Clockwise or counterclockwise? This freezer control dial is maddeningly confusing

Look at this dial that controls the temperature of an ice cream freezer Gracie's Ice Cream, in Somerville, Massachusetts.. If you want to make the freezer colder, do you rotate the dial clock wise or counter-clockwise

From Core 77:

[W]hat terrible, terrible design, as evinced by the confusion in the comments. Some people interpret the arrow to mean, "Turn the dial in this direction to make it colder." Others interpret it as, "The arrow points in the direction of colder numbers."

Additionally, temperature is something that we measure using numbers. Higher numbers mean higher temperature. So which is it here?

The commenters at Core 77 are typical of Internet forums: some say they know exactly what the dial means and are surprised that anyone would be confused, and others says they are confused by the dial and are surprised anyone would be confident.

  • "What is clear to me is that this is confusing and that I am surprised at the number of people so confident in their interpretation."
  • "It's completely clear to me: turn clock wise to increase the freezing temperature. Nothing confusing about this. As long as you are aware that you are dealing with a ice making machine and not with a room thermostat." [What does "increase the freezing temperature" mean?]
  • If the arrow is there to say 'turn this way to get colder' then why are the numbers even there? They would serve no purpose. Clearly, the arrow is to be taken in context with the numbers and is telling us which numbers are colder.
  • There's clearly an arrow on the knob indicating to turn the knob clockwise for colder and there appears to be a partially obscured marking near the 4….a better photo would be useful.
  • Except this could also be read as the arrow indicating that lower numbers are colder, which would make sense to many people because lower temperatures are… lower numbers.

See more stories about bad design on Boing Boing here.