user research

STREET ASSESSMENT DESIGN WORKSHOP

The whole HERE+NOW research team had a really productive design workshop this morning as part of a series of Public Life Street Assessment projects we are currently working on for client the City of Edinburgh Council.   We have been looking at a total of 5 different local town centres across Edinburgh (Leith Walk, Bruntsfield/Morningside, Portobello, Stockbridge and Nicolson/Clerk St) to research and analyse these key public realm spaces and their potential for increased public life.   

Following the 'on-the-street' research and data collection using direct observational methodologies inspired by Jan Gehl (amongst many others), the team analyse this qualitative and quantitative data in detail, learning from a mix of pedestrian counts, behavioural mapping, street auditing, test walks and user interviews with locals to help identify the existing movement and place function of the town centre. We then go on to use this analysis to help start to form suggested design responses and ideas for actions aimed at helping to improve public life in the public realm - from shorter term 'quick wins', through to pilot studies and longer term design responses - all grounded in solid and in-depth research of the public realm and how its users experience the street environment.  

It's a brilliant process to go through - mixing quantitative and qualitative research methodologies based on user experience, followed up with rigorous data analysis and then the transformation of this research into a plan for action and suggested solutions using our design team comprised of landscape architects, urban designers and planners.  We are really passionate about this work and thrilled to be involved in projects such as this which combine research with engagement and design to start to create potential solutions to help improve both public life and the quality of the pedestrian environment in these town centre street spaces.   Find out more here

TAKING DESIGN TO THE STREETS

The HERE + NOW team took to the streets last week to do some face-to-face user research about how people local to Canonmills, Edinburgh, feel about their local area. Check out our video of this process below.

We call this a 'PREP Talk' - a preparation and information gathering event -  asking the people who use and experience a place how they feel about it at present, and what their hopes and aspirations are for the future.  The  'PREP Talk' provided  essential feedback that can then be 'fed forward' to help set the agenda for the follow-up PEP Talk event.  Who knows better what improvements their local places need than the people who live or regularly pass through there?

This is linked to our concept of  'User Experience Design for Place-making'. A focus on user-centred, participatory, iterative and bottom-up approaches to both engage people in place and provide a framework within which local people can meet each other, share their views, and work together to take action to improve their local places.

Following this initial phase of talking to local people about their experiences, we then bring the community, local businesses and other stakeholders together through events, talks and discussions to help kick-start action for improving their local places...  'PEP Talks'. They are about People Engaging in Place, a call to action and a kick-starter for local communities to work together and drive positive change. All whilst having a good time and meeting other interesting people! More on the PEP Talk series soon..

Thanks to Architecture + Design Scotland for their support in developing this process!

 

PEP Talks / PREP Talks from Jenny Humberstone on Vimeo.

HERE + NOW take to the streets to do some face-to-face user research about how people local to Canonmills feel about their local area. We call this a 'PREP Talk' - preparation and research ahead of a PEP Talk event. At a PEP Talk we then bring stakeholders together through discussion and talks to help kick-start action for improving their local places.