Research Design Connections

Performance-Sapping Noise (12-02-16)

Research by Tamesue confirms that meaningful office noise degrades professional performance.  A press release detailing findings he presented at the 5th Joint Meeting Acoustical Society of America and Acoustical Society of Japan reports that “When carrying out intellectual activities involving memory or arithmetic tasks, it is a common experience for noise to cause an increased psychological impression of “annoyance,” leading to a decline in performance. This is more apparent for meaningful noise, such as conversation, than it is for other random, meaningless noise. . . .

Office Design and Recruiting (12-01-16)

Radermacher and her colleagues probed links between office design and recruitment of employees.  They investigated “corporate architecture as an effective signal to knowledge workers in the recruiting process. Two types of corporate architecture that are common in the knowledge economy are distinguished: traditional functionalist and new functionalist architecture. New functionalist architecture combines a flat, transparent facade with semi-open office layouts including areas for social interaction.

Inpatient Mental Health Unit Design Checklist (11-30-16)

The US Department of Veterans Affairs reports that it has linked architectural/interior design consistent with the recommendations embedded in its Mental Health Environment of Care Checklist to fewer suicides by inpatients in its mental health units.   The Mental Health Environment of Care Checklist is available free via the website noted below.  Some details “A multidisciplinary group of VA employees developed the program to review inpatient mental health units and eliminate hazards that could increase the chances of patient suicide or self-harm.

Trees and Home Values (11-29-16)

Kim and team found via a study analyzing over 11,000 single-family home sales in Austin, Texas that house prices are affected by nearby trees.  They report that “Many empirical studies assessing the economic benefits of urban green space have continually documented that green space tends to increase both value and sale price of nearby residential properties. . . .  this study examined the association between landscape spatial patterns of urban green spaces and single-family home sale transactions. . . .

Understanding Scientific Graphics (11-28-16)

Harold, Lorenzoni, Shipley, and Coventry investigated how to best display scientifically derived information to non-scientists.  Their findings are relevant to designers who are presenting results of research projects they’ve conducted, for example.  The Harold team suggests that people developing science-related graphics “Direct viewers’ visual attention to visual features of the graphic that support inferences about the data; Include only information for the intended purpose of the graphic; Break down the graphic into visual ‘chunks’, each of which should contain enough information for th


Research Conversations

Building ornamentation

Ornaments have both fans and enemies.  Some people encourage their use, while others consider ornaments design corrupting gewgaws.  This article focuses directly on how ornament design can enhance mental and physical wellbeing.

Moss and rocks

Our skin is our largest sense organ and no matter where we are or what we’re doing, all of it’s collecting info and sending it to our brains for processing.  After our brains are done assessing and analyzing them, touch-related inputs inform our thoughts and behaviors.


Amsterdam canal

In September, 2016, the Design and Emotion Society met in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, for its biennial conference.  Discussions at scheduled sessions and during impromptu conversations focused on a range of intriguing experience-design related issues.

The Center for Health Design (CHD) has prepared an excellent toolkit for people conducting post-occupancy evaluations (POEs).

News Briefs


More factors affecting cognitive restoration have been uncovered

Default settings have power

Who sits where has a big effect on performance

Additional repercussions of workplace control identified

Adapting homes improves quality of life

Straightforward ways to support vision diversity

Designing in eye contact "breaks" is important

Residents and staff benefit from thoughtful design

Book Reviews

Leadership in Spaces and Places book cover

Reviews links between workplace design and organizational effectiveness

Interesting overview of the technical aspects of color vision

Design at Work


The lobby of the Volks Hotel in Amsterdam embodies architectural multi-tasking on steroids and while humans don’t multi-task well, it seems that spaces are able to do so.