Clipping nails on the tube train

Clipping nails on the tube train

Designers design all sorts of products.

Some of them are small utilities which people take everywhere.

People are a 'wicked problem'.

What this means is that one often doesn't know how they will behave.

Here is an observation of a lady on a tube (underground) train.

She has a nail clipper as a keyring that she carries around.

As she sat down, she decided to start clipping her nails on the train.

She was quite happy and content doing this.

The point of this story is one around observing people.

The product always has a certain design intention behind it.

In this case the purpose of the product is to clip nails.


Designers don't control the context of use, which can have a huge impact on things.

In this case, this lady's understanding of the context of use is very different to ours.

She thinks this is a completely normal thing to do.

We don't.

We are pretty sure that designers of the product wouldn't agree with this.

Reality of the world is that people will still use products in this context.

What is going on here in your view?