Research Design Connections

Older Adults Living Apart Together (02-08-17)

Benson and Coleman have found that more older adults are choosing to “live apart together;” this new way of “co-habitating” has repercussions for home design, for example.  As a press release related to the Benson/Coleman research details,  “Since 1990, the divorce rate among adults 50 years and older has doubled. This trend, along with longer life expectancy, has resulted in many adults forming new partnerships later in life. A new phenomenon called ‘Living Apart Together’ (LAT)—an intimate relationship without a shared residence—is gaining popularity as an alternative form of commitment.

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. . . .

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Research Conversations

During too many meetings, whatever people have gathered to do just doesn’t get accomplished.  Science-informed design of meeting rooms can change that and make group gatherings more effective.
 

Reflected Façades

Façades are more than just skins that surround a structure.  Their design influences the thoughts and behaviors of viewers, sometimes without their knowledge.  Cognitive science research can be used to make it more likely that the designs of façades send chosen messages and encourage desired behaviors, inside and out.
 

Times Square

When people move, they burn off calories.  Slimming our waistlines isn’t all that moving does for us, however.  Research consistently shows, for example, that when we’re walking we think more clearly, creatively and productively (whether inside or outdoors), and get along better with others.
 

How do you decide what to name places, products, and projects? Do you consider how those names sound, for example?  Cognitive scientists spend a lot of time thinking about the implications of the letters and sounds in names.

PlaceCoach News Briefs

Office workstation

Sharing isn't always a good idea
 

Alleyway

Alleys can be pleasant places to spend time

 A-FOs can be better places to work

Prior state matters, a lot

Younger children may be less distractable than other people

Not everyone's sensory systems are the same

Living near a major road may harm our mental wellbeing

Different places on the planet => different preferences

Book Reviews

Digial Futures Bookcover

Insights on creating cities that support residents, visitors, and their technologies

Useful information that can be applied to create a world where more can prosper

Design at Work

1447

The 1447 is a place that works because its design recognizes and respects the tasks its users need to accomplish.