Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Reflecting back on the observation task from assignment 3 I have continually since then been highly aware of peoples behaviour and how it is related to design. It is becoming more and more evident to me that the space around the public is the key aspect to how they react which in turn creates an experience. One place with I have noticed a specific pattern in behaviour is in the gym. It seems to be the most naturalistic act to want to get a machine which is as isolated as possible therefore giving you as much personal space as possible. For example if there was a row of cross trainers or rowing machines and someone was already on the end machine it would not be natural to go and use the one right next to it. Could this be due to people having a hierarchy in the space or perhaps specific social groupings?
The flow of people is also another element which has been highlighted in my recent experiences. This generally is to target a specific market and is a design in which to gain money. For example in a supermarket one of the most commonly bought purchases is milk. This however is almost always located near the back of the shop making consumers walk through/past a number of aisles and normally a number of exclusive deals and offers to get to the milk therefore persuading them to purchase far more items than just the milk they went in for.
This idea of the flow of people also has got my thinking about how this crosses thresholds and how certain places attract certain social groups. A key example in direct relation to personal experience for this is in the Overgate shopping centre in Dundee. Starbucks is designed with a glass door, this is inviting but at the same time makes that statement that the consumer has to make that decision as to whether it is somewhere which suits them and forces them to that physical act of entering. Now contrast this to Burger King directly across the corridor. It has an open front with no door at all, a walk in walk out policy. This is going to be more inviting but is also suggestive that is it a quick enter and leave system, not somewhere to sit and mull in. Both places serve a purpose but with very different intentions and it is clear from general observation that the type of people in both locations are very much at opposite ends of the social scales.
All of these examples are just scratching the surface on the critical connections between observation, space and design. This task of observation has taught me to think much deeper and to analyze my thoughts by going that extra step to discover what that link, critical connection between design and a subject is which in a general consensus seems highly complex.

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