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Broadening Perspectives in Shanghai

In the “Designing for People” readings assigned on the first week of Thesis Prep with Liz Danzico, I came across two important points that further solidified my decision in leaving for China. As mentioned in our first class, we were encouraged to view things from different perspectives. In order to do so, one should remove themselves from a familiar state (especially from the IXD studio in NYC).

It is merely recognition that the outsider, because he is an outsider, can be more dispassionate – more cold blooded, if you please – and cold-bloodedness, industry has found, can be a priceless aid in the solution of a problem. (Designing for People, 58)

By stepping into different environments, we are able to broaden our perspectives. We are exposed to new ways of living that we were once unfamiliar with before. By being an “outsider,” interaction designers are presented with the opportunity to observe how problems are approached in one place versus another. This further builds upon itself by enabling designers to make connections between previously known solutions (in the States) and currently applied solutions (in China).

The second point came up in both a conversation with Liz (about her stay in Japan) and in the 2nd chapter of Designing for People.

However, the concern of the industrial designer is with the mass public, and it was necessary to determine the extreme dimensions, for we must consider the variations from small to large in men and women. (Designing for People, 27)

This point is related to the first in a sense that we are indeed gaining different perspectives, but we are also presented with different design challenges. One challenge being a more constrained audience in shape, size, language, culture, etc.

By immersing oneself in a different culture and being mindful of these differences, patterns between two cultures emerge, connections are made, and lives can be improved through a wider perspective. Hello Shanghai!

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  • 11 May 2010

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