Why Did The Policeman Cross the Road?

By Stevyn Colgan

Not so much police intelligence as intelligent policing

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Elevators smell different to short people

Okay. So I'm late to the party. I only recently found out about the revolving cones on pelican crossings.

What? You didn't know either?

Well, they've been there all the time, quietly helping people with sight problems get safely across the road, for years. The small, unassuming plastic or metal cones are positioned on the underside of the 'WAIT' boxes. When the green man lights up, the cone - which has tactile ridges on it - starts spinning.

I mentioned this to my good friend and problem solving chum Huw Williams of Left/Field London over a beer last night and he said, 'Oh yeah, my son told me about it.' Presumably his lad had seen the cones because he's significantly shorter than we are.

That suddenly reminded me of a brilliant anti-child abuse campaign that ran in Spain in 2013. Smart posters were made using lenticular printing - that's where two different images are interleaved and a special transparent ridged surface is placed over the top so that the image changes depending on the angle you view it from. It's often used to create a sense of movement. In this case it presented a different image depending on how tall you are. Adults saw this:

But children saw something quite different:

Anyone taller than 4'5" saw the image of a sad child and the message: 'Sometimes, child abuse is only visible to the child suffering it.' But when a child looked at the ad, they saw a split lip and bruises on the boy's face and a different message: "If somebody hurts you, phone us and we’ll help you' along with a phone number to call.

Brilliantly simple. And a message that a child can see even if accompanied by their abuser, who can't.

It reminded me of that old adage about seeing the world through different eyes (or noses):

Elevators smell different to short people.

Always consider the unique viewpoint of the person(s) your message is aimed at.

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Craig Lewis
 Craig Lewis says:

I knew about the ones that vibrate so people can rest a hand on them until the lights change, but not these. I'm going to look out tomorrow :)

posted 21st April 2015

Ruth Curtis
 Ruth Curtis says:

Such excellent ideas - brilliantly simple and (I hope) effective.
(Why don't Highways Agencies test/know enough about drop kerbs to make sure they are dropped correctly for all necessary wheels (pushchairs, rollators etc) to get up/down safely? - If only they could see it from users perspective)

posted 23rd April 2015

Paul Hargrove
 Paul Hargrove says:

The title should be "Elevators smell bad to tall people.." :)

posted 23rd April 2015

Craig Lewis
 Craig Lewis says:

'Elevators smell bad' would be a reasonable catch-all and hard to argue against :)

Tangential saying: The Queen must think the world smells of wet paint.

posted 23rd April 2015

Stevyn Colgan
 Stevyn Colgan says:

Ruth - It's a subject that's deserving of a book in its own right!

Ha! I guess, as Paul says, the tall people do get a nostril full of all that body-temperature 'air' emanating from lower down. I know when my dog is on form when standing up from my chair results in my head entering the 'guff zone'.

Craig - That must surely be true about the Queen. She must be high on thinners all the time.

posted 23rd April 2015

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