Concept proposal answering to RSA Design Brief: A Platform for Joy - How might we unlock joy for people at train stations?
Find more about The RSA at https://www.thersa.org/action-and-research/rsa-projects/design/student-design-awards
A system and product design for supplying users of public transport with information about the nature and state of the service in an engaging way, with the help of visual media.
“...an intense, momentary experience of positive emotion that makes us smile and laugh and feel like we want to jump up and down.”
Aesthetics of Joy:
— Fettel Lee (2018)
Joy can be described as a little sparkle of positive emotions. A shining dot brightening a moment that is set on a longer timeline (of one day, week, month, etc.).
The emphasis is on feeling good in the moment, right now. However, in the context of designing joy, we also need to consider the user, the environment, and the frequency of the interaction.
People rely on the railway to get them to work, home and to friends and family. How we feel about our journey can have a big effect on our overall well-being.
Train station visitors come from various parts of the world and the journey can be different for every single one. Just as the final destination may vary for most, the expectations and standards will be different.
When designing positive emotions we have to consider the factor of hedonic adaptation and what role does it play in the intervention. People adapt - things that once gave us joy eventually lose that ability and become expected. Since the user category is a wide spectrum and the frequency of use varies from daily visits to once a year trips, we should focus on how we can make the journey more enjoyable for the long term.
Stations are symbols of the location. They are places of transit - allowing people to wait, board, and commute with ease.
+ urban/rural, large/small, old/new
+ open space, nature
+ multicultural meeting point
reflection of life at the platform
a crowd of people = a sea of information
depart 09.15 Platform 2
depart 09.58 Platform 6
Why are we focusing so much on the visual reflection of life?
Observations from local railway station revealed that the visitors presented a tendency to isolate themselves, paying little attention to their surroundings, unless they were in a group. Most were equipped with headphones, a smartphone, book, etc. which reduced their ability to experience the world around them.
This behavior is further examined by Epley, N., & Schroeder, J. (2014) Mistakenly seeking solitude. Journal of Experimental Psychology.
"Connecting with others increases happiness, but strangers in close proximity routinely ignore each other. Why? Two reasons seem likely: Either solitude is a more positive experience than interacting with strangers, or people misunderstand the consequences of distant social connections."
The challenge that came with creating a 'reflection of life at the platform' was in accessing the information about the visitors without violating their privacy.
The process had to be simplified. Therefore, the final concept relies on a system that is well developed and used in most public transport services - tickets.
Each ticket, once it is validated at the gate, represents an individual with all the necessary information.
This leads to an overall simplification of the reflection idea where people are represented by dots that are set into motion by an algorithm.
With this project, we hope to create awareness by mirroring the movement of passengers. How? With a Passenger Information System and a wayfinding strategy that evolves with the environment. Signifying the number of passengers could help individuals be more aware of fellow commuters or to choose a less packed train. While also providing important train information with a colour assigned to each platform which makes it easy to navigate.