Human Scale

Human Scale
Dec 20th, 2009

This may seem like its a bit off topic for us as user experience professionals, but if you look closer, its actually very much related to what we do.  This is a video from the PBS series called .  This particular segment on Portland, Oregon’s focus on human scale in city design.  This basically means the city has been designed to give you a sense of place.  As someone who was born and raised in Portland I can tell you it is truly one of the most livable cities in America.

The interesting take away here is that this same concept can be applied to creating websites, web applications, devices and information systems. Too often we design our experiences for users as if they are a commodity rather than a human being.  Things like greater conversion rates, increase in traffic, higher price per order, lower shopping cart abandonment, etc draw our focus.  Through this we lose sight of how to really treat the user with respect and a little bit of decency.  We should put more thought into humanity’s use of the things we design rather than simply just the efficiencies of our designs.

About the author

Nick Finck is a user experience professional who has dabbled in the web for over a decade. He specializes in information architecture, interaction design, usability and user research. Read more

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