As a pregnant London commuter, my mate Tash sometimes does get a seat on the train, but sometimes she doesn't. However if she does get a seat, it's usually offered by a man.
I hypothesise that this is possibly to do with the fact that she is a very attractive lady, and a guy may notice her out of the corner of his eye, do a double take and then notice the huge belly. And as soon as the belly is noticed that is all that is needed to offer up a seat.
So we just need something to be an attention-grabber, and then once the attention is grabbed we just need to notice the ‘seat needer’, and then because we are not inhuman will offer up our seats. Anything that helps the ‘seat needer’ to be noticed should benefit them.
The Baby on Board badges issued by TfL are great (as they help with the reduction of the mistaken-fat-but-not-pregnant fear) as long as they are noticed. But they are not actually that noticeable. If the methods used by top brand managers were brought in here, then creating a distinctive looking badge that was of a particularly unusual colour, shape or emblem would possibly be more effective if people got to recognise the 'brand' over time. The badges currently look a bit like a London underground badge – out of the corner of your eye you wouldn't associate that with a pregnant woman needing a seat. But what if you saw a yellow diamond shape badge, similar to those stuck on the back window of cars?
And what about the stickers on the windows of buses and tubes asking us to 'please give up your seat'? Do we still see these stickers, or are they just part of the tube-carriage malaise that we have come to expect? What would happen if those stickers were redesigned to look different so that they were actually read (and thought about) again?
Hmmm… well there is only one way to find out I guess... and that is to test it…
By Liz Akers