Research Design Connections

“Painting” Information (05-18-18)

Kozik and team evaluated how presenting data using painting-like techniques influences cognitive responses to that information.  They depicted weather data in “a common visualization style, glyph, and impressionism-inspired painting styles, sculptural, containment, and impasto. [The researchers] tested participants’ recognition memory for these visualizations and found that impasto, a style resembling paintings like Starry Night (1889) by Vincent van Gogh, was comparable with glyphs and superior to the other impressionist styles.

Smart Homing (05-17-18)

Coskun, Kaner, and Bostan interviewed people living in different types of households (alone or with family members, in one income or dual income families, etc.) who were classified as likely to be relatively early users of smart home technologies.  The Coskun-lead team found that being able to use the same technological tool in different ways in different situations and “remote control have great potential for facilitating the widespread use of smart household appliances when they are combined with the ability to increase users’ competence in household activities through providing guidance.

Coffee! (05-16-18)

Unnava, Sing, and Unnava evaluated how drinking coffee affects groups.  Their findings support designing to encourage coffee consumption. The researchers found that  “consuming a moderate amount of caffeinated coffee prior to indulging in a group activity enhances an individual’s task-relevant participation in the group activity. In addition, subjective evaluations of the participation of other group members and oneself are also positively influenced.” So, consuming coffee enhanced actual on-task performance as well as impressions of the performance of all meeting attendees.

Innovation Zones (05-15-18)

Hamidi and Zandiatashbar studied where innovative companies locate.  They report that “Geography of innovation, creative clustering, urban buzz and innovation districts are place-based concepts that have emerged as a result of the US economy’s transformation to knowledge-intensive economies. The notable built environment characteristics of these concepts are spatial clustering, walkability and proximity to urban amenities, diversity, regional connectivity and agglomeration. . . .

Mapping: How To (05-14-18)

Lloyd, Rodgers, and Roberts probed how the way that color is used on maps affects wayfinding.  The team’s studies focus on New York City subway maps.  Lloyd, Rodgers and Roberts had hundreds of participants use “an on-screen map to plan a number of journeys. . . .Each journey contained one or more ‘navigational hazard’ such as where one route switched places with another route, merged with another route or trunk, or passed under another trunk. . . .

Design and Eating Sweets (05-10-18)

Yang and colleagues studied how being around things that spur romance-related thoughts influences the consumption of sweet foods; space and object design can be romantic cues.  The Yang lead team reports that they “examine[d] how exposure to romantic stimuli (e.g., watching a romantic ad, reading a romantic note) affects consumers’ subsequent consumption of sweets.”  Via five experiments the researchers found that “the romantic stimuli exposure increases sweet food consumption among abstract thinkers but reduces sweet food intake among concrete thinkers.”  So, the effects of the romantic st


Research Conversations


Insights drawn from cognitive science-based studies of newer workplace forms, in-office movement, and Earth-friendly design can be used to create spaces where people work to their full potential.


Design can support a chosen brand personality – or not.  Scientists have learned how sensory experiences send messages that can boost product/place reputations and sales.


Design can improve the performance of our memories – and that’s important whether we’re at work, at school, or debating the details of a movie plot with friends.  Lighting and acoustics and many other physical experiences influence whether we remember, or not.

Even in today’s electronics-centric offices, where a person sits relative to other employees still has a major effect on their workplace experiences and performance.

PlaceCoach News Briefs

Light levels influence what we think and do, sometimes in mysterious ways

Data from 11 case studies, analyzed

Creating satisfying experiences

Soundscaping for wellbeing

Designing in control is designing in success

Supporting learning is challenging

Making sense of data collected

Book Reviews


Behavioral economics and architectural design, integrated in paradigm-shifting ways 

Fresh perspectives to inform design solutions

Design at Work


The Rotterdam airport efficiently and effectively and pleasantly transitions travelers from its entrance to their (eventually) waiting airplanes.