Today I learned that mankind is incredible.
“Human-Centered Design,” a process coined by IDEO, takes into account the needs of the human at all points of the design process. This is a great approach in comparison to the oh-so-common “cubicle designer” that creates objects without considering the user. I was thinking about “Human-Centered Design” today while I was on the toilet. Lucky enough, I looked to my right only to stumble upon an epiphany.
The bathroom stall I frequent is extremely awkward due to the lack of privacy the large, 3-inch, gap between the wall and the door consists of. Every morning and late afternoon, I walk into the bathroom and stumble upon the same thing. A make-shift gap-filler that is made out of a long piece of toilet paper tied to the top of the stall. Every morning I enter, and this piece of Human-Crafted Design has been taken down (by the janitors), but by mid afternoon, BAM, there it is again. I hypothesize that it is not replaced every afternoon by the same frequenter of this particular potty but instead by multiple “humans.” This proves that we are all born with the ability to understand our own needs as well as the needs of others, and are more than capable of improvising a design artifact to accommodate the issue at hand.
I think as designers we should consider not only designing for humans, but instead attempt to design with humans. Inspiration can come from a lot of places, and very often it is not within the walls of a design studio. Instead, perhaps, it can be found in the stall of a bathroom.