Research Design Connections

Sounds and Shapes (02-07-17)

A team lead by Hung confirmed that particular sorts of sounds are linked to certain shapes; their work is useful to people naming products and places, for example.  The research by Hung, Styles, and Hsieh, published in Psychological Science, indicates that  “Our tendency to match specific sounds with specific shapes, even abstract shapes, is so fundamental that it guides perception before we are consciously aware of it. . . .

East: West Creativity (02-06-17)

Liou and Lan investigated “cultural differences in creative behaviors.”  They report that “Western norms prioritize originality and Eastern norms usefulness. . . . Compared with Taiwanese, Americans generated more original ideas when they worked in a group or when the task required them to select ideas for further elaboration. . . . In contrast, compared with Americans, Taiwanese generated more useful ideas when they worked in a group or when the task required them to select ideas for further elaboration. . . .

Public Response to Standing/Activity Research (02-03-17)

A team of British researchers, Gardner, Smith, and Mansfield, studied the general public’s response to research encouraging people to spend less time sitting at work.  Their findings indicate how important it is to effectively communicate with users when environments/objects are, or may be, changed.  The Gardner team report that “In June 2015, an expert consensus guidance statement was published recommending that office workers accumulate 2–4 h of standing and light activity daily and take regular breaks from prolonged sitting.

Customization Effects (02-02-17)

Kaiser, Schreier, and Janiszewski link product customization and enhanced performance.  Their research “demonstrates that the self-expressive customization [this would be a modification that reflects the user’s beliefs, ideas about who they are as a person, membership in a group, etc.] of a product can improve performance on tasks performed using the customized product. Five studies show that the effect is robust across different types of tasks (e.g., persistence tasks, concentration tasks, agility tasks).

Benefits of Signaling Greenness (02-01-17)

Wang, Krishna, and McFerran studied how consumers’ environmentally responsible behavior is affected by the actions of organizations.  They report that “Firms can save considerable money if consumers conserve resources (e.g., if hotel patrons turn off the lights when leaving the room, restaurants patrons use fewer paper napkins, or airline passengers clean up after themselves).”  Data gathered “in real-world hotels . . . show that consumers' conservation behavior is affected by the extent to which consumers perceive the firm as being green. . . .

PawsWay, Toronto

The design of Purina’s PawsWay center in Toronto boosts the mood—and wellbeing—of all of its users, regardless of species.  It is an indoor space where people can spend time with their pets and learn more about the joys, and responsibilities, of caring for them—while both the people and pets have fun.  Inter-species bonding is particularly important as pets in Western societies often provide significant amounts of psychological support to their human companions.

Good, Small Urban Parks (01-31-17)

Currie studied how the design of small urban parks.  She learned that “Public parks contribute to neighbourhood quality of life, promote a more public daily life, serve as important focal points for neighbourhoods, and provide access to nearby nature as part of the built environment. . . . This research identified design principles that good, small urban parks share – including accessibility, specificity, authenticity, functionality, and adaptability – applicable in smaller cities, towns, and lower density areas.”  

Resident Preferences and Walkability (01-30-17)

Brookfield probed how resident preferences align with neighborhood design elements that have been tied to walkability.  She found, after conducting focus groups with eleven residents’ groups with diverse sets of participants, that “Residents’ groups favoured providing a selection of services and facilities addressing a local need, such as a corner shop, within a walkable distance, but not the immediate vicinity, of housing. . . .

Workplace Losses (01-27-17)

Barnes and Wineman investigated employees’ bonds to their workplaces.  At the 2017 SPSP conference they reported that data were collected in the course of a workplace redesign project: “In a longitudinal study our team examined worker satisfaction, wellbeing, work effectiveness and engagement within workplace environments on a large university campus.  Findings suggest that perception of loss is a predictor of [lower] worker satisfaction and that designing for functional fit does not solve the impact of perceived loss.”

Pages

Research Conversations

CeilingArt

The images that people see as they work, heal, study, and, in general, live their lives, have a significant effect on how they think and behave.   
 

Casual office seating

It’s difficult to design a workplace where employees perform to their full potential over an extended period of time. Using Maslow to guide design decisions increases the likelihood that design-based objectives are achieved and employees have positive at-work experiences.  
 

Rustic bedroom

In much of the developed world, people seem to be struggling to get enough “good” sleep.  Design can make it easier for us to drift gently off into healthy sleep—and  to stay asleep—whether we’re at home, visiting a hotel, in a hospital bed, or trying to take a nap break at work.
 

‘Tis the time of the tiny homes.  What does cognitive science have to say about the experience of living in them?
 

News Briefs

Glass art

Curvier or more angular makes a difference
 

Dome view

Feeling awed leads us to think in different ways

Perceptions trump reality and moods matter

Psychiatric nurses have clear opinions about what is best

Noise has multiple roles in mental health facilities

A useful new way to quantify responses

 Changing spaces, changing experiences

Research-based recommendations

Book Reviews

Dream Cities Cover

Provides useful context for the development of in-city spaces

Design at Work

PawsWay1

The design of Purina’s PawsWay center in Toronto boosts the mood—and wellbeing—of all of its users, regardless of species.