Blog task 2

On Monday 4 August I observed the activity at Macleod station waiting area while the 6.50am, 7.02am and 7.12am citybound trains came and went.

Approximately 50 commuters arrived, waited and caught each train. The only other person using this space at this time is running the small kiosk.

The physical space has been described more thoroughly in Designed for a purpose. As a reference I’ve included my sketch from that post.

Macleod Station

I also used a very brief window of opportunity, when the area was empty as a train arrived, to capture this panorama.

This picture shows the kiosk which isn’t visible in the panorama.Macleod station kiosk

This is what I observed:

  • People enter and walk through to the platform to check when the next train will arrive and swipe their Myki card. They then either continue down the platform or return to the waiting area. People coming back in sometimes create congestion at the doorway.
  • The waiting area is warmer than outside (an unusually cold -2C on this day)
  • Every time the doors open (entrance or exit to platform) cold air rushes in.
  • There is very little attention paid to the information posters that are on most walls and display boards although two people look at a poster advertising trains being replaced by buses next weekend.
  • As more people arrive the seats start to fill but there are lots of gaps, no one sits immediately adjacent to anyone else unless they arrived together (presumably have a pre-existing relationship).
  • Very few people speak unless they arrived together (see above); are apologising to people queuing behind for taking a long time to top-up their Myki; or are making a purchase at the kiosk. Occasional comments about how cold it is are heard.
  • No one is speaking on a phone but many people are using their phones for other purposes.
  • I hear heels clicking, Myki machine beeps, the vending machine fridge motor, doors opening and closing, wheels of rolling cases, espresso machine, station announcements.
  • I feel warmer being inside but the hard plastic seats are cold. The whole environment is an emotionally cold place.
  • The kiosk is not very busy but does provide a pleasant smell of coffee. The people who do purchase coffee or other items seem to be regulars as they greet, are greeted by and chat with the man serving . One is even asked about his weekend. He only makes 3 coffees while I am observing.
  • The waiting area empties as station announcements (usually pre-recorded but once from a real person broadcasting from within the customer service area) indicate the approach of the next train. Each time one or two people who have gotten off the train exit through the waiting area. The next wave of people start arriving.

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4 thoughts on “Blog task 2

  1. It’s one of the intersting things we all spend a lot of time doing – waiting. How do we make waiting zones more friendly, more inviting and more socially constructive. one of the comments that really struck me in the readings was the ideas (and it was referring to schools, but i think it’s true of design anywhere really) ia that “school [but equally any public place] about social systems and these need to be integral to the design – not just current ones but the ones you want to engender.” (from  Dear Architect: The Vision Of Our Future School: Walker Technology College
    Engine Service Design & Walker Technology College.).
    What is the society we want to engender? how we behave when we travel, when we are among “strangers”, says a lot about who we are and who we could be…

  2. Hello Heather,

    I note with interest that you write “The whole environment is an emotionally cold place.” It says to me you have truly immersed yourself in the task of experiencing the space.

    Also, “A well designed artefact is embraced by its audience where as bad design leaves the user confused on uninterested” Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). Your experience tells me this sapce is somewhere between good and bad.

    Thanks for the read.

  3. Beautifully evocative descriptions and observations that really help US have empathy with YOU. Above all, you’ve identified a host of simple problems that, if we solved them, would make everyone’s life SO much better. Can’t wait to see your brief!

  4. This is a SUPERB observation, that really conveys the feeling and mood to someone 12000 miles away – well done. It also identifies a clear number of problems ready to be solved. Looking forward to seeing the brief that comes out of this!

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