A desire path is a path that is carved into the ground by foot traffic. This is typically a shortcut that takes the path of least resistance between two commonly traveled points.
Design FailureDesire paths are commonly used as an example of design that fails to consider user experience. This is often a fair analysis. However, in some cases desire paths violate reasonable design principles. For example, they may ignore property rights or cross roads at a dangerous point.
Natural PathsDesire paths may be more useful and visually appealing than alternatives such as paved walkways. For example, a natural path through a playfield avoids destroying the field for recreation such as soccer.
Design by Desire PathIt is possible to leave a property without sidewalks until desire paths form and then pave them. This effectively allows pedestrians to design their own sidewalks.
PreventionIn many cases, designers have objectives beyond paving the most convenient routes for pedestrians. For example, a nature area may want to minimize the land footprint of trials to avoid fragmenting wildlife habitat. Prevention of desire trails may involve information campaigns, signs and barriers.
Path of Least ResistanceIt is common to use the human tendency to take to path of least resistance in design. This may be intended to achieve commercial objectives. For example, a gift shop that offers the shortest path out of a museum.
This is the complete list of articles we have written about user experience.
If you enjoyed this page, please consider bookmarking Simplicable.
© 2010-2023 Simplicable. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction of materials found on this site, in any form, without explicit permission is prohibited.
View credits & copyrights or citation information for this page.