The funny thing about IDEAS seminar is that you really have no IDEA (bad pun) what to expect. I mean, sure, you know that you’re going to walk out with more questions than you walked in with… but still. The last seminar I walked into, I fully expected to discuss a play called Enemy of the People. Lo and behold, that discussion was postponed and instead we watched what was supposed to be an inspiring video on design.
For an hour and a half we were lead through the long design process and we saw how people work in the “real world”. Don’t get me wrong, I was incredibly intrigued by what was being shown to me (I mean, I knew a lot of stuff happened in the design process, but gosh golly gee whiz, I was still blown away by its complexity). Everything was happy-dandy until a designer from Japan threw in his two cents. At first, he was just describing a little flip phone (you know, the phones from the Dark Ages) and why it was shaped so uniquely. It had jagged edges that he described as being freshly-skinned-potato-shape. The thought behind this was that people seem to be instinctively drawn to fiddle with odd shapes, and he was hoping that people would grow more attached to this phone through this extra contact. This bugged me.
I don’t like doing what I’m told. I’ll do what I have to to succeed professionally, but in my daily life I want to do my own thing. The idea that something was designed to inherently modify human behavior disturbs me greatly. If something as antiquated as a flip phone can mess with our heads even a little bit, imagine what more complex technology can do to us.