Elevators smell different to short people
Tuesday, 21 April 2015
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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