Future-proofing post-pandemic design
Any Designed Environment
In cooperation with a research team at the Technical University of Munich, Stora Enso has released a white paper detailing health and wellbeing benefits of living and working in spaces with wood design elements. It is available free of charge at the web address noted below. Research indicates, for example, that “wood has beneficial effects. . . .
Researchers have found that initial sensory experiences color responses to future ones. Jain, Nayakankuppam, and Gaeth, in a study published in the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making,report that “Once a price is mentioned, that number serves as the basis for — or ‘anchors’ — all future discussions and decisions. But new research shows. . . anchoring even occurs in perceptual domains, like sight, sound, and touch. . . . [the researchers] conducted several studies involving different senses.
Researchers have found that having COVID-19 seems to influence people’s responses to machines; these findings, published in iScience, have practical implications for both design and management, for instance. Gratch lead a team that determined that “people affected by COVID-19 [as determined by measurements of stress] are showing more goodwill — to humans and to human-like autonomous machines. ‘The new discovery here is that when people are distracted by something distressing, they treat machines socially like they would treat other people.
Buxton and colleagues reviewed published studies on the implications of hearing nature sounds. They determined that “natural sounds improve health, increase positive affect [mood], and lower stress and annoyance. . . . Our review showed that natural sounds alone can confer health benefits. . . . water sounds had the largest effect on health and positive affective outcomes, while bird sounds had the largest effect on alleviating stress and annoyance.”
Adams’ text is a useful to designers intrigued by the idea of exploring the implications of design decisions. He writes in his introduction that the chapters in his book “delve into the sociological, psychological, and historical reasons for our responses [to design]. I explored these issues as a designer, as I am not a neurologist, psychologist, or sociologist. What visual and conceptual cues resonate, and why? This was my constant question.”
Sean Adams. 2021. How Design Makes Us Think and Feel and Do Things. Princeton Architectural Press; Hudson, NY.
Chen and colleagues studied the nonverbal messages sent by package shapes; their findings are useful to designers more generally. The Chen-lead team determined that “a tall, slender package creates the perception of higher brand status to a significantly greater extent than a short, wide package. Therefore, retailers in the high-end market can stock more products in tall, slender packages to communicate and enhance their positioning. . . . Retailers in the low-end market, on the other hand, face more complicated decisions. Should they stock more products in short, wide packages?
Recently completed research indicates how behaviors in a space are related to the general conditions people encounter there. Bergquist and colleagues set out to replicate a study done by a Cialdini-lead team in 1990. When doing so they found “less littering in clean compared to littered environments [consistent with the Cialdini-lead research]. . . . littering increased rather than decreased by adding a single piece of litter in an otherwise clean environment [inconsistent with the Cialdini-lead research].”
Barone, Coulter, and Li determined that where prices are marked (their vertical position) determines how that price is perceived. The researchers asked: “Can changing the vertical location of a price (e.g., presenting it above or below a product image in an advertisement or retail display) influence consumer response? . . . several lab and field investigations [conducted by the Barone-lead team] demonstrate that prices provided in low (vs. high) locations lead to lower price perceptions, more favorable purchase intentions, and higher in-store sales. . . . such price location effects . .
Tian, Chen, and Hu looked at appropriate levels of circadian stimulus (CS) by age. They determined that “the effect of the CS increased with CCT from 4000 K to 8000 K at the same age as a general trend; however, the CCT of 2700 K shows a higher circadian impact compared to that of 4000 K for the same age groups. . . . In order to provide sufficient CS, the minimum corneal illuminance for children and elderly is 250 lx and 380 lx, respectively, when the CCT of the light source was 2700 K.