Research Design Connections

When Buildings Talk to Users . . . (12-29-17)

Khashe and team studied what building systems speaking to users should sound like.  They found when they “investigated the effectiveness of different delivery styles (i.e., avatar, voice, and text), as well as the impact of communicator’s persona (i.e., building facility manager and building itself) and gender (i.e., male and female) on occupants’ compliance with pro-environmental requests. . . . that avatar is more effective than voice and voice is more effective than text on promoting compliance with persuasive pro-environmental requests. . . .

Lighting Art (12-28-27)

Pridmore makes recommendations for lighting paintings.  He suggests that “Major factors to be considered when designing lighting for paintings include colour discrimination, colour diversity, clarity and the balance of cool-warm (bluish-yellowish) lighting. . . . High correlated colour temperature . . . appear bluish. . . . low correlated colour temperature illuminants . . . appear yellowish. . . .

Learning More About Learning (12-27-17)

Weir reviews recent education-related research.  What she learned is relevant to the design of academic and professional spaces where people are trying to learn.  Weir reports that “Koedinger wondered if [intelligent tutoring] systems might be limited by the constraints of learning on a flat screen.  To explore that idea, his graduate student Nesra Yannier used depth camera technology and artificial intelligence vision to develop an intelligent tutoring system that watched 4- to 8-year-olds as they played a game that involved predicting and explaining what makes block towers fall on a simul


Research Conversations

Dome view

Ceilings significantly affect the psychological experience of being in a place, although space users do not often focus on these horizontal planes.  This article reviews neuroscience research on ceilings and how these surfaces can be used to achieve design objectives.

Reflected Façades

Cognitive science research in urban and other settings regularly shows that people are people no matter where they are and that they respond in consistent ways to the worlds around themselves. This article highlights findings from urban design studies that illustrate fundamental design principles that improve people’s lives, anyplace.


Designed and natural spaces can inspire awe in humans.  How do they produce this effect and why does it matter?  Applying insights gained from social science research to answer these questions enhances design practice.

How we sense and make sense of the environment around us—and how our brains work with information, in general—can vary based on where we are on Earth.  We discuss Equator-relative, design-related variations in thoughts and behaviors in this article.

PlaceCoach News Briefs


Findings that prevent crowding


Build in exploration

Quantifying the effects of applying basic principles

What's on the walls matters

The right answer depends on location

Research to inform design that supports rehabilitation

Practical. Relevant. Free.

Varying user experiences can be appropriate

Book Reviews


Makes unconscious forces conscious considerations

A crucial guide to an important tool

Design at Work


London’s Design Museum is a marvelous place to spend time and to learn about design's ability to influence our lives.