Design Process and Issues

Overcoming Via Virtual Reality (02-04-14)

A European research team has developed a virtual reality program to help airplane passengers overcome some of the unpleasant situations they encounter while flying, such as having to sit close to strangers and not having much control over their physical environment. The Europeans “investigate[d] how flight journeys can be made into a more pleasant experience using Virtual Reality. . . . [the team] develop[ed] an airplane cabin in which test subjects can immerse themselves in their own preferred personal environment. . . .

A Good Reason to Cut Sun Glare (01-31-14)

Marzoli, Custodero, and Pagliara have identified an important reason to use shades, etc., to cut indoor glare produced by sunlight.  They’ve learned that “aggressiveness can be triggered by the involuntary frowning that occurs when people face the sun.”  During their research the team found that study “participants walking against the sun without sunglasses scored higher in a self-report measure of anger and aggression compared to those walking with the sun behind and/or wearing sunglasses.”

Design Anthropology: Theory and Practice

An interesting and comprehensive introduction to the world of design anthropology.

Wendy Gunn, Ton Otto and Rachel Smith (editors). 2013. Bloomsbury: London.

An Anthropology of Architecture

A great introduction to anthropological research on architecture.

Victor Buchli. 2013. Bloomsbury: New York.

Thoughtful, Readable Introduction to Space Syntax (01-30-14)

Stockton has written a thoughtful and very readable introduction to space syntax theory and how it is currently being used in design practice.  This article provides design practitioners with the information they need to incorporate principles of space syntax into their work.  Stockton describes space syntax: “Space syntax uses a grid of all the walkable paths in a city to predict how people would move in an idealized version of the city, then measures how other parts the city’s texture attracts or repels people away from this prediction.” Links to many open acce

Turn Down the Thermostats to Help People Stay Slim (01-29-14)

Lichtenbelt and his research team have linked the temperatures to which indoor environments are heated and obesity.  Their findings argue for gradually reducing the temperatures to which buildings are heated so that it is more healthy for humans to be in these spaces.  The gradual reductions will help people come to accept these cooler temperatures.  As the researchers describe, “Obesity is a consequence of positive energy balance, which can be counterbalanced by eating less, increasing physical activity, or pharmacological approaches.  However, weight

Sounds, Words, and Respones (01-27-14)

Maglio and his research team have learned more about how the vowels used in words influence responses to named objects.  Their findings are useful to designers naming things/places or intrigued by client reactions to design options presented.