Every day we navigate a space designed by others. Or, to be more precise, a series of spaces designed in specific ways to address specific situations: the path we take from our door to our destinations will follow a specifically designed path: roads, sidewalks, carparks, bus stops, benches. Everything. Everything we encounter impacts our life. Everything is an interface. In an ideal city, where designers, ux experts and architects are working together (and possibly with artists and philosphers too but I digress…), the final result is an environment where we are assisted in adopting effortlessly the most natural and logical solution to every situation.
Let’s imagine the following scenario, in example:
When designing a bus stop in sunny Rome, it makes perfect sense to have a bench available nearby; similarly it makes sense to have the the waste bins not too far.
One can easily imagine a person leaving home with their trash on their way to work. So, the ideally designed space is a bus stop, with a bench, with waist bins nearby.
Now take these ingredients and apply them in the roman way: you place the bins IN the bus stop; you place the bench right IN FRONT of the waste bins.
Bus cannot stop on the side of the road, causing traffic jams. People waiting for the bus cannot use the bench without being exposed to the constant opening and closing of the bins, and they are in the way of people disposing of their trash, who are of course a nuisance for those who are there just waiting for the bus.
Additionally, the bus stop in Rome operates on demand: people waiting at the bus are supposed to show themselves to the bus driver and signal with the arm that they want the bus to stop. The waste bins make them almost invisible to the driver and make accessing the bus a dangerous (and often stinky) odyssey.
The overall user experience is a disaster and all this happens because everything in this scenario has been set with a complete ignorance of the the simplest principle of design.