Friday, October 27, 2006

order, order

China is in flux when it comes to behaviour, some people think its ok to drive down the middle of the road, others know different. Some people will be queuing while others will completely ignore the queue, genuinely unaware of what the protocol is. There's yet to be an established standard of behaviour.

Japan is probably the absolute opposite, everything is prescribed and explained. No ambiguity is allowed and definition and instructions rule.

Wondering where to stop to allow vehicles to pass? Well, just look for the sign. Wondering where to stand when queuing for a public pay phone? Look for the sign (no photo for that, sorry, but in case you're wondering its about a meter back at a 45 degree angle away from the platform edge).

There's nothing left to chance:

No need to worry about where to stand when waiting for your train, your carriage door will be marked out for you.

And wondering what to do if a woman next to you is being sexually harassed? Follow the instructions on the anti-sexual harassment poster. Well, I assume they are explaining how to intervene (though it also does look like it's explaining how to join in). Either way, there's a guide for everything so there need never be any ambiguity, doubt or confusion.

How does this sort of prescription affect people? If you introduce a new category or product into this market for the first time perhaps your first task is not just selling benefits or affinity but also removing ambiguity about usage and occasion?

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