Friday, 19 March 2010

Do we all see the same way?

Ive often wondered if the way I see the world is the same as the way everyone else sees it?. Is the image of red that I have the same as your image?, does velvet feel soft one way and rough the other or is it only me who has had that experience?. This is something I have become extremely interested in, following a podcast I listened to recently called "super recognisers". The podcast discussed prosopagnosia which is the inability to recognise faces. Some cases of this are so severe that sufferers can't even recognise their own reflection. On the other side of the spectrum there are people who are super recognisers. Researchers into this area have discovered that these super recognisers do see the world differently, or at least the world of faces. They somehow see a face in such a way that it is permanently fixed in their memory's. They often claim that they can recognise a person equally as well even if they have aged dramatically since their first meeting. These people prove to us that the world is seen differently through different peoples eyes. Another example of this is colour blindness. We call this a blindness which suggests that these people have something wrong with the way they see, but what if there was nothing wrong with it at all ? What if these people we diagnose with colour blindness simply have a more recognisable difference in the way they see ?. Perhaps their colour wheel has only shifted round slightly where most peoples have flipped equally. This would explain why people would agree that certain colours are similar. Maybe we all like the same colour but because e all see colour differently it appears that we all like different colours.
This is the sort of thing that keeps me up at night. Recently Ive been trying to relate these things to my studies in design. Ive found that this in particular is extremely relevant. It should transform the way we think about design, the colours we use and the shapes we use. How could we make a product appeal to as many people as possible?. What colour is best to use when trying to attract a particular type of person? what could we do as designers to create a design for people who see differently to view the same way?. This intensifies the importance for knowing your consumer market. It is as important to know who you are designing for as it is to know what you are designing.

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