Category Archives: Design

Cleanse up your online reputation

Cleanse up your online reputation

 

What can you do if you need to clean up your internet presence for a job search? Plenty. We’ve outlined each important step that every job seeker should take. You’ll learn how to uncover search results, remove negative content and develop a positive online presence.

But make no mistake: It’s not easy to manage your online reputation. In the next sections we’ll break down several strategies to give you a clean slate and a great reputation.

 

Start Early

If you’ve just entered the employment market, you may be eager to rush out and apply for jobs right away.Slow down. Consider your online reputation first.

 

Recruiters and hiring managers will consider your online presence. So if your reputation isn’t up to snuff, employers will take one look at your online reputation and run.

 

Before you pound the pavement, improve your online presence. But remember this: it takes time and effort to clean up a messy reputation. However, you’ll always see a return on your investment.

 

Potential employers may not initially check applicants’ online reputations, but they may eventually do so before making an offer.

 

Google Yourself

 

Employers will turn to Google to assess your online reputation. That’s why it’s so important to know what they’re likely to find. Here are some quick takeaways from our article about how to Google yourself:

 

Is it attractive to employers, or could it cause a problem?

 

Take note of any results that match you, both positive and negative.

Be sure to check out the first few pages (30-40 results) in Google.

 

List your active profiles as well as any dead ones where you haven’t posted in years. It could be embarrassing if a potential employer finds an old gaming profile you started in high school. If you find things that you don’t like, log in and update or delete old accounts.

 

You should also examine social media profiles to see how they can be viewed publicly. Most have the option to view a public timeline or offer a “view as” option so you can see how others view your profile.

 

It’s critical to make note of other people who share your name. They can seriously influence your search results and may confuse potential employers. If you share a name with a criminal, porn star, or other unsavory character, you may have trouble landing a job. Make sure you use an up-to-date photo in all of your professional profiles to help employers suss out which ones belong to you. You can also attempt to drown out the imposters with positive results that are relevant to you (more on that later).

 

Look for Red Flags

 

First and foremost, you’ll want to put out the fires. While it’s important to develop a positive online reputation, the first thing you need to do is clean up the bad stuff. Employers are on the hunt for reasons to dismiss your application, so don’t give them any.

Red flags can include:

Embarrassing or inappropriate photos

Negative or inappropriate language or strong opinions

Complaints about current or former employers

Poor grammar or spelling

Association with negative characters

References to illegal activity, drinking, or drug use

Legal challenges

Inconsistencies between your resume and online presence

Any indication that a candidate lacks maturity or good judgement

You must take action if your search results have any of those red flags. Do your best to delete what you control, remove things if you can or bury what you can’t clean up.

 

Don’t Go Nuclear

 

Some job seekers decide that their online presence will be too difficult to clean up so they take the nuclear option. They delete their social media accounts, change their last names and obliterate their online identity.

 

While that approach can disassociate your name from negative content, it’s far more likely to make employers suspicious. Most will wonder why you have no presence online – and they may even question if you have something to hide.

 

But more importantly, it leaves you with a blank slate. That might sound appealing, but it’s actually dangerous. It means there’s nothing to hold back damaging content should something surface. It’s far better to develop a mostly positive reputation with a few blemishes than to have nothing at all.

 

Further, a good online reputation isn’t just about cleansing the negative. It’s also important to accentuate the positive. If you delete your entire internet presence, you will give up control of your online reputation as well as your ability to connect. Remember that you can positively interact with recruiters, hiring managers, companies, and others in your network.

Remove Negative Results

 

Once you know what you’re up against, you’ll need to remove search results from Google if you can. That’s a piece of cake to do on websites, blogs or profiles that you control. However, you may meet resistance if you need to remove content from third party websites.

 

Take charge of your content

 

If you’re dealing with comments, posts, or photos that you’ve put up yourself, just log in and delete them. It’s best to completely remove content rather than hide it behind privacy settings. You should also clean up your friends and connections, and review your likes, comments, shares and follows.

 

Lock down your privacy

 

Review your privacy settings, and make posts and photos available to friends only. You may even consider filtering your friends into different audiences for different posts. But remember that everything can potentially become public.

 

Ask friends for help

 

It’s trickier to remove negative results that other people have shared. Ask friends to take down content that looks unprofessional. Mention that you’re applying for jobs so they’ll be more likely to act quickly for you. If they can’t or won’t, remove the tags and delete the content from your wall.

 

Politely request removal

 

Blogs or websites may rank higher on search engines and cause more damage to your reputation. Negative articles and bad reviews can really come back to haunt you and can have potential employers running for the hills. To make matters worse, some website owners will not change or take down content willingly. Tread lightly, be polite, and explain how the content is could hurt your employability. Do not get caught up in demands, and definitely don’t threaten to sue.

 

Get legal help if necessary

 

If a gentle approach doesn’t work, you may need to call in some help. Some content is illegal by law. For example, Google may remove sensitive personal information or copyrighted content. Online defamation may be worth pursuing legally, but be careful. You may in fact call attention to the content that you want to clean up.

 

If you can’t delete embarrassing content completely, don’t worry. You still have options. Even if negative search results persist, it’s entirely possible to bury them with positive content. In most cases, the best course of action is to push down negative search results where nobody will find them.

 

Push down results with positive content

 

Let’s face it: it’s usually not possible to delete negative results. However, you can still clean up your online reputation. How? Build a positive brand to push down negative search results on Google. You’ll not only develop a great first impression for recruiters, but you’ll also hold back future negative press. Here are some techniques you can use to do just that.

 

Be a real person online

 

It sounds silly, but the best way to establish a positive online reputation is to be active, and be yourself. Use your real name, fill out your social profiles with legitimate information, and use a professional head shot that shows your face.

 

Get your own domain name

 

A personal website domain usually costs about $15 per year or less to register. You’ll show that you’re serious about developing a professional brand, and you’ll improve your internet presence.

 

Link to your positive results

 

If you found positive results on Google, make sure you link to them. Targets to consider include your portfolio, positive news stories, videos, and more. Link to them on your website, blog, LinkedIn, and anywhere else you find relevant. You’ll show employers (and Google) that these results are important to you.

 

Create a well informed blog

 

You don’t have to write weekly essays, but you should develop a blog that shows off your expertise. A blog is an excellent platform to offer commentary on topics that you care about. You’ll show employers that you’re informed, vocal and that you care about what’s happening within your industry.

 

Establish a social media presence

 

\If you’re not already on professional and social networks online, now is the time to start. Sign up for LinkedIn, Facebook, Cameron Clokie Twitter, and other social media sites where you can build your personal brand, connect with others, and share links that reflect positively on you.

 

Be professional online

 

Show employers that you’re a mature, intelligent candidate. Use proper grammar, be respectful of others, and avoid getting into arguments.

 

Become active in your community

 

Volunteer and reach out in your local community, connect with industry influencers, and be publicly active online. Just be sure that your activity is positive and doesn’t throw up any red flags. Back up your activities with photos, posts and other online evidence of your involvement. Connect with influential organizations and associations as well as influencers in your community, and participate in industry conversations on social media and in active networks.

 

Showcase your skills and interests

 

Make videos on YouTube, post photos on Flickr, link to accomplishments and interests on Pinterest. Use social accounts to point to what you do best and make sure that employers can find them.

 

Use LinkedIn effectively

 

Don’t just sign up and connect with a few people, really use LinkedIn. Share links to your work, join communities, reach out to new contacts. Don’t forget to ask for recommendations as well: these act as virtual references that hiring managers and recruiters love to check out.

 

Support your resume

 

Employers are often looking to make sure that what you’ve shared on your resume lines up with your online life, so it helps to leave evidence that you are really doing what you say you’re doing. Add jobs to LinkedIn and Facebook, post photos, links to events, recommendations, and any other indications that your life on your resume accurately reflects your life online.

 

It may seem like a lot of work to build a great online reputation, and it is. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Start small, and take one step at a time to clean up negative or neutral results and replace them with a positive results.

 

Build a Strong Online Presence

So you’ve filtered out negative results and promoted positive content. But keep in mind that you’re still not done. You’ll need to continue to invest time and effort to keep your internet presence clean. That’s why so many people hire online reputation management services to do the work for them. Don’t throw away your hard work by neglecting your online reputation once you’re happy with it.

 

How to Choose an ORM CompanyRead the Article

 

Here are a few more tips to maintain a squeaky clean online reputation.

 

Watch what you share on social media You should only need to clean up your reputation once. After that, put a filter on your posts to prevent future issues. Think about how your boss, grandmother, or children would feel about what you plan to share.

Ways to clean up your online reputation

Ways to clean up your online reputation

What can you do if you need to clean up your internet presence for a job search? Plenty. We’ve outlined each important step that every job seeker should take. You’ll learn how to uncover search results, remove negative content and develop a positive online presence.

But make no mistake: It’s not easy to manage your online reputation. In the next sections we’ll break down several strategies to give you a clean slate and a great reputation.

Start Early

If you’ve just entered the employment market, you may be eager to rush out and apply for jobs right away.Slow down. Consider your online reputation first.

Recruiters and hiring managers will consider your online presence. So if your reputation isn’t up to snuff, employers will take one look at your online reputation and run.

Before you pound the pavement, improve your online presence. But remember this: it takes time and effort to clean up a messy reputation. However, you’ll always see a return on your investment.

Potential employers may not initially check applicants’ online reputations, but they may eventually do so before making an offer.

Google Yourself

Employers will turn to Google to assess your online reputation. That’s why it’s so important to know what they’re likely to find. Here are some quick takeaways from our article about how to Google yourself:

Is it attractive to employers, or could it cause a problem?

Take note of any results that match you, both positive and negative.

Be sure to check out the first few pages (30-40 results) in Google.

List your active profiles as well as any dead ones where you haven’t posted in years. It could be embarrassing if a potential employer finds an old gaming profile you started in high school. If you find things that you don’t like, log in and update or delete old accounts.

You should also examine social media profiles to see how they can be viewed publicly. Most have the option to view a public timeline or offer a “view as” option so you can see how others view your profile.

It’s critical to make note of other people who share your name. They can seriously influence your search results and may confuse potential employers. If you share a name with a criminal, porn star, or other unsavory character, you may have trouble landing a job. Make sure you use an up-to-date photo in all of your professional profiles to help employers suss out which ones belong to you. You can also attempt to drown out the imposters with positive results that are relevant to you (more on that later).

Look for Red Flags

First and foremost, you’ll want to put out the fires. While it’s important to develop a positive online reputation, the first thing you need to do is clean up the bad stuff. Employers are on the hunt for reasons to dismiss your application, so don’t give them any.

Red flags can include:

Embarrassing or inappropriate photos

Negative or inappropriate language or strong opinions

Complaints about current or former employers

Poor grammar or spelling

Association with negative characters

References to illegal activity, drinking, or drug use

Legal challenges

Inconsistencies between your resume and online presence

Any indication that a candidate lacks maturity or good judgement

You must take action if your search results have any of those red flags. Do your best to delete what you control, remove things if you can or bury what you can’t clean up.

Don’t Go Nuclear

Some job seekers decide that their online presence will be too difficult to clean up so they take the nuclear option. They delete their social media accounts, change their last names and obliterate their online identity.

While that approach can disassociate your name from negative content, it’s far more likely to make employers suspicious. Most will wonder why you have no presence online – and they may even question if you have something to hide.

But more importantly, it leaves you with a blank slate. That might sound appealing, but it’s actually dangerous. It means there’s nothing to hold back damaging content should something surface. It’s far better to develop a mostly positive reputation with a few blemishes than to have nothing at all.

Further, a good online reputation isn’t just about cleansing the negative. It’s also important to accentuate the positive. If you delete your entire internet presence, you will give up control of your online reputation as well as your ability to connect. Remember that you can positively interact with recruiters, hiring managers, companies, and others in your network.

Remove Negative Results

Once you know what you’re up against, you’ll need to remove search results from Google if you can. That’s a piece of cake to do on websites, blogs or profiles that you control. However, you may meet resistance if you need to remove content from third party websites.

Take charge of your content

If you’re dealing with comments, posts, or photos that you’ve put up yourself, just log in and delete them. It’s best to completely remove content rather than hide it behind privacy settings. You should also clean up your friends and connections, and review your likes, comments, shares and follows.

Lock down your privacy

Review your privacy settings, and make posts and photos available to friends only. You may even consider filtering your friends into different audiences for different posts. But remember that everything can potentially become public.

Ask friends for help

It’s trickier to remove negative results that other people have shared. Ask friends to take down content that looks unprofessional. Mention that you’re applying for jobs so they’ll be more likely to act quickly for you. If they can’t or won’t, remove the tags and delete the content from your wall.

Politely request removal

Blogs or websites may rank higher on search engines and cause more damage to your reputation. Negative articles and bad reviews can really come back to haunt you and can have potential employers running for the hills. To make matters worse, some website owners will not change or take down content willingly. Tread lightly, be polite, and explain how the content is could hurt your employability. Do not get caught up in demands, and definitely don’t threaten to sue.

Get legal help if necessary

If a gentle approach doesn’t work, you may need to call in some help. Some content is illegal by law. For example, Google may remove sensitive personal information or copyrighted content. Online defamation may be worth pursuing legally, but be careful. You may in fact call attention to the content that you want to clean up.

If you can’t delete embarrassing content completely, don’t worry. You still have options. Even if negative search results persist, it’s entirely possible to bury them with positive content. In most cases, the best course of action is to push down negative search results where nobody will find them.

Push down results with positive content

Let’s face it: it’s usually not possible to delete negative results. However, you can still clean up your online reputation. How? Build a positive brand to push down negative search results on Google. You’ll not only develop a great first impression for recruiters, but you’ll also hold back future negative press. Here are some techniques you can use to do just that.

Be a real person online

It sounds silly, but the best way to establish a positive online reputation is to be active, and be yourself. Use your real name, fill out your social profiles with legitimate information, and use a professional head shot that shows your face.

Get your own domain name

A personal website domain usually costs about $15 per year or less to register. You’ll show that you’re serious about developing a professional brand, and you’ll improve your internet presence.

Link to your positive results

If you found positive results on Google, make sure you link to them. Targets to consider include your portfolio, positive news stories, videos, and more. Link to them on your website, blog, LinkedIn, and anywhere else you find relevant. You’ll show employers (and Google) that these results are important to you.

Create a well informed blog

You don’t have to write weekly essays, but you should develop a blog that shows off your expertise. A blog is an excellent platform to offer commentary on topics that you care about. You’ll show employers that you’re informed, vocal and that you care about what’s happening within your industry.

Establish a social media presence

\If you’re not already on professional and social networks online, now is the time to start. Sign up for LinkedIn, Facebook, Cameron Clokie Twitter, and other social media sites where you can build your personal brand, connect with others, and share links that reflect positively on you.

Be professional online

Show employers that you’re a mature, intelligent candidate. Use proper grammar, be respectful of others, and avoid getting into arguments.

Become active in your community

Volunteer and reach out in your local community, connect with industry influencers, and be publicly active online. Just be sure that your activity is positive and doesn’t throw up any red flags. Back up your activities with photos, posts and other online evidence of your involvement. Connect with influential organizations and associations as well as influencers in your community, and participate in industry conversations on social media and in active networks.

Showcase your skills and interests

Make videos on YouTube, post photos on Flickr, link to accomplishments and interests on Pinterest. Use social accounts to point to what you do best and make sure that employers can find them.

Use LinkedIn effectively

Don’t just sign up and connect with a few people, really use LinkedIn. Share links to your work, join communities, reach out to new contacts. Don’t forget to ask for recommendations as well: these act as virtual references that hiring managers and recruiters love to check out.

Support your resume

Employers are often looking to make sure that what you’ve shared on your resume lines up with your online life, so it helps to leave evidence that you are really doing what you say you’re doing. Add jobs to LinkedIn and Facebook, post photos, links to events, recommendations, and any other indications that your life on your resume accurately reflects your life online.

It may seem like a lot of work to build a great online reputation, and it is. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Start small, and take one step at a time to clean up negative or neutral results and replace them with a positive results.

Build a Strong Online Presence

So you’ve filtered out negative results and promoted positive content. But keep in mind that you’re still not done. You’ll need to continue to invest time and effort to keep your internet presence clean. That’s why so many people hire online reputation management services to do the work for them. Don’t throw away your hard work by neglecting your online reputation once you’re happy with it.

How to Choose an ORM CompanyRead the Article

Here are a few more tips to maintain a squeaky clean online reputation.

Watch what you share on social media You should only need to clean up your reputation once. After that, put a filter on your posts to prevent future issues. Think about how your boss, grandmother, or children would feel about what you plan to share.

iStock_000017253232_Large

Designing an Eco-Friendly Home

In one of our earlier posts we talked about the way Melaleuca.com uses YouTube to promote a lifestyle of green living. In so many words, green living consists of doing everyday things that benefit the environment.

When it comes to designing an environmentally friendly home, there are really two parts. First, is the construction design itself. Is your home outfitted with energy-efficient windows and doors? Is it well insulated to cut down on energy costs? Was it constructed using recycled materials?

Many of us end up purchasing and living in homes that were built long before we showed up, without our input. We can choose to do an eco-friendly remodel, but that can be very expensive. However, there are ways we can re-design our existing home to help protect the environment without breaking the bank.

Here are a few, relatively inexpensive tips for designing a green home:

1. Recycling. Whether you live in a community that provides recycling pick-up or you have to pay for the service/so it yourself, one great thing you can do is set up a recycling station or stations in your house. Head to a hardware or office supply store to pick up a few blue bins for just a few bucks. Place these bins in areas where you throw away a lot of recyclable material. Office spaces are great because of all the paper waste, and kitchens are ideal due to the cardboard cereal boxes, plastic milk cartons, etc. By getting in the habit of recycling as much as you can at home, you will be doing your part to help keep the environment clean.

2. Lowering your thermostat. There are “smart thermostats” these days, but you don’t really need one to help the environment. By manually lowering your thermostat a few degrees in the winter and raising it a few degrees in the summer, you will save quite a bit of energy—which is great for Mother Earth but also for your wallet.

3. Reusable shopping bags. Buy a few of these bags, which nowadays are made from recycled material, and keep a few in your car. There’s no need to use plastic bags at the grocery store. They’re flimsy, anyway.

4. Avoid chemicals. Do a quick check of all the household products you have, from cleaners to soaps. Get rid of stuff that contains toxic chemical like bleach and sulphates, which when washed down the drain can damage waterways and harm the environment.

Sources: Melaleuca Idaho Falls, Huffington Post

3d small people - global communication

Too Human (Not) to Fail

by Lena Groeger ProPublica, June 8, 2016, 8 a.m.

A coffee grinder that only works when the lid is on. An electrical plug that only fits into an outlet one way. Fire doors that stay unlocked in an emergency.

Lots of everyday objects are designed to prevent errors — saving clumsy and forgetful humans from our own mistakes or protecting us from worst-case scenarios. Sometimes designers make it impossible for us to mess up, other times they build in a backup plan for when we inevitably do. But regardless, the solution is baked right into the design.

This concept has a lot of names: defensive design, foolproof, mistake proof, fail-safe. None is as delightful as the Japanese poka-yoke.

The idea of the poka-yoke (which means literally, “avoiding mistakes”) is to design something in such a way that you couldn’t mess it up even if you tried. For example, most standard USB cables can only be plugged into a computer the correct way. Not to say you would never attempt to plug it in upside down, but if you do, it simply won’t fit. On the other hand, it’s easy to reverse the + and – ends of a battery when you replace them in your TV remote. The remote’s design provides other clues about the correct way to insert the batteries (like icons), but it’s still physically possible to mess it up. Not so with the USB cable. It only fits one way, by design.

Many consumer coffee grinders are another example of a design that physically prevents you from messing up. Even if you wanted to, you could NOT chop your fingers on the blade, because the “on” switch for the grinder is triggered by closing the lid (as opposed to a blender, which leaves its blades easily accessible to stray fingers).

Foolproof design can also save your life. The mechanical diver’s watch is designed with a bezel that spins in only one direction. It functions as a simple timer that a diver can use to know how much oxygen is left in the tank.

In a blog post about resilient design, designer Steven Hoober describes how this smart design can prevent disaster:

If the ring were to get bumped, changing its setting, having it show less time might be inconvenient, but its going the other way and showing that you have more time than you do might kill you. You don’t even need to know how it works. It just works.

Foolproof measures can be found throughout web design (although perhaps without the life-saving part). Ever fill out an online form incorrectly and only found out because you could not progress to the next step? That’s a conscious decision by a designer to prevent an error. In this case, from Yahoo, it’s even a chance to insert a little humor:

Sometimes, design cannot prevent you from messing up (we humans somehow always figure out a way to do things wrong). But it can still make it harder for you to do the wrong thing. This type of design is not exactly foolproof — more like fool-resistant.

Child-resistant safety caps on medicine bottles, for example, keep kids from accidentally overdosing. A water dispenser that makes you push an extra button or pull up a lever to dispense hot water makes it harder for you to accidentally scald yourself. Neither of these designs are as foolproof as the coffee grinder. But they do put an additional step between you (or your child) and disaster.

We see these features quite often on our computers. Most of us are familiar with the “Are you sure?” messages before you empty the Trash or the “Do you want to…” before you replace a file with another one by the same name. These alerts certainly don’t prevent us from making a mistake (in fact, we probably ignore them most of the time), but their purpose is to slow us down.

Designers have also come up with more elaborate confirmation steps. For instance, Gmail will detect whether you’ve used the word “attached” in an email you’ve written and, if you try to send it without an attachment, will ask you if you meant to include one. Github, a popular website used by software developers to collaborate on code, forces you to type the full name of the project in order to delete it.

Most of these examples work by forcing your attention to the task at hand, breaking your autopilot behavior and make you really consider what you are about to do. Design details don’t make it impossible to screw up, but they certainly make it a little bit harder.

Still other designs revolve around keeping your information secure. Your computer may prompt you for a login if you’ve left it idle for a few minutes, preventing someone else from seeing or stealing sensitive information. Smartphones often do the same thing, requiring a passcode to re-enter. Some web browsers will prevent you from downloading certain files, and your computer’s operating system may ask you if you are SURE you want to open a program you got from the internet. Connect a smartphone to a new computer and it may ask you to confirm that this computer can be trusted. These security measures don’t prevent you from doing dangerous things, but try to prevent a potential horrible outcome due to careless mistakes.

Let’s say it’s too late to prevent the error: the mistake has occurred, the failure has happened. What now? This is where fail-safe design comes in. Fail-safe design prevents failure from becoming absolute catastrophe.

In some cases, it’s the system (or environment) that has failed. In the event of a fire, fire doors are required by law to fail unlocked, so that people can escape a burning building. On the other hand, if you need to protect state secrets or cash in a bank vault, you’d probably want a fail-secure system for those doors, which would fail locked.

Circuit breakers cut the power if an electrical current gets too high. Elevators have brakes and other fail-safe systems that engage if the cable breaks or power goes out, keeping the elevator from plummeting to its passengers’ death.

In other instances, it’s our own human error that the fail-safe system is designed for. SawStop is a table-saw safety technology that automatically shuts off a spinning saw blade if it comes in contact with flesh. The blade has a sensor that can detect whether it’s a piece of wood or your finger, using the same property (electrical conductivity) that makes a touch screen sensitive to your bare fingers but not to your gloves. In less than one thousandth of a second, the saw blade will shut off, giving you in the worst case only a small nick (rather than removing your thumb). Don’t believe this could work so fast? Watch this video:

Some industrial paper cutters are designed to shut off if they detect motion nearby (presumably a hand getting too close to the blade). Similarly, many automatic garage doors will stop closing if they sense something, or someone, in the way.

Another well-known fail-safe measure is the dead man’s switch. The dead man’s switch kicks in when a human in charge lets go of the controls — or dies, as the name implies. In the event of an accident (say, a train operator has a heart attack), the dead man’s switch can prevent harm to all the passengers by stopping the train.

This actually happened a few years ago on the New York City subway, when an MTA employee had a heart attack on the G train. His hands lost grip of the controls, the brakes were activated, and the train slowed to a stop.

The dead man’s switch is also a common device in lawn mowers and other equipment that require you to continually hold down a lever or handle to operate. As soon as you let go, the motor stops. U.S. law actually specifies that all walk-behind lawn mowers come equipped with such a switch that stops the blade within 3 seconds of a user releasing her grip.

In software, absolute catastrophe often means losing your work, your files, that long heartfelt email you worked so hard on. So many fail-safe designs revolve around letting you undo actions or automatically saving work in the background as you go along. Auto-saving Google Docs are a vast improvement over other word-processing programs that can lose hours of work with a single crash or loss of power. Web browsers like Chrome can restore all your tabs if you accidentally close a window (even if you’d rather declare tab bankruptcy).

Finally, we have the last-ditch, eleventh-hour design solution to keep you safe from the worst of the worst: The backup.

A backup parachute is perhaps the most dramatic of all backup devices, but many things in the real world are designed to have similar built-in redundancies. Cars have two sets of brake circuits (not to mention a spare tire). Airplanes have multiple redundant control systems. Emergency stairwells have lights that work on battery power if the building’s electricity goes out. On computers, backing up your photos or making a copy of a file before editing it is just common sense.

In the end, nothing humans build or even touch will ever be free from error. Luckily, designers work tirelessly to save us from our mistakes. And in many cases, we don’t have to know how the poka-yoke works. It just works.

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.