People are too smart for choice architecture sometimes

Industrial designer and engineer Dan Lockton, who writes insightfully about designing things for the Homer Simpsons of the world at Architectures of Control, warns would-be-designers about the unintended consequences of intended designs. In a presentation he recently gave at Brunel University, Lockton noted that these 30,000£ “anti-loitering” benches in Oxford, England, were designed and approved by the city council in the hopes that they would prevent people from sitting on them (and prevent homeless people from sleeping on them at night). The seats are too high and too sloped to sit comfortably on.

Of course what do people do?

Maybe the city council shouldn’t have bought 8 benches in one purchase. (Photos are from Lockton’s slide show, which you can view here.)

Addendum: Lockton offers some preliminary thoughts on Nudge in a post today, and says he’s likely to have more to say in the future. If you want to see how thorough a reader Lockton is, click here. He has our greatest appreciation for his investment of time.

One Response to “People are too smart for choice architecture sometimes”

  1. Anittah Patrick Says:

    Why bother spending public funds on something so useless? Perhaps there’s something written into the code that requires X benches, but geez …

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