Over the past two years, I’ve led walking tours of the architecture of downtown San Francisco. The tour is offered as a conference activity, usually in the afternoon of a “workshop” day. I’ve led such tours at the O’Reilly Design conference (2017) and Enterprise UX (2017 and 2018.)
The tour gives user experience designers a firsthand understanding of how people form mental images of physical environments. We also examine the forces that gave the city its present form — social, commercial, political, regulatory, etc. — and how that form continues to evolve. As we move around the city, we discuss how these insights apply to the design of information environments.
Due to the constraints of moving and addressing a larger group in a busy urban setting, we cap participation at fifteen people. The activity takes around two and a half hours.
Besides being a great learning experience, the walking around looking at architecture is also a lot of fun. It’s a memorable way for participants to gain professional insights beyond the confines of usual conference settings.