Annual update released
Representational vs. abstract
Creating a "pleasanter" impression
The number of people visiting parks has increased during the pandemic, with design-related implications. Fisher, Grima, Sommer, Corcoran, Hill-James, and Langton conducted a study, published in PLoS One, which determined that “26% of people visiting parks during early months of the COVID-19 pandemic had rarely – or never – visited nature in the previous year. . . . According to the findings, nearly 70% of park users increased their visits to local nature. . . . . While 27% of people reduced their group size when visiting nature, another 11% of visitors increased their group size.
Saunders and colleagues report that wearing facemasks impedes communication; design may, via whiteboards, new signage, etc., partially compensate for this impairment. As the Sanders team reports, “An online survey consisting of closed-set and open-ended questions [was] distributed within the UK to gain insights into experiences of interactions involving face coverings, and of the impact of face coverings on communication. . . . With few exceptions, participants reported that face coverings negatively impacted hearing, understanding, engagement, and feelings of connection with the speaker.
Mehahed and Ghoneim discuss lived experiences in homes during the pandemic (which boosted, for example, the desirability of sound-insulated home offices with large windows), the health-related challenges of high-density living, and the need for future, multi-story buildings to support “touchless experience from the front door to the apartment door itself. . . . The building might have wider corridors and doorways, and many more staircases. . . .
Research confirms links between what’s seen and tastes experienced. Ueda, Spence, and Okajima, using augmented reality visors, collected view-taste data and report that “What we taste is affected by what we see, and that includes the colour, opacity, and shape of the food we consume. . . . We developed a novel AR [augmented reality] system capable of modifying the luminance distribution of foods [the light coming off/bouncing off food] in real-time using dynamic image processing for simulating actual eating situations.
Research conducted by Tarlao, Steffens, and Guastavino confirms the many factors can influence perceptions of sound being experienced besides the actual noises themselves. The team reports that “Previous soundscape research has shown a complex relationship between soundscapes, public space usage and contexts of users’ visits to the space. . . . The present study is a comparative analysis of in situquestionnaires collected over four study sites in Montreal . . . . in both French and English. . . . The analyses. . .. .
Researchers studying gestures across cultures have identified similarities and differences in their use that are relevant to people designing systems interfaces and other places/objects to be used by people from varying cultures. Zhang, Gai, Wu, Liu, Oiu, Wang, and Wang’s work with people from the US and China is discussed in a Penn State press release: “Imagine changing the TV channel with a wave of your hand or turning on the car radio with a twist of your wrist. Freehand gesture-based interfaces in interactive systems are becoming more common. . . .
We use what we design at points in time, over time, until what’s been created is familiar to us. Research details how design can powerfully influence time-related effects, such as the apparent passage of time, and the sorts of situations in which we develop positive familiarity with key aspects of our world, for example.