I read this article to remind myself how people actually behave and how barriers are constantly being put up. I know that people like their own space and like to be in their little bubbles however I also know that design hasn’t allowed this to be easy for us. I discussed this morning the arm rest of an aeroplane chair as an example. So you go into an aeroplane whether you are on your own or not. And find a seat. Two or three seats are normally joined together A,B,C or D,E,F and they all have armrests. However if you don’t get there first how can you be sure to have an arm rest? The arm rests are not designed for 2 arms so this could immediately make you realise that the journey isn’t going to be as luxurious or as comfortable as you’d expected. So firstly the design that has been put there (the arm rest) is not valued by you when you cannot have it. And, the person who got the arm rest has just invaded your space even though youare entitled to that arm rest just as much as they are. But people don’t think enough on a huge scale, why should they give up the arm rest? That thought most likely doesn’t go through their head whilst they are actually invading your space with their chunky arm resting at your side.
So I wonder why this was designed this way…I also wonder why the two people can’t share that arm rest and both have an equally good/better journey.
Going to Your Happy Place
Whether people are confronted with a close talker or a bus-seat buddy, experts have identified that most people react with a similar set of evasive behaviors. In public spaces, people reliably try to keep as much distance between each other as possible, and most instinctively try to keep equidistant, like birds on a telephone wire, to permit each person the maximum amount of space. Two people in an elevator will stand in opposite corners; three people in public restrooms will insist on at least a one-stall buffer between each of them. People tend to avoid eye contact in crowded public situations; this helps to avoid intimacy and results in people’s thinking of each other not as human beings, but as inanimate features of the environment—much easier to ignore. Some try to create at least an approximation of physical boundaries by opening up a newspaper or book, which creates a separation between the reader and the rest of the crowd. On a crowded subway car, this gesture is like putting up a miniature wall. It’s even common for people to put bags or purses on their lap in an unconscious move to protect themselves and their space, or to close their eyes completely to create the illusion of psychological space. Some psychologists have even theorized that the popularity of iPods is due at least in part to people’s intense and innate desire to carve out a private zone for themselves.