Take your standard everyday analog clock. You wouldn’t think that a device that’s been around this long would have bugs in it, would you? I never really thought about it until I started teaching my son how to tell time.
Telling time is easy. You look at the hour hand. See what number it points to. That’s what o’clock it is. If it points to 7, it’s 7:00 o’clock. If it’s between two numbers, it’s between o’clocks. Halfway between 4 and 5? It’s half-past 4 o’clock. Almost at 11, but not quite? It’s almost 11 o’clock, but not quite. The hour hand tells you the time to within 10 or 15 minutes. Almost all the information on the clock is in the hour hand.
So which hand is more prominent? Not the hour hand, the minute hand. The minute hand is always the long one, which means it draws the eye more, and is easier to read. This is an interface bug. The most important information should be the most prominent.
I guess it’s just one of those things you don’t think about once you internalize it, like the way we Americans use a fork and knife. (Ever think about how often you have to change hands? Watch your own hands the next time you eat, you’ll be amazed how much time you spend moving forks and knives from hand A to hand B.)