Author: Shrutin Shetty
Could Musical Roads address Global Speeding and Road Safety
There are roads in Hungary that plays music!
A musical road was first created in 1995 Denmark, by two artists. Given how brilliant a concept, I wonder why its Danish origins seem almost obvious. Just like the concept of hygge and especially Lego.
Musical roads also exist in other countries like Hungary, Japan, South Korea, the United States, China, Iran, Taiwan, and Indonesia. Many of these are either created by artists, or as in the case of Hungary, in memory of an artist. The Japanese interestingly stumbled upon it by a fortunate accident involving engineer Shizuo Shinoda, who unintentionally scraped some markings on the road with a bulldozer. Driving over that section created tunes.
[Read more on musical roads here].
Once you get past the amazement of musical roads in general, you can’t help realize the possible solution it presents for controlling speed on roads and highways across the world.
Imagine popular tunes are recreated onto roads notorious for speeding. Anyone going faster or slower than the popular tune that a road plays, which would be adapted for the speed range on that road, riding or driving outside that range would simply sound..wrong.
And it might nudge you to adjust your speed to within the prescribed limit! 💡
If the installations are affordable and convenient to install/remove, they could be updated with the latest tracks regularly, to keep up with times.
Another aspect that might contribute to its possible effectiveness is the fact that unlike the car music system, it cannot be turned off. The flipside of course, is the possibility of teens (the usual suspects and culprits of speeding) intentionally speeding to make the tune sound funny.
A subsequent study could perhaps look into finding any correlations between those who tend to speed, and those who don’t have a ear for music… 😉
[The musical road – Hungary](https://youtu.be/rM5oX0KbtUw)
How About a Mass Behavioural Improvement before India’s 100th Independence Day
The beautiful tri-colour waving at Connaught Place, Central Park, Delhi.
It’s 75 years since India got Independence!
A proud milestone for all of us Indians. Also one to reflect on and carefully choose the path forward.
I happened to read a 75th Independence Day post on Instagram a short while ago, that took a crude jab at the Brits.
What I found amusing is I believe it captures a common trait among many of us Indians.
This is obviously not a political post. It is a behavioural one though.
It has been 75 years!
Our media never misses an opportunity to find Indian connections to the Royal family..
There’s a massive Indian population living in the UK..
We dream of holidaying in the UK..
We dream of owning cars and motorbikes from the UK region..
..but still have this unaddressed anger of sorts. I mean come on, it has been 75 years ffs!
Thing is, I have experienced this type of misplaced emotion myself as well.
As a 7-8 year old, one of the early deaths of a loved one was that of my grandfather. He had already suffered a stroke, and subsequently died of a heart attack.
I remember struggling to come to terms with it, and told a cousin that I wish a person had caused it, so that perhaps I could find a rational channel for my anger and more importantly my sadness.
So I wonder, is it something broken in our education system, or in how we bring up our children, not discussing or not knowing how to discuss tough or uncomfortable topics, that causes us to grow up to become anger-filled, cynical adults who, as Steve Buscemi (Garland Greene in Con Air) describes someone saying,
“He’s a font of misplaced rage.
Name your cliche. Mother held him too much, or not enough.
Last picked at kick ball, late-night sneaky uncle. Whatever.
Now he’s so angry, moments of levity actually cause him pain.”
And this is not just the case with India. Other countries around the world, some in Europe and South America too, display a similar general trend of latent anger or cynicism amongst its people.
Better understanding of this behavioural pattern might help us address it, so we can reach our true potential, as individuals, and as a country. Let us improve multi-fold by our 100th Independence Day.
Mobile Apps and Habits
If you are trying to create a new habit or trying to use a mobile app more regularly, you would obviously have better luck if you placed the app on the Favourites row. It could be a planner app, an e-book reader, a food-tracking or exercise app, or whatever else.
But it is possible that row is limited and filled with other important apps like the caller app, browser, camera, etc.
So in case you use a page-type layout for apps, the next best option after the Favourites row, is to place that important app in the row just above the Favourites row or in the top row. Because either of these is where your general gaze goes to each time you look at your phone.
If you use a Menu layout with apps (or app folders) on a vertically-scrolled grid, you might be better off placing the important app in the absolute middle row, or the topmost or lowest row.
When you use your phone the next few times, observe which section (top, or lower) of the phone you pay attention to.
Or without checking on your phone, try to think of one or more apps that you think are on the top and bottom (one above Favourites) row on your phone. Placing the important app in that row will remind you to use that app more regularly.
If you aren’t in the habit of rearranging the layout of apps on your phone, key apps that you believe might help you improve on some front, will have a greater tendency to remain downloaded but forgotten or seldom used.
Questions and thoughts welcome.
The Hostile World for Women
Many years ago as a student, I was on a bus traveling between two states. The bus stopped in a small town, and many of us passengers stepped out to relive ourselves. On one edge of the bus stand, beyond an open gate, was a swamp.
Since there were far more people than toilets, and given the short duration of the stop, the teenage me headed toward the swamp. A few elders standing along the path to the swamp figured the obvious reason I was headed there. In an animated manner, they seemed to caution me using a word in the language of the state. They kept repeating it. I was familiar with the word. In my limited vocabulary, it meant swamp or small water body or something. I smiled and waved them a friendly ‘don’t worry about it’ and walked past, stood on the edge of the swamp and got to it.
During the rest of the journey, the word of caution from those villagers kept playing in my head. That’s when realization hit that there also exists an almost identical, phonetically slightly different word in the same language. One that translated to water snake! So much for risky relieving business.
But unlike that incident, even the most normal seeming public toilets (including the ones at malls) can seem equally daunting for women. From lights not working, to male staff being assigned to clean them, it is no less scary than the risk of those water snakes.
Heel Rollers – Not a great Design
Plastic Diet – Trying to Predict Big Pharma’s Next Big Thing
Since plastic is pretty much an inescapable part of our diets now, and since we humans are inclined to prefer selling/buying a solution rather than inconveniencing ourselves with rollbacks or preventive efforts, my prediction for big pharma is that their next big offering will be pills (or some other form) of supplements to help digest that plastic.
An old, related post: Choosing a business opportunity to avoid change.
Product Design – Bottle Necks
I recently got some (plastic 😬) bottles for home.
Not proud of it. But anyway, I noticed a small design anomaly with them.
Normally, the neck of most bottles are only slightly shorter than their lids.
Now while these bottles are fine otherwise (except, plastic!), I wonder how many people who’ve bought them have unintentionally spilled water on themselves while drinking.
When we reach out for a bottle, we unconsciously gauge the height of the neck (also the mouth diameter), and the brain magically calculates an approximate “how much to tilt”…
But with these bottles, that seems a little misleading. You expect a taller neck than the lid hides, which means water will be out at a smaller angle of tilt than one expects.
Ideally, always either match or exceed (i.e. err on the safer side of) user perception.
This bottle’s neck design is like having a negative margin of safety.
Say a product has a 100 kg payload limit. It is designed with a margin of safety, meaning it will deform or buckle above 100 kg (maybe at 110, or at 120 or even higher), not exactly at 100. But then imagine another similar product with the same 100 kg payload claim, but one that buckles at 95.
This bottle neck is that. Not always desirable.
How the Future of Text Content Should Be
As our attention spans go from low to almost non-existent in an increasingly noisy world, I get especially wary whenever I need to read a verbose report. Especially ones with unusually large paragraphs. You know it might be important, but just the way it is structured makes it very difficult to read to the end. Not to mention all those hours of sleep you missed over the years seems to visit you all together.
When texting friends or colleagues about topics of interest, I tend to type some longish messages myself. But what I have been doing, is structuring them in a manner that I think makes it a little easier for someone to read. I’m not exactly sure how effective it is, but in my opinion, going forward, it might be easier for people to read text content across platforms (websites, news articles, blog posts, social media posts, tweets, etc.) if you toss the traditional paragraph and format it the way I have been…
This here is a paragraph I pasted from the Creative Commons site. And below it is the same paragraph in my ‘attempt to make it more readable’ format…
Use Creative Commons tools to help share your work. Our free, easy-to-use copyright licenses provide a simple, standardized way to give your permission to share and use your creative work— on conditions of your choice. You can adopt one of our licenses by sharing on a platform, or choosing a license below.
How I think it should be to make it easier to read+understand:
Use Creative Commons tools
to help share your work.
Our free, easy-to-use copyright licenses
provide a simple, standardized way
to give your permission to share and use your creative work— on conditions of your choice.
You can adopt one of our licenses
by sharing on a platform,
or choosing a license below.
While this format would be horrible to available space and formats and layouts we are familiar with, it might just help your audience better understand more complex thoughts you are trying to convey.
Product Use and Experience – Range and Layers
There is a beauty to how some products (and software) are designed.
Think scissors. If we want to cut something fast, we use the forward section of the blades (speed multiplier). Want to cut something fatter or tougher, use the rear end of the blades (effort multiplier); and cut slower, or risk breaking the scissors.
And Mixer grinders. Need to grind coffee beans to a powder? Start with the low speed, and slowly increase. Jump to the highest speed fast, and you could damage the blades or motor.
Cars (MT) and commuter bikes follow a similar rule. More torque for climbing on lower gears, and better speed on higher gears. Try climbing in a high gear, and you’ll stall. Go fast in a lower gear (or drop to a low gear at high speed), and you wear out the gear.
Think Software. I’ve always admired the MS Office suite. Layered, so novices like the teenage us got some basic fun. And as our task complexity deepened, the software opened up to keep pace.
Physical products have manuals. Tech service cos would benefit if they spelt out the expertise/ features they offered. Many of us use online services not knowing half their features; many of which could simplify our work or make things more enjoyable.
Make layers appear as the user gets ready for them.