URBAN USER EXPERIENCE DESIGN.
FOR THE REAL WORLD.
Urban UX - UUX - has grown out of the long-established design partnership of Mangion & Lightfoot, now in its 21st year. Founding partners Matthew Mangion and Mark Lightfoot are graduates of leading London design schools. Both have a driving passion for how design impacts users and they understand how to use design to enhance the brand experience.
Since their first major branding project in 1997 for Arkadia, they have been delivering design solutions for websites, award-winning apps, branding, packaging and of course, wayfinding and signage. Communication design has many applications, and the most exciting and impactful one manifests in what they are now referring to "Urban User Experience Design". Analogous to User Experience Design for computer-based systems, the partners have developed a way to apply heuristics, behaviour, information and communication design to develop solutions for how we interface with the built environment.
Initially working with sign systems and urban and street furniture, the application of wayfinding and circulation design has resulted in the new Urban UX practice and service brand UUX®. Think of it like this: from finding your way around outdoor spaces, large urban centres, living in and around the built environment, users need specific functional elements to enable the best possible experience. Just like the menus, and design cues that are so familiar from websites and our online lives, so too those that govern our offline, urban lives.
From outdoor to indoor, people need help to both understand and make sense of the world around them - and how to navigate and use it. You look for guidance - is it that way? Where do I want to go? Can you show me the way? We always say 'The questions of usability should be answered before they have been asked'. Can I sit down? Where can I park my bike? Where can I throw this paper away? I need shade. I need somewhere to rest. My children need somewhere to play. Can I find my car in the car park! Can I find the car park?
These are all elements of an urban user experience at the ‘interface level’ and we provide ways for our users to enjoy and benefit from interaction with the environment. As we live our lives traversing these urban interfaces – the streets, buildings, transport nodes, different types of services, utilities – we need to give more time and thought to our physical spaces and remember the importance of user experience design for the real world.