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Designing with Users

By B. Berrett and P.G. Hopkinson

Abstract

1.1 The past 2-3 years has seen a resurgence of interest in the creation of pedestrian priority places. This interest has largely been stimulated by the advent of "traffic calming". There are two important differences however, compared to previous phases of interest in "pedestrian issues". Firstly, the emphasis is shifting beyond the town centre to residential and district centres. Secondly the interest is stimulated as much by `green issues' as by `pedestrian issues', meaning that people's interests are much broader than merely improving conditions for pedestrians. \ud \ud This new concern has led to fresh attention being focused on the design of pedestrian places and design processes. This attention is not only relevant to pedestrian places. All around us are transport systems, facilities and structures which at some point have been "designed". All too often these extensively researched projects still create dissatisfaction amongst the people who use them. The reasons for this dissatisfaction are numerous and need to be understood in order to provide better work and design in the future. \ud \ud In this paper we discuss how we might set about designing such places in order to produce satisfaction to these people who have to use them. We argue that the appropriate method should be a user-centred design. We define what this means and compare it with more conventional perspectives/approaches to design. For simplicity we have shown in Figure 1 the essence of the user-centred approach to design. \ud \ud 1.2 The term `design' is used to mean the exercise of a process to bring together all the requirements of the space and an endeavour to satisfy these requirements. Design as here used deals with the issues of function, cost, timing and effectiveness in use. The intangible functions of safety, comfort, attractiveness, visual appearance, respect for location are included, not just the usual interpretation of "Design" by non-designers, who think of it solely as the aesthetic aspects. Design is interpreted to mean an understanding of a continuing process - not just the first design of the project. But most importantly, here, design means design in terms of satisfaction of the user, not just satisfaction of the designer! The term `user' refers to those people who will have to live, work, shop, visit, walk around, drive through or look at the final project

Publisher: Institute of Transport Studies, University of Leeds
Year: 1991
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.whiterose.ac.uk:2233

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