Conceptual thinking in a prototype.

I am working on a prototype at the moment. It is so simple. It is a basic pole.

I want to use it to test people in captive environments where it will stand. The first test I am going to do is simply use it as a table. Somewhere people will gather around the pole to drink hot/cold drinks. The pole will also act as a sketch pad to gather thoughts and answers to questions written on it. The reason for this is to firstly attract people to the pole and allow them to engage with it, because it is not a normal table…it is new and unexpected in this captive space. Secondly I will be observing how people interact with each other around this pole and compare the results to a normal captive environment with real tables and see how this pole has created a change in interaction.

After the first experiment (drawing on the pole and answering questions), I will test the users more and use different forms and materials and ask the users to do things ie. connect with a stranger through simple forms using the props provided but still using the pole as a base(for comfort?) I will use straws, cups etc to test the users to see how they interact with the opposing user at the pole. This will allow me to see first hand how people choose to interact with each other and from the experiment. I will look at the fun factor and the how comfort can be introduced to 2 strangers through such simple tasks and forms.

The result will be added to my initial design concepts which I will take further in my project. Watch! This space! For videos, photos and results of the experiment which will take place on Monday in the small University cafe.


the conclusion to Part A…

this is the conclusion to my dissertation part A, which will lead on to part B, development and the final outcome.

Whether in the context of the past, or in the modern world we live in today, design has had, and still has a profound influence on people’s perceptions, behaviours and, from this, their interaction with each other. It can be observed that since the Industrial Revolution, design has catered increasingly to and encouraged our sense of individuality, in relief and reprieve of the cramped and crowded conditions which came before; yet has gone to the extreme of making people so conscious of themselves that they feel uncomfortable sharing their space with others and has cut them off from the world around them. There is something which can be done to allow people to feel connected, and through design, we can enable people to feel at ease once more with the world around them and the people within it.

Models are ready for research task, now for the map!

This was fun and time consuming and…yeah I can’t wait to set up this research task. It will bring in answers to my project problem! Making a task fun makes such a difference especially when you are dealing with people! I have and will avoid survey monkey at all times, I really don’y like it or the thought of it even if I have never used it. Not sure why.

card models

You are so digital. But do you have to be?

where everyone thinks ”YEAH! New technology! I can Tweet, Facebook and find exactly what shop that dress is in in this supermarket! All on my smartphone!!” I like that technology is becoming so advanced to an extent. But not to the extent where the applications do not actually help us but waste out time or allow us to procrastinate continuously. In public transport having a game to keep us amused if we are on our own or music to set us up for the day ahead is fine. And I think there is a sudden expectation for designers to take new technology with two hands and make it better again. It shouldn’t be this way because all the ‘little’ things like the people, the place where we live, and the environments we are in are not used to their potential but instead ignored most of the time because that little screen that is your mobile phone is constantly flashing and guiding you and stealing you away from the environment that you are actually in physically.


The train station.

Step 1: Look at this figure preferably on your smart phone as you would at the train station, or on your way there. And put yourself in the situation below:

Step 2: Basically, from what I have written above about smart phones…apply this sort of behaviour to:

yourself in the busiest train station on a Saturday. Your train is soon. You are on the bus on your way to the train station. You still have to go to the self-service ticket machine to collect your tickets. You still need to find out your platform. You wont find out until you enter the station. After collecting your ticket and finding out your platform you have 10 minutes to get to your platform. The station is too busy and people are everywhere. So you start heading to platform. You have a few minutes and people are boarding the train already! There are still people who are running across, diagonally and out of control because they are also in your situation. They have somewhere to be too. After squeezing through and avoiding as many people as you can you have reached your platform just in time. How many times did you look at your phone throughout this adventure? A train station isn’t always the best place for a mobile phone. The best use for your phone really, in this situation is ‘time’. Not too much else.


Wouldn’t this journey be easier if:

You collected your ticket. And the rest was handed over to the responsibility of the train station? By this, why should you be forced a stressful start to your journey when a change can be made so you can get around the station and to your platform in a smoother way. A less forceful way. How can the train station change to allow this ‘good journey’ that we really expect.



How we choose to use space

three desire paths just showing how people deside to take their route. In so many cases it’s not the route intended for them.

…further research in this area where human traffic can create major problems including stress, dis-orientation, and rushing around at a train station. Looking at the space and how it is actually used and redefining the way the space is used will help this problem caused by human traffic and create a ‘good journey’

How barriers are put up.

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.

A little note I have made. For me.

How does the invasion of ‘personal space’ affect us as a society?

The personal bubble we create around ourselves as humans.

The senses of the human body..hear, see, smell, taste, touch. How all these senses are used and invaded.

Peoples actual awareness of their ‘personal space’. How people are unaware or subconsciously live life not acknowledging what they are doing…

Human and social behavior. Why do people act as they do around each other? And in situations?

How has design contributed to the distance we face from human to human…human contact, distance, cyber-self…

Public space is not used how it should be used.

I like these issues, I just to put them all together now. Clare.

The battle between your present and future self

I found this talk interesting. It is encouraging that other designers believe that they can change the attitudes of people. The screen showing the emotional change between the elder man and the middle age/young man would surely affect people over time. Designing to create an emotional change seems like a good thing to do as this emotional change/ attitude can improve how we live or engage with each other as humans. It has to be something interactive or just clever because people now are less willing to change unless there’s something in it for them.

gaston bachelard: “the poetics of space” + desire paths.

gaston bachelard: “the poetics of space” + desire paths..

One of these experiences creates a Desire Path -”a term in landscape architecture used to describe a path that isn’t designed but rather is worn casually away by people finding the shortest distance between two points”. Just as Bachelard examines, it shows how the human use of an architectural or pre-determined flow through space will sometimes over-ride the intentions of it’s creator. Just like nature and evolution itself, life will always find the most expedient route to what it wants.


This quote from Bachelard’s ‘The poetic of space’ is interesting. We see these desired paths every day but never strip the thought down to ‘just getting from A to B’. We know we are going from A to B but we don’t think about how that route we’re taking got there or why it was put there in that specific place. Not every route we take has been put there by an architect or designer, but by ourselves. When an architect or designer creates a new path taking away or cutting off  the route we made ourselves this creates a response from the public.

Here is an example from Grays School of Art, Aberdeen. Students are still going on…