Putting Humans in Space

4ward uses experience as the springboard for analysis. Following in the footsteps desire paths laid out by Donald Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things and Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the articles here are built largely from personal experiences, human observations, and interviews.

Are you a researchers, urbanist, citizen, transit user, information designer, and/or human? Share your insights and experiences on transit or in urban spaces through these lenses.

If you’re a human in space, you’re already an expert.





Thinking 4th dimensionally

Three-dimensional representations of a space, such as renderings for complete streets, neglect to account for an additional dimension: how does the experience of the space differ over time? How does the information of the space differ for different users?

What will this information be at another time, for another user?

Thinking 4th dimensionally

The information encoded into the design of a space, and the information that facilitates (or restricts) movement, extends beyond mere signage. This can vary for different users of the same space, effectively creating multiple overlaid ‘information’ layers that are defined by time.

Looking at urban design from these perspectives reveal innovative solutions that promote more equitable access for all users.

What if we thought of Urban Spaces as Interfaces?

What if we thought of Urban Design as a User Experience (UX) problem?

What if we adapted lessons from the design of virtual spaces to help users better understand urban spaces?

4ward is an exploration of the wayfinding + information design + user experience of our shared urban corridors and public spaces.

Wayfinding: Coined in Kevin Lynch’s 1964 work “The Image of the City“, it refers to the information systems and processes that guide people through a physical environment and enhance their understanding and experience of the space. It is not limited to visual signage.

Information Design: This is the practice of presenting information in a way that makes it most accessible and easily understood by users. This multidisciplinary field involves the use of graphics, visual arts, and technology to structure and organize data so that it communicates effectively

User Experience: Often referred to as ‘UX’, this is a person’s emotions and attitudes about using a particular product, system, or service.

Dwayne Ali

B.A., M.A.

Dwayne Ali is a communications consultant and digital media developer with a passion for wayfinding, transit, and urban design as seen through a UI/UX lens. He has worked with clients in North America, Asia, South America, Europe and the Caribbean. He has degrees in History, Multimedia, and Communications/Digital Media. His Masters research (“Designing the Urban Interface”) focused on using UI and UX strategies for wayfinding and the design of urban space.

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