A framework for thinking about people

Before we dive into the methods, let’s get situated.

This course will give you the tools to think more deeply about people. Our perspective is that where deep thinking and learning about people’s needs and contexts occurs, good cycling infrastructure follows. Mistakes in infrastructure design often happen because of a lack of fundamental understanding of the everyday person’s cycling needs. These methods will bring your thinking to a place where people are at the center of your decisions so that you do not run into these misunderstandings.

The methods we will present you to do this take inspiration from the fields of user experience design, usability, and human-centered design. These are people-oriented design fields: meaning, the human component is an important part of them. Note that they traditionally focus on a different context (digital interfaces and products). Their use to us is in how they connect an exploration of people with the design of products. Think of them as a lens to help us think more deeply about people in the context of cycling and the street environment.

So, before we go into the methods we would like you to be aware of these fields. In the next lesson, we have selected videos that we think explain them well. Depending on your familiarity of the fields, please take 30-60 minutes watching these videos and thinking about the accompanying reflection questions.

When watching, remember our context of how we want to make them useful: fitting the bike into people’s everyday lives.

Fit the bike into people’s lives (icon credit: Flaticon & The Noun Project)
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