A visual nudge for social distancing inside an elevator

As Coronavirus spreads widely, people are asked to keep distance from others. The Straits Times posted a photo showing that visitors at an Indonesian shopping mall stand on boxes inside an elevator. Another simple visual nudge was found in Seoul, Korea. The elevator floor was divided into nine squares. A single pair of foot prints…

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How to breathe better with a mask

Wearing a mask becomes common as the spread of Covid-19 (Coronavirus disease) dominates our lives. However, people find it difficult to breathe with a mask. I recently found an interesting new product for masks at Granhand where I visited to buy droppers or incenses for my office. Though you can not seize nor hold the…

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Empty space sparks creativity

Space matters when we need creativity. According to research, when a ceiling is high, people become creative because a high (vs. low) ceiling primes the concept of freedom (vs. confinement). Similarly, Jump Associates has various types of cubicles for designers; “garage” cubicles are widely open for those who want to be creative, whereas “Zen rooms”…

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Color marries between buttons and bulbs

We often write down something on the surface. For instance, a window says “this is a window” or a pedestrian crossing says “Look Right.” However, written, verbal information is easy to be ignored. Compared to verbal information, visual information attracts attention better. When I visited the design department at the University of Sao Paulo, one…

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Feedback leads to virtual progress

People seek for feedback about progress. When travelers arrive at the Chek Lap Kok International Airport, they catch a train to Kowloon and Hong Kong. In the train, there is a blue-light indicator which shows where the train is right now. This feedback gives correct information to travelers. However, feedback is not always objectively given…

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Are fresh fish better than canned fish?

I love canned sardines. Whenever I visit different cities, I buy a dozen of canned fish on the way back home. I was excited to find Annam Gourmet at Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam because it has a wide variety of canned fish, along with fresh fish. Canned fish are fish which have been processed, sealed…

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Why does the amount of Coke differ across bottles?

When I had a lunch at Buenos Aires, Argentina, I ordered four bottles of Coca Cola. Interestingly, bottle sizes differed and the amount of soda in each bottle looked different. I simply thought this was due to the Quality Control failure of the Coca Cola in Argentina. After coming back from Buenos Aires to Seoul,…

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Curitiba has a sophisticated taste of design

I had a business trip to Brazil and Argentina with others. We gave lectures, ran workshops, participated in walk-in tours, and made new friends. I was impressed by the airport in Curitiba, Brazil. When our plan touched down, I noticed a fire extinguisher and two public phones were attached on a grey wall. At first,…

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Is survey a form of arts?

There are different forms of arts like painting, sculpture, architecture, and photography. However, survey could be a form of arts. I learned this from the exhibition of Korea Artist Prize 2019 at the MMCA (National Museum of Modern Contemporary Art, Korea). Korea Artist Prize is a prestigious art award and exhibition of Korea. This award…

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Why do people choose beers on the left side of the menu?

One of the most famous pubs in Prague, Czech Republic, is Strahov Monastery Brewery. Perched atop the city part of the Strahov Monastery compound and the lush surrounding Petrin Hill, the Strahov Brewery is a delightful find in the bustling city of Prague. Just steps from the massive Prague Castle complex, the microbrewery serves about ten…

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How could we stop cigarette butt litter?

Cigarette butts are the tail ends of the cigarette left over after someone has smoked it. They are under-acknowledged, but widespread, pollutants. At the Quora, someone said the following. In fact, thanks to the fact that for decades smokers just didn’t care where they threw them, there are very likely cigarette butts in the Amazon…

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How many items should be displayed in a store?

When we are curious about value of an unknown object, we often consider how many people surround it. If it is alone, we believe it is expensive. If it is surrounded by many others, we believe it is cheap. This is because, according to O’Guinn’s et al. (2015), as the social density of a given…

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Why do we doodle?

According to Wikipedia, doodles are simple drawings that can have concrete representational meaning or may just be composed of random and abstract lines. However, all doodles are not same. Some doodles are hedonic and others are utilitarian. Hedonic doodles are personal. They are drawings about interpretation of subjective experience, mostly for fun. For instance, I…

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We humanize machine behavior and mechanize human behavior

In order to spice up our daily communication, we often humanize what electronic devices do. For instance, we say, our mobile phone is “stupid” or our storage space “gains weight.” This “anthropomorphism” is defined as the attribution of human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities. According to Wikipedia, it has ancient roots as storytelling…

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Jasper Morrison, Super Normal designer

Piknic, a unique building in Seoul, hosted an exhibition of a British designer Jasper Morrison. The title of the exhibition was THINGNESS. For the hundredth anniversary of the Bauhaus, piknic presents an exhibition offering a general introduction to the world of British designer and modernist interior Jasper Morrison, who has created a sensation with his…

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Chinese people need more than a drinking fountain

We know that westerners and easterners think differently. Markus and Kitayama (1991) argue that different cultural thoughts come from different self concepts. Roughly speaking, a US citizen has an independent concept whereas a Japanese citizen has a dependent one. Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1991). Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, emotion, and…

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Street signs for kids

I have never met any street sign which encourages someone to DO something. Instead, most street signs ask someone NOT to do something. For instance, they ask pedestrians not to run fast or they ask drivers not to drive fast. However, at a school in Hong Kong, I finally met a different street sign designed…

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Foreigners form impressions instantly about countries

In Berlin, Germany, I met a vending machine in a steel cage. Covering the machine with a cage surprised me because it was inside one of downtown subway stations. My friend told me the machine could be damaged at night by drunken people. I formed an impression that Germany was unsafe; juvenile vandalism, an action involving deliberate…

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What makes Copenhagen the most bike-friendly city in the planet?

Many cities aim to be bike-friendly but only few succeed. Wired ranked Copenhagen as the most bike-friendly city in 2015 and in 2017. Interestingly, an article in the same magazine estimated the cost to have a bike-friendly city. … a fully-realized protected bike lane costs about $445,000 per mile, according to the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. (Infrastructure costs vary widely…

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Artwork at ICN airport

Something colorful was hung some distance below the ceiling at the Incheon international airport (ICN). At first it looks like a bunch of tiny colorful balloons. However, each one has different shapes and even move up and down.     The name of this interesting artwork is “Hello.”   This work uses Hangeul, a major…

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Do we enjoy brunch more if we combine foods to create it?

In cafes in Copenhagen, Denmark, customers are often asked to create their own meals by combining foods. I succeeded in this creative task in one cafe but did not in the other. Two cafes have slightly different menus.     I enjoyed the meal in the Mad & Kaffes (Food & Coffee). Foods were divided into six categories…

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Why do people exit the bus at the front door?

At Quora, someone asked “Why do people exit the bus at the front door even when it’s not crowded?” It received seven answers.     Habit. If a bus has two doors it is actually more efficient for passengers to exit by the back door as any new passengers enter through the front door. However, most…

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A choice architecture to reuse hotel towels

Banff Aspen Lodge has an interesting environmental incentive program. If guests stay two or more nights and prefer no housekeeping service in this hotel, it offers a choice of options for the guest’s consideration:   Option 1: The hotel will make a donation of $4 on behalf of guests to the Banff Community Foundation, which supports environmental initiatives…

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Positioning map helps consumers make decisions

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is a hotel in Alberta, Canada. Surrounded by mountain peaks and an emerald lake in the Banff National Park, this hotel has a pub for the outdoor enthusiasts coming from all over the world. At the pub, the menu was carefully designed for foreigners by mapping local drinks in two dimensions:…

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