Trash drawer

The thoughtless act I have been watching is chest of drawers that is regularly used as a trash can. Because the drawers have been placed on a sidewalk, they appear to be trash, but they have not moved for at least a few days (if not longer). One drawer was placed on top and is shaped correctly to hold things, and has been used to hold trash. On the surface, this appears to have a very simple solution: put a trash can there. However, walking by the drawers for a few days in a row, I have seen the trash change. Someone has taken the time to empty the trash on top. It is still unclear why the entire set has not been taken to a dump.

Trash Drawer

Exercise Train

  1. Lady using the rail intended for holding onto on public transport train to perform gymnastics.
  2. When people are transporting between places, it takes time, but is not necessarily productive time. This lady is making use of the train structure and turning it into an urban gym. One potential solution here would be to replace the majority of the seats in the train with areas for people to do mini exercises. It would be an interesting experiment to see if such a layout of the train would be used. Sometimes people don’t want to exercise in front of the general public, and usually people on the train are wearing street clothes as opposed to workout clothes. Maybe if exercise equipment was available on a train people would start wearing the appropriate clothes and the cultural norms would break down. All of these would have to be considered if introducing exercise equipment to the design of train cars.

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Thoughtless Act(s) : My TUI Kit

I found my thoughtless act in my TUI Kit. I have been using the styrofoam from the first lab for building diffusers to anchor my electronic components. As the pic indicates, I plug my leds, photocells and diodes into it to keep them organized and keep myself from rummaging through the entire box when I need them. I also packed away my resistors in a small ziploc to keep them from running loose inside the box which used to give me a hard time finding them. I use a hair tie to keep my Arduino wire manageable. I have separated my circuit building (colored) wires from the ground and power wires to save some time in pulling out wires.

 

I hadn’t put much thought into most of these acts except for separating the wires based on color and only realized the rest of them when I started looking around for thoughtless acts. Going through my own thoughtless acts and those of others (on the various resources like Flickr, IDEO website, Pinterest etc on the class website), I have realized the importance of noticing people’s thoughtless acts and using them as inspiration during the design process. Taking this thought forward, if I were a designer designing a TUI kit for myself I would have made the solution better by using a sectioned box wherein each section would be customized in size and shape for the component that it would hold. I would also include important information like resistor color coding on the lid for easy access.

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Bicycle accessories

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I recognized a trio of “thoughtless acts” around bicycles in my home. On top, I tend to store my bike cable by hanging in on my handlebars. In the middle image, handlebars are again used for storage, here by hanging a helmet. And on the bottom, my bike seat is used to store my helmet, keeping it attached to the bike (it’s clipped around the seat-post) and also in the orientation as it would be worm (by propping it on the seat). I presume neither handlebars nor seats were designed as storage spaces , but the same features that make for good grips (here protruding or curved, hand-sized grips) also make for good hooks. And my bicycle seat, designed for sitting, happens also to be of the right proportions to mount my helmet (something going on there in human proportions?).

As far as design solutions, these inspired me to think of other ways to introduce multi-functionality to items designed for hands/seats. Perhaps the doorknob on a closet door could be grooved, encouraging users to hang their most-used items on the knob itself instead of inside the closet, with similar adaptations for drawer or cabinet pulls.

The bike-seat storage seems harder to replicate elsewhere; it works because I only sit on the bike when I am also wearing the helmet (the thing stored on the seat). The same can’t be said for most seats.

Thoughtless Acts

<h3>One Pot Dish</h3>

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In this photo, out of laziness, I repurposed my rice cooker to also steam my vegetables and then repurposed the rice cooker container as a bowl. A simple design fix would be to attach another layer for vegetables to keep the flavors from mixing. I’m sure this design solution already exists somewhere in the product space.

<h3>Hanging on a Hanger</h3>

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The diameter of my rail could not fit my drying rack’s hook, so I hooked it onto another hanger. A simple design fix here would be to have a hook that is not as rigid. That way it could flexible wrap around rails. Otherwise, it could be designed so that the user could set the hook diameter themselves within a given range.

<h3>Amazon Desktop</h3>

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I have been making full use out of my Amazon shipments by utilizing the boxes as both carriers and tables. My desk is quite small so when I make things, I use the bottom of my box. This provides me an adequate second table so I can separate my book work from my maker work.

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However, when the project is done, I simply invert my table space and get back a box to carry my project in. For this example, I can’t think of a better solution, because I can’t imagine another feasibly designed portable desk that could shapeshift into a container. Sometimes simplicity works, despite the best design intentions?

Thoughtless Act: There’s a Phone in Your Boot

My thoughtless act is actually my own. Women’s fashion is usually plagued by having a deficiency in number of pockets, or in size of pockets. And as mobile phones have been getting larger and larger, it becomes frustratingly difficult to carry a phone around without completely occupying a hand. A staple to my wardrobe are knee-high boots, though.

One day a couple years ago, a gentleman made a comment about how he noticed I had a phone in my boot. I wasn’t sure when that behavior started, or what event it was spurred by, but his comment caught me by surprise. I supposed it was a peculiar thing to do, but it felt easy and comfortable and so made its way into my life as a natural habit. I still continue this behavior, and occasionally will receive similar comments that serve no purpose other than to point out, and verify, that there is a phone in my boot. Only once in the airport did a man claim with joy, “Oh, my wife does that, too!”

While I think that the boot itself solves the problem of phone storage/ferrying without physical design manipulation, it could probably be improved upon. For instance, sometimes the shaft of my boot has so much free room inside that my phone slips all the way down to my ankle, making retrieval actually quite difficult. This was not a problem I encountered until recently, needing to replace an older pair of boots with a newer one with more supple leather and a wider shaft. I think installing a small stopper somewhere within the boot, one that was unobtrusive and comfortable for my calf, would greatly alleviate my strain in reaching for my phone when it’s fallen too far.

Book Folder

I was looking around for a thoughtless act and found one right in my backpack. You can see that the notebook, which I take notes in for lectures, has been “thoughtlessly” used to put together in one place papers related to that class and to protect the papers. The practice is not particularly effective as the stack has become rather thick, the edges of the paper are frayed, and the papers don’t look particularly well-organized.

What might an effective solution look like? We see some notebooks with paper pockets for notes, a more extreme solution might be to attach fold-out flaps to the last page or an actual envelope type folder to the back of the notebook to tuck notes into the back. Alternately, to make the notebook significantly larger than A4 would also help protect the edges of the page.

A way to compel the user *not* to commit the thoughtless act might be to make the notebook too small to wedge papers in, forcing the user to bring an extra folder.

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Thoughtless Act: Saving Private Veggie

Frozen vegetables and fruit can be incredibly useful (particularly peas, I’ve found). They’re inexpensive, last forever, and in some cases can be even better than the raw version. But, every time I open a bag, I’m at risk for spillage. Moreover, the contents will freeze over once the bag has been opened, so it becomes nearly impossible to access the contents a second time without also getting ice. Not great for cooking. I co-opted a few clips and the wire rack in my freezer to solve the problem:

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One solution would be to change the design of these bags to include some kind of closing mechanism (like a Ziploc sliding closure) that allows for the removal of air from the bag. You could further improve the design by making the bag thicker and flattening the bottom of the bag to enable it to stand up properly for better organization.