Friday, March 18, 2011

Designing for the constrained spaces of an airplane

It is interesting that in my plane trips, I tend to look at how the the overall designs of the spaces centring around the customers' experiences tend to be rather ingenius. Ingenius in the sort of way that they are still functional, but yet not necessarily lacking in its availability to pander to (almost) most of the usual needs that a passenger would want on a flight...and maybe more! Space constraits aside, I am always amused at firstly, the design of the aisle and the seats, of how a high degree of optimisation must have gone through the minds of the seat designers when they were conceptualising its designs. It certainly brought me back to the good old days during my post-graduate studies, when optimisation studies and operations research were 2 of my specialisation areas.

And who can forget the swiss-army-like concept in the toilets. The kind that perhaps would put some of our pulic toilets to shame. Barring the squeezy nature, what surprises me from an ergonomical and anthropometrical points of view is how everything seems to be within reach and arranged in a certain orderly yet logical way. However i would love it even more if they could just make the toilet roll a little more to the front of the seats, rather than at the back.

And who can forget meal-times, the sight of the stewardesses sashaying down the aisle to hand out the airline's version of MRE's (meals ready-to-eat) is usually a welcoming one to most (hungry) passengers, unless of course you were beginning to think that they must have been cooked by your evil mother-in-law from your previous live/marriage! And what surprises me about these meals was also about how some of the small design details that must have taken place back in the design studios. Two examples that I have managed to capture in my recent trips are as shown below.
The first picture shows how a portion of a cornflake meal is also packaged with enough milk at its top. Hence instead of having the flakes and milk as separate entities, they are combined in a single packaging.

The second one is a little easier to see, but what surprises me is the non-necessity of such design, but then it might just be my opinion. They perhaps dipped one end of the 2-pointed toothpick into a green dye, to allow its users to differentiate the different ends. Perhaps its a small gesture of design thinking, but it certainly was enough to make me wonder whether I might have missed out on anything else!

And perhaps I have....!

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1 comment:

GWong said...

Yes! I’ve always marvelled at how well designed aeroplanes are! :)