Going through school, I studied product design.  I learned the ways to manipulate an object in order to change a person’s behavior.  Interaction changed with the slightest curve and in many ways and it provided too much power to designers.  We learned things to include and exclude certain behaviors such as which way to hold a razor for the most relaxed hand motions, or design a bench to keep.  Now what does this have anything to do with Detroit?

I was fortunate to attend the AIGA Conference last week and Roman Mars, podcaster of 99% Invisible sat there and showed a crowd of thousands of people images.  These images were of benches, and outside of businesses where there are spikes to prevent people who were homeless from staying there.  While inhumane- it was a problem solved by a solution.  Incorrect as that solution may have been.  But what Mr. Mars said next was more intriguing-  “When you are designing: who are you excluding and why? Is it making the world a better place?”

Is making a bench so that people can’t lay down on it making the world a better place or is it just putting a band-aid on a larger issue?  I think going forward with challenges, I will consider this first and foremost. “If this solution doesn’t- how can we change it to make the world a better place?”