Technology, Design and Behavior
A scene in the movie I, Robot posed a strong impression to me.
Susan Calvin : [looks at Spooner's present-day CD stereo] Play. On... Run?
[turns on CD player by hand, music plays]
Susan Calvin : [panicking] Uhh... End Program! Shutdown!
Detective Del Spooner : [clicks remote, stereo off] Doesn't feel good, does it? People's shit malfunctioning around you.
The scene was about machines not following orders, but it just reminded me of my father. He can surf the net with a computer but he can never figure out how to swipe right to answer a phone call. The leading actress was so used to voice control devices that she didn’t know how to press the off button while my father was so used to buttons that he didn’t know how to use touch panel.
Through our design, our behavior is learned and formed. Designers simplify functions and operations, making products easier to use. Users just use it in the most intuitive way without thinking too much. However, those actions we believe were done without hesitation were actually “trained” by the design we used.
Everyone has seen the signs of push or pull on the door, right? It’s not that simple for Amy. As an exchange student from Japan, she always slid the door naturally to one side when encountering doors with no knobs or handles. There would be an awkward moment for her when she failed to open the door. Even if she no longer lived in a house with sliding doors, she was still affected by the habit of sliding door design. Amy is a successful case to demonstrate the well-trained user of sliding door design.
With the development of science and technology, design has evolved. Maybe one day we will consider those “disobedient” human products which have been changed by technology and design are probably all malfunctioned.
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