My travels in Europe took me to Barcelona twice. Originally it wasn’t on my list of places I wanted to go, but after talking with a friend and enduring a very long German winter I was ready for some place warm. When my friends and I arrived in Barcelona I quickly fell in love with the city. Every where you look is interesting. It’s like my eyes were happy.
Growing up in Kansas in the midwest you learn to appreciate wide open spaces. Barcelona was the complete opposite of that. My eyes learned to be lazy in Kansas because when you look at a wheat field you pretty much know what you’re going to find every where you look, your eyes glaze over the details. In Barcelona there was so much detail everywhere! On the buildings, in the architecture, in the graffiti that covered the buildings. The people, the stores, the fountains, the culture, everything was a feast for starved eyes.
We arrived at the Airport outside the city and traveled by bus into the city. We stayed in the Gothic Quarter which was probably one reason there was so much detail. Walking from the bus stop to our hotel we passed the Arc de Triomf. First of all the warm air was glorious, and secondly seeing the Arc with all the palm trees up and down the street in front of it was truly like we had picked the right place, it was a much needed change from the clouds where we had come from.
When we arrived it was my birthday, so after stopping at our hotel (Hotel Catalonia Born very nice hotel) we went to have cupcakes at a little bakery that was very close. We also had lunch outside at a nearby cafe and found out that in Barcelona there is an extra tax if you eat outside. We ate inside the rest of our stay!
The next day we enjoyed a walking tour in the Gothic Quarter, we explored shops, had wonderful Gelato and since it was Sunday we got to go into the Natural History Museum for free.
During my second visit to Barcelona I rented a car and drove from the airport. During that trip I realized that though Barcelona is a large city, and an old city, it is very well organized. When we stayed in the Gothic Quarter we were close enough to all the attractions we walked everywhere. During my second stay it was farther from the beach and we took the metro from the hotel to the pier. It was a straight shot from our hotel to the area we wanted to see, and once you get the hang of the signs in the city it is easy to navigate. We even went to the Gaudi park and traveled back to the pier on the Metro with no troubles.
This leads me to my Web Design inspiration from Barcelona. From my experience in the city I would say that it is clean and organized overall. The design is unique because of all of the details, it might be a little busier than my lazy Kansas eye is used to, but it is distinct and beautiful. I forgot to mention all the tile work everywhere. The Mediterranean, is a big influence so of course the colors that represent Barcelona have to be the sunny colors of the flag, and blue of the ocean.
User Experience takeaway: Even in the most artistic and busy designs you can have an easy organized flow.