Journeys in the City: Empathising With the Users of Transport Buildings

Harding, John Edwin; Luck, Rachael and Dalton, Nicholas (2016). Journeys in the City: Empathising With the Users of Transport Buildings. In: Proceedings of the ID@50 Integrated Design Conference 2016 (Emmitt, Stephen and Adeyeye, Kemi eds.), University of Bath, Bath, pp. 324–335.



Accessibility is a considerable and growing issue in the design of many public buildings including vital high use buildings such as train stations. Yet research methods for these buildings are poor. This paper suggests that one new approach to design is to use immersive, auto-ethnographic methods to achieve an empathetic understanding of design needs. The paper asks: what can we learn about the mobility requirements of station users when we are immersed in a train station environment, and what mobile research methods can we use to begin to explore this?
The paper reports on a study that used video diaries to explore Canary Wharf Station in a November evening rush hour in dry conditions, and specifically to study passenger behaviours on an island platform within the station. The analysis focused on how to improve mobility in the station from a user’s perspective. This use of auto-ethnography is discussed as part of a broader methodological debate about how to explore universal design issues from a user’s perspective, and in the context of empathetic design

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