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Design Process and Issues

Imagined Experience and Vision (12-04-13)

Laeng and Sulutvedt have found that imagined experiences lead to physiological changes in our eyes.  This determination may help reconcile differences in the ways that various individuals experience a space – if the pupils in users’ eyes are open to different extents they can reasonably be expected to vary in their evaluations of light levels, for example. As Laeng and Sulutvedt describe, “participants’ eye pupils dilated or constricted, respectively, in response to dark and bright imagined objects and scenarios . . . .

Perceptions of Noise and Social Identity (12-03-13)

Our social identity, which is our perception of the groups to which we belong, influences our perceptions and evaluations of sound/noise.  This finding can be applied by design researchers trying to understand potentially contradictory information provided by users about a soundscape.  Shankar and his team learned by “studying the aural experience of a religious festival in North India which is characterised by loud, continuous and cacophonous noise . . . . that loud noise is experienced as pleasant or unpleasant according to the meanings attributed to it . . .

Designing Integrated and Socially Cohesive Communities (11-26-13)

Urban planners are regularly charged with creating “communities where a diverse group of residents not only live close to one other but also interact freely – in other words, neighborhoods that are both integrated and socially cohesive.”  Zachary Neal and Jennifer Watling Neal have determined that this “might be a lost cause . . . Neal [and Neal] ran computer modeling of different fictional neighborhoods and, after millions of trials, consistently found the same thing: The more integrated a neighborhood is, the less socially cohesive it becomes, and vice versa.”

Designing Lean Workplaces (11-22-13)

Bodin Danielsson investigated the psychological implications of lean office design.  She defines a lean office as “a flex-office together with . . .  ‘hot desking and ‘hoteling’. Flex-office is an office type where the employees’ hold no personal workstation, but have access to back-up rooms, i.e. rooms for work activities that do not suit open spaces such as concentrated work, meetings, etc. Employees in flex-office also have the ability to work outside the office on a needs-basis.

Images vs. Verbal Descriptions (11-20-13)

Research done in the context of online shopping has implications for sharing images with design clients.  Townsend and Kahn determined that although, if asked, consumers will state that they prefer to learn about a product by looking at a image of that product instead of reading about it, “visual presentation can lead to information overload and result in less systematic consideration.”  Since design related decisions often have significant implications, this research indicates that verbal descriptions of design options are warranted when several are being consid

Sunlight and Risk Taking (11-11-13)

Reinholtz, Lee, and Pham have linked being in sunlight with taking risks.  They determined that “exposure to sunlight, and not simply sunny weather, can increase an individual’s tendency to select a higher-risk course of action.”  These findings support encouraging (for example, by adding clerestory windows) or discouraging (for example, by adding curtains) exposure to sunlight in spaces where risk-taking is more or less desirable – for example, places where different sorts of financial decisions are made.

Design for Warmth and Competence (11-01-13)

Chris Malone and Susan Fiske are the authors of The Human Brand:  How We Relate to People, Products, and Companies.  A central premise of this new book is that our impressions of companies “are the result of spontaneous judgments of warmth and competence – precisely the same elements that drive our impressions of other people . . . . ‘Warmth involves whether we view others to be honest, trustworthy, kind or friendly, while competence relates to whether they seem capable, intelligent or skilled . . .

Visual Processing and Audio Inputs (10-18-13)

Research continues to indicate how significantly assessments of design are influenced by environmental factors.  Shen and Sengupta studied the effect of positive and negative sounds broadcast from the left or right on assessments of material, such as photographs, arranged side by side on a computer screen.  They found that people generally preferred material on the same side (left or right) as a pleasant sound but on the opposite side from an unpleasant sound.  For example, “In one lab study, consumers were asked to form an impression of pictures of two hote

Responses to Names (10-14-13)

Everybody names something sometime – a pet, a product, or a program, for example.  New research sheds light on which names will be more positively received. A team lead by Myers-Schulz has determined that we have a more positive response to nonsense words that go from low to high frequencies (for example, mipaba, pafabi) at the beginning of the word than nonsense words that go high to low frequencies as a word starts (for example, tatoku, dugada).