We organised five User Forums for Heartlands, the regeneration project in Cornwall we work for as Inclusive Design facilitators all year in 2008, together with Yanki Lee of the Helen Hamlyn Centre at the RCA. The User Forums are aimed at testing some ideas that have been developed by the design teams. One of the Forums focused on navigating Heartlands. We worked with ‘extreme users,’ here people with a disability (from being blind to having difficulties with walking or learning), because we expected their needs and ideas to be extra demanding regarding navigation affordances and aids. We used the fruit because we didn’t want to use a very detailed and fixed model of the site. That would have suggested everything is already decided and fixed, and people would probably have hesitated to add trails of nuts to a fancy model.. Unfinished models, call them prototypes, are often best to work with we find.
All User Forums were documented in a highly visual and narrative way to ensure optimal communication of results. Each responsible design team had at least one member participating and they used the documentation to tell the stories to their colleagues.
You can download a more detailed description of STBY’s contribution to the Heartlands project by clicking here. Alternatively, get in contact with Bas, the Project Manager, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.