Assignement Week 2 – Part 2

  • Response to the 5th chapter of Jan Chipchase’s Hidden in Plain Sight

Jan Chipchase’s main idea in this chapter is cultural calibration when designing a product. Each region of the world has its singularities (behaviours, do’s and don’ts etc.). Therefore, it is vital to take them into account when designing a product, , if you want your product to reach its target audience. The best way to do so, according to him, is to immerge yourself in the culture, whether it is a just for a few hours or for a couple of weeks.

I agree with him in this point, it is impossible to really grasp a culture until you find yourself in the midst of the local’s everyday life.

I can speak about France for example because I can relate to it. If you have the “chance” to experience once in your lifetime a commute to Paris when you live in the suburbs, you can start to understand why Parisians always seem to be stressed and on a hurry. Regional trains and suburbian trains in the Greater Paris Area are a catastrophy: delays, works on the line, temporary shutdowns of the line for various reasons. All of which make the everyday commute to work a living nightmare.

Experiencing this can help you understand the needs of the users. For example, the success of mobile phones games and apps in France (Candy Crush and so on…) has a lot to do with this. It is a way to get your mind off the stressful commutes. And it is true now when you take the metro in Paris, you come across a lot of people playing games on their phone.

Question 1) The author talks about cultural calibration and I agree with him, but in my opinion it implies having a lot of resources and time to spare, however sometimes you need to be the first to get your product out on the market. Therefore spending money and time on this kind of research would mean that your competitor may release his product before you. And even if it isn’t as perfectly designed as yours, he will still have the advantage in the eyes of the public because he was the first to put it out there.

So the question that comes to my min is : is it acceptable not to be the first one to release the product on the market, even if it is better designed than the competitors’ product ?

Question 2) The author talks about breaching behaviors in this chapter and how for example it used to be seen as rude to block out noise of the city by putting on headphones. What causes a breaching behavior to evolve into becoming a normal behavior, can a technological advance be solely responsible for it or is it paired with a social evolution (more individualistic society)? And in this particular example, is it still seen as a breaching behavior in more collective societies, even though the technology exists?

Author: Florent Ziegler

French Exchange Student. Industrial Design Engineering

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