoning I’d reached my conclusion and was about to post a reply when I realised that the logical reasoning process all testers go through is different so why not share my own process with people in a blog post?

So here you go; this is mine:

  • Assumption: The lettering has been printed in correct orientation for the intended audience.
  • There is a road running horizontally along the bottom of the image, based on the white “central divider” line in the road. I will name this “road”
  • There seems to be an entrance/exit to a driveway, road, car park etc based on the low kerb into the road, the parked white vehicle to the top-right of the image and the width of the entrance being wide enough for vehicles. I will name this “driveway”
  • The spacing of the lettering (or the angle the photo is taken from!) indicates that there are two ways for it to be read:
    • “Do Not Enter” and “Exit Only”
    • “Do Not Exit” and “Enter Only”
  • Both sets of sentences are in the same orientation, indicating that both are meant to be read together from the same viewpoint. If the sentences were meant to be read in isolation, one set of sentences would likely be rotated 180 degrees to be correctly oriented for each intended audience. This also suggests that the driveway is intended for traffic in one direction only.
  • If I was turning from the road into the driveway I’d see both sentences correctly whereas if I was pulling out of the driveway into the road the sentences would be upside-down and not easily readable to me, therefore if the sign has been printed correctly the intended audience is one who would be attempting to “enter” the driveway.
  • My conclusion is that the entrance/exit is meant to be used by people driving out of the driveway into the road. The sign is to tell people on the road not to enter the driveway.
  • To answer Ben’s question; from the perspective of the intended audience of the sign, this is an Exit.