For the last two weeks I’ve been “hunting” thoughtless acts. It has been very fun experience because I had to pay close attention to details that I usually don’t even notice (it turns they are everywhere!) I was able to capture some of them with my camera… others were difficult to capture because they happened to fast, or because I was too shy to take a picture.
While I was in the BART I noticed that the woman sitting in front of me used the space between her seat and the wall of the train to put her bottle of water. She did it almost automatically, not paying much attention to it. She never stopped talking to her husband/boyfriend. The bottle of water was always in a good position (i.e., vertical), it was easily accessible at all times, and neither grabbing it or putting it back required much effort (the rigidity of the wall combined with the softness of the seat provided ideal conditions for the temporal “storage” of the bottle).
During the same ride, a woman used her purse as a platform to rest her arm, and then she rested her head on her hand. It seems that in this way she found a good solution to rest and keep her purse safe at the same time.
In the next picture (man in the back) we can see how the young man has tied his jacket on the strap of his backpack. By having this piece of clothing on the exterior of the backpack, he can easily reach to it whenever he wants to. Additionally, tying it guarantees that he won’t lose it.
Another interesting thing I noticed just when I was getting off (so I was not able to take a picture) was a boy using his skateboard as a seat. Since all seats were taken, he was taking advantage of the affordances of his skateboard, and also of the availability of space in the “standing” area.
Now, I must confess that I’m struggling a bit with the second point of this task (possible physical and/or virtual design solution). The common thread of all this pictures (and in general of all the thoughtless acts I’ve identified) is multi-functionality (it doesn’t matter if we are talking about a human made object (seat, purse, skateboard, books, etc.) or parts of the body (mouth, hands, arms, legs, etc.) This has made me reflect about how could we design objects that have different purposes taking full advantage of their affordances.