Designed to Torment.

So much for design thinking and the user as the pivot for problem solving. I know of cases where stuff is designed to intensify user grief. 

Like rail stations for example. Limited seating areas. Commuters can stand long hours to muscle up, I guess. The rare one-way escalator. Commuters and luggage can do the balancing act on their way up. If you've avoided a slipped disc on the way up, you're a first-hand recipient of a miracle. The few pay-and-use loos require you to traverse multiple rail platforms to do the relieving act. A single enquiry counter with a jostling queue. Arrival-departure screens that make you stare and stay for a while. That's until your train pops up on screen a wee bit earlier than its arrival on platform.

I tell you, the misery seems endless. 

Something tells me this is by design. Why? 'Cos that's how you keep the teeming masses in check. First deprive them. Then provide them with bits. Let them queue up for those bits. When you provide them with succour, ensure its enacted in a manner that makes them feel obliged. When you add to the service-bits, do it after a while. Don't up commuter services that increase conveniences at one go. Do it one at a time and over long periods. That's how you keep mass users in check, via submission. 

Tell you what, public services are designed to ensure citizens stay supine. Its so they always feel thankful for the little mercies. Is it any wonder then, I root for open markets and private competition? I am convinced that is when design thinking will flourish. 


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