Posts tagged “cardboard”

Pile it up, pile it high on the platter

Temporary cardboard depot, Montara, CA, July 2009

I’ve started noticing this curious artifact around town on garbage days. At first I thought these piles of cardboard were mistakes (especially when one appeared at the foot of our driveway). But, for reasons that aren’t obvious, these are simply steps in the process: move the cardboard from individual households to multi-street piles, then gather and remove the piles.

It’s interesting to consider how many processes may present as error-ridden or incomplete depending on when (and with what context) they are viewed. Does the county get phone calls every week complaining about the pile of trash sitting on the street? How could they communicate more context in this pile to better suggest that they’ll indeed be right back to pick it up, don’t you worry?

Benchmark, Mockup, and Prototype

Fast Company describes how Alaska Airlines has been redesigning their check-in environment. Some nice bits of process to note

White assembled a team of employees from across the company to design a better system. It visited theme parks, hospitals, and retailers to see what it could learn. It found less confusion and shorter waits at places where employees were available to direct customers. “Disneyland is great at this,” says Jeff Anderson, a member of White’s skunk works. “They have their people in all the right places.”

The team began brainstorming lobby ideas. At a Seattle warehouse, it built mock-ups, using cardboard boxes for podiums, kiosks, and belts. It tested a curved design, one resembling a fishbone, and one with counters placed at 90-degree angles to each other. It built a small prototype in Anchorage to test systems with real passengers and Alaska employees.

It appears that Alaska had some obvious (and shared) design goals: increase throughput and reduce confusion. There’s a whole class of environmental redesign projects where the goals aren’t as clear. In those cases, there’s some generative research needed to understand what aspects of the overall experience could and should be different.


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