14 March 2006

Designing environments for people

Last weekend the NY Times featured a piece about IDEO's approach to user-centred environment design, citing a project for Marriott hotels. The Marriott project manager is quoted as saying that she had never used a user-centred process before, "We have built sample rooms, but its more of a d├ęcor approach. This was fundamentally changing the space layout and architecture."

When you're doing user research and integrating it with design as your bread and butter, it's easy to forget there are many design projects in which user consultation plays little or no part. The IDEO recommendations have yet to be proven but the article suggests their research made explicit some hotel guest needs (such as being able to double up a hotel room as a temporary office) that are often not well met.

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