Week 2 | Chipchase’s reading response

Chapter 5 – Jan Chipchase, Hidden In Plain Sight: How To Create Extraordinary Products For Tomorrow’s Customers.  (2013)

Jan Chipchase’s reading on calibrating your cultural compass drives me back to realizing the hidden beauty in simple infrastructure I see in my daily lives, which reflects more than what I thought they meant to be. His readings definitely make me want to start questioning all these daily ordinary norms that I once classified as norms and view them in a new light.

How daily infrastructure were designed a particular way to influence the behaviors and lifestyle of people instead of catering just to their needs and these infrastructure carries subtle hints of the culture as well as how people within that region lives. Which clearly reflects how culture and design works simultaneously as a whole. Designs of public services are often than not contextualized based on cultural backgrounds and values which makes cross-cultural an important aspect to consider when designing. One example where he goes on marveling as of how a vast of signage each specifying different activities were displayed on subways in Tokyo, attributing it to the significance placed in the culture on courtesy act.

His readings challenged designers to consider designing to create social change. Which raises questions such as: (1) How could designers do it in such a way that it seems oblivious and not forcefully pushing people towards a particular lifestyle that makes people resist to them yet motivates a behavior? How is it possible for designers to design in such a way to ensure usability and user experience across cultural boundaries despite cultural differences?

Apart from these, Jan breakdown some interesting techniques where he includes cross-cultural aspect in his research gathering process which was something that sort of reflects how universal a certain service and design is made for. (2): However how can an anthropologist ensure that a certain behavior observed isn’t prior to one’s previous experience since past experiences do subconsciously influence our behavioral patterns? (As of, sometimes the individual themselves do not know how to articulate their problems and they might not have realized it.)

Overall, this chapter touches on cultural calibration techniques which further directs me to new research possibilities in creating a more universal design experience. I have previously touched on social trend studies, technology and market studies as an industrial design student but have never really come across to considering the cultural aspect (in a much-more in-depth format) which definitely unfolds me to another level of research studies.

Author: Fiona Lim

"Deep in the meadow, under the willow..."

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