Response to Chipchase’s calibrating your cultural compass

Chipchase shared the importance of understanding the background of one’s target audience. Often, we neglect the basis and intent of designing. Products are usually designed for people yet some designers fail to incorporate thoughtfulness to their work. A good design naturally arises from observations and research of the target group. Customising a design that is convenient and suits the need of the people.

Culture is a major considering factor to great design. Having been to Japan and Korea this summer, I’ve realised the stark difference in their cultures. Take dining in Japan, for example. Meals are usually in the form of individual sets where sharing almost seems to be disrespectful towards the chefs.

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Photo from Pinterest

However, in Korea, friends are commonly seen sharing a huge portion of food coming from a single pan. In which not sharing is a selfish act.

Image result for korean bbq
Photo from Chefsteps


  1. How large should the database be to make a non-bias analysis?
  2. With the multicultural society we live in, how can one strike a balance between satisfying the masses and creating a design that suits the majority?


Response to chapter 1: The Psychopathology of Everyday Things


Chapter 1 mentioned that designers often misuse the term “affordance”. Much rather than affordance, the focus should be shifted towards “signifiers”. Signifiers are simple indications to bring awareness of a certain function to the users. However, with too many signifiers, it might lead to confusion and a complicated design. Simplicity of apple products is probably the reason why it is so popular. The single button on the iPhone is simple yet functional. No complex manual is needed to figure how it works. That is why it is important to strike a balance between number of signifiers and simplicity of the design. The author also stated that feedback is key. In which I agree to. Interactions are necessary to engage users. Feedbacks continue the flow of interaction just like responses in a conversation.


1) Should we have a signifier for every affordance?

2) If a project requires many signifiers, how does one find a balance between the signifiers and simplicity of the design?