People are people. If you’re a person, you’ll know what people can be like, what they might do, how they’ll react and you’ll know something of their strengths and shortcomings. By the time you’re working and making decisions and plans in that job you should have a wide human experience to draw on to make your choices intuitive, informed and the results of those decisions should then be successfully integrated into peopleland.
But of course people are also a bit rubbish, will be deliberately awkward, selfish and make bad desicions simply because they can and they want to see what the reaction will be.
So what I’m saying is taking this into account, why is society and its infrastrucrture being increasingly moulded to cut across the grain of human nature? Causing confusion, aggressive behaviour and wasted time spent dealing with the fallout that might other wise be spent acheieving or improving one’s own or the general situation.
One item in particular defines this culture shift: new roundabouts.
Roundabouts are there to keep a steady flow of traffic at a multiple exit junction, but now what they’re doing is making them works of abstract art through which the public must interpret and make their passage as best they can. Okay, all the lines are easy enough to follow for most, but the ones who can’t drive between lines due to incompetence, stupidy or being oblivious to all things except ASDA down the road have the effect of a football being kicked through the window of an operating theatre just as the surgeon’s lifted out the poor bastards heart as he gets ready for his nice new one.
Then the tighter radius curve they’re using, that you have do 15 or 20mph around to stay within the lines, causes chaos as cars drift in and and out of lanes to the sound of braking and horns and shouting. Yes, if folk did as intended, slowed down, took care, gave consideration to their fellow creatures there wouldn’t be an issue. But folk won’t do it, it’s human nature to want to get there, and get there first, cars aren’t people until after the accident and you’re face to face with another driver. They’re obstacles.
We all feel this to some degree at some time or other, so why design things that work against human nature? Why not make it easy and natural? Wouldn’t that make for less stress and confrontation either with inanimate objects or other people?
It’s everything from manuals that aren’t logical, to Chip and Pin cards removing your eye contact with sales staff, television news that’s written to be understood by 12 year olds, excessive packaging, adverts that are too loud…
There’s a lot of stuff out there that’s stupid and wrong and we let it happen.
Grumpy old man? Maybe, let’s have the revolution before my knees go then.
PS That advert currently on the telly where the Halifax Bank sends all its employees running to hand their customer a fiver at the top of a human tower makes me clench my jaw so hard I fear I may break my teeth.