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Assignment 2 Part 2: Response Reading

Hidden in Plain Sight, “Calibrating your Cultural Compass”
Jan Chipchase

This chapter enabled me to critically analyse our way of life. What is most fascinating from the text is that Chipchase has incorporated varied perspective on certain topics which helps us to see the difference between our society and another’s. It has overall helped broaden my depth of thinking and wonder of the ‘other’ person in mind when it comes to designing experiences. However, he merely touches and go on these “everyday experiences” and did not really provide a framework on how to design and build such an environment.

Question 1: I particularly enjoyed the reading on signage. I do pay attention to its symbols but never realized of their underlying meaning. Chipchase presents his observations of the main language used in the signs, their usage of the icons and prohibited signs. He mentions that the signs “tells us more about the local culture”. However, I disagree with his views on the matter. Probably, from my point of view, the dollar sign “$” currency determines if the country is ‘westernized’. But, would legislative ‘By Law’ signs or even directional signs say much about a culture to help you design an experience?

Question 2: The approaches to observation takes place in different forms, what Chipchase has done in the chapter has largely to do with integrating within the culture by communicating with them and also distancing himself to view the bigger picture. But what if his observations are constantly distracted with previous misconceptions? If so, wouldn’t doing survey/ field tests be more of a qualifiable resource to design an experience?