Designers have to constantly remember who they are designing for.
While it might sound like a resounding DUH, people who are new to the practice might not be able to imagine how this plays out. The truth is, designers must be able to critically pinpoint unique cultural practicalities to ensure that their created spaces are indeed tailor-fit for the intended users. *nosebleed*
What I’m really trying to say is: there are many things people don’t notice about differences in cultures that make them very different to design for. Remember, we are all people and we all need much of the same thing (a place to sit, a place to eat). But that doesn’t mean design moves that work in the USA will be effective in the Philippines.
Allow me to state an example.
Right now, we need more Umbrella holders than Raincoat holders in Philippine spaces.
This is easy to observe. But think about it, shouldn’t the Philippines make the move and shift to more widespread Raincoat use? I mean, hello, our rain here is hella strong. We need all the protection we can get. It seems silly that Western countries like the United States have a greater percentage of raincoat users when their rains aren’t as brutal as ours. WE MUST START A RAINCOAT MOVEMENT IN THE PHILIPPINES! -_-
This is where the thinking of the designer kicks in.
While the above statement is true, you need to look past what’s physically obvious and understand the intricacies behind the two different cultures. In the USA, the “in” thing is to own your own car. Private transportation is more of the norm there. But in the Philippines, public transportation “rains” supreme. Imagine the hassle it would cause you (and the other passengers) to board a jeep wearing a drenched raincoat.
Not to say raincoats have no use in our country. I’m just saying umbrellas are still generally more effective in the Philippines because of the way we get to place to place. It’s a little detail that a designer must get right, but it does mean a lot in reducing hassle and optimizing efficiency.
I learned this from Prof. MLV Santos’ Urban Design Class.