'Imagine an elevator that stops one floor before the one you selected, and then tells you to get out and take the stairs the rest of the way. Can you envision a lamp that only turns on when you slide your smartphone into it, thus preventing you from texting obsessively? Both are very real examples of items created by modern designers who are trying to counteract the modern culture of convenience. In an era where most people choose driving over biking, or watching TV instead of walking, designers such as Matthew Laschke are designing subtle interventions against laziness and comfort-seeking.'
Many of us make decisions every day that impact us, some in big ways and some in smaller ones that we barely notice. Taking the lift instead of the stairs is a great example. Those two long things on the lower half of your body are called legs and they are pretty great at a multitude of things with walking being at number one. So why, on so many occasions, do we opt for a 'lift'. We are getting lazier and deaerating in health and taking small steps like taking the stairs are the starting point for a new way of thinking. People would be up in arms if you irradiated the elevator system for good but what if you altered it slightly so that you can take the lift but not the whole way, it will encourage people to experience taking the stairs. After how many of these incidences where the lift stops do you think people will finally say 'Sod it, I'll just take the stairs'.
Design must be delicate. Forcing people to change everything at once will automatically make them reluctant, however slowly changing behaviour patterns with very minor inconveniences is much easier to integrate and meets customers half way.
In some ways they aren't inconveniences, after a second evaluation, they are in fact doing you a favour. The lamp that is powered by your phone breaking off that connection with your device so you can have real conversations by the light of the lamp with people in the room. The stool is giving you the option to rest but also making you very aware you are taking the option to sit still as you have to brace and balance yourself to do so. It also benefits your core muscles and improves your strength even though you are sitting on a product that is often associated with rest.
These designs, although on the surface seem like they're punishing you in some way, are actually helping in the long run. A bit like that workout you were reluctant to do this morning. Changing perceptions of how we react with everyday objects could change how consumers attitudes towards them.
Winter, C. (2016). Design for discomfort: new products could force people to stop being so lazy. [online] Inhabitat.com. Available at: http://inhabitat.com/design-for-discomfort-new-products-could-force-people-to-stop-being-so-lazy/ [Accessed 21 Oct. 2016].
Laschke, M. (2016). design & research. [online] matthias laschke. Available at: http://www.pleasurabletroublemakers.com/#/intervator/ [Accessed 21 Oct. 2016].
Co.Exist. (2014). This Lamp Only Works If You Hand Over Your Smartphone. [online] Available at: https://www.fastcoexist.com/3036188/this-lamp-only-works-if-you-hand-over-your-smartphone [Accessed 21 Oct. 2016].
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