Alastair Somerville

Jul 18, 2016

2 min read

Journey maps and a sense of scale

I’ve been thinking about the Playable City competition for 2016 on cities and journeys lately.

I was prototyping a few ideas over the weekend. Drawing some diagrams of user journeys and making a walking stick

Prototype of walking stick for user journey mapping

Experience of journey not length of journey matters

Valuing small moments

I worry that digital projects are trapped by data creation. More data shows more impact.

What this does is invalidate small moments.

That can exclude people who are unable to physically or cognitively make the effort required to make a journey that is counted.

For a child, for a person with chronic illnesses, for an older person, for a person working long hours, for a person on minimum wages, for a person uncertain of their right to be in a place; a short journey can be a huge thing.

Yet all that intent and meaning is invisible. They are too small to count, too tiny in amongst the data sets.

Having a sense of scale

So, for both the Playable City and also my work in usability, I keep wondering about tools and ways of recording and validating journeys of whatever length.

The physical length and the temporal length are not the point.

It is the intent, the emotion, the meaning that matter.

We have tools that easily measure the first but not the second.

How do we do more?

How do we understand human scale better?

Sensory Design Consultant, usability researcher and workshop facilitator. Twitter @acuity_design & @visceralUX

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