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User Experience

A collection of articles about user experience.

User Experience
User Experience

How Multi-Sensory Design Impacts Human Emotion

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

When multi-sensory design is properly injected into an architect’s design process, the entire project benefits. Suddenly, it becomes possible to solve for those initial programmatic requirements while still being able to go above and beyond so your building can also help its occupants to achieve highest levels of well-being. The key to making this all work is to use multi-sensory design to tap into human emotion through the built environment you create.

User Experience

How Scenario-Testing Your Architecture Project Prevents Design Mistakes

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Developing your architectural design through various stages of drawing, modeling, and simulation are all critical to achieving wonderful environments that help occupants to thrive. But, your designs can be made better through more detailed testing of different situations likely to affect your design, and subsequently its occupants.

User Experience

Top 3 Tips to Connect Emotionally with Your Building Occupants

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Three fantastic methods to help you create architectural designs that touch occupants in just the right way, and at just the right time --- so they will connect with themselves, with each other, and with your design work in beneficial ways.

User Experience

Can Architecture Increase Workplace Creativity?

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Architectural design emphasis is often placed on productivity, particularly for workplace environments. However, an increasingly important goal for such environments is to also foster occupant workplace creativity. After all, when productivity and creativity work in unison, then greater innovative momentum can be achieved.

User Experience

How an Architectural Exterior Design Impacts Occupant Journey

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

When it comes to sensory design, much emphasis is placed on architectural interiors that aim to uplift occupant well-being. And this is critical to get right within a design project. But what about the architectural exterior? How can one use sensory design to create exteriors that foster the right occupant journey?

User Experience

Architectural Smellscape: Designing for the Olfactory Occupant Journey

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Smell offers a type of wayfinding that not only becomes part of our experience of a space, but also serves to prompt or guide behavior within that space. A smell can act as a boundary which signals what lies ahead, or what has just been experienced.

User Experience

Data Mining for Healthcare Architecture and Beyond

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Data mining can be useful for not only healthcare architecture, but also for other building types. Just imagine how offices, schools, universities, stores, restaurants and even gyms can improve by becoming better listeners. Much can be learned from the conversations shared on social media platforms like Twitter.

User Experience

How Generating Architectural Concepts with Sensory Design Leads to Innovation

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Yes, many factors converge into an architectural design concept – everything from site analysis and sustainability, to contextual and cultural interplay are at work within your design concept formulation. And, it is within your design concept that all of these solutions must converge, where your design solves for core challenges and provides optimum occupant experience.

User Experience

How Architectural Restaurant Design Ideas Impact Taste

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Designers often ask “how does an environment impact the sense of taste”? Well, a tangible example of this can be observed within restaurant designs. After all, a restaurant atmosphere can set up expectations of how a meal will taste, and it can impact how those tastes are perceived, enjoyed and remembered.

User Experience

Using Sensory Design to Compete Against Online Retail

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

With the dawning of online retail and the displacement or forced evolution of places like bookstores and malls, designers are beginning to use sensory design to win out (or at least stay in the running) against their online competitors. You see, such brick-and-mortar retail stores are tapping into what the senses can yield from design, to make shopping in their business a true experience. And this experience for the senses is what limits online retailers today.

User Experience

What Makes Poetic Architecture?

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Poetics is that moment in architecture when elements yield more than the sum of their parts. But what does this really mean? What is it that gets “yielded”? It could be, perhaps, the way architecture is able to “touch” its occupants on deeper emotional or spiritual levels. It could also be the way architecture can convey beauty together with meaning that leaves one feeling more fulfilled.

User Experience

Use Sensory Design to Boost Building Effectiveness

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

To help you better predict occupant need, which can often be a daunting task given many of today’s complex programmatic requirements, — sensory design can be used to help you unravel the “occupant need” architectural challenge.

User Experience

Examining the Relationship Between Architecture and the Human Body

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

The relationship between architecture and the human body obviously has a long history. And the questions that arise when exploring this relationship are more than simply about finding the proper dimensions and placements within architectural space to “accommodate” a person and their behaviors within it.

User Experience

Thermal Comfort: Can Buildings Please Everyone?

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

When do buildings feel just right? As your occupants live, work and play within your designed spaces, thermal comfort becomes an important quality that can make or break an environment quickly. Often, building designers strive to keep room temperatures comfortable throughout the building — but all too often, room temperatures fluctuate uncontrollably from room to room.

User Experience

What Gives a Building Its Personality?

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Each nuance that a building emits comes together to become more than the sum of its parts. And often, that sum can be said to be an inherent character that a building exudes. But where does such character come from? And how do we know that a building has personality?

User Experience

How Your Architecture Can Help Occupants to Remember

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Creating the notion of a “scene” in your design is a good place to start. Within a scene, you can emphasize color, size, or shape which, through narrative, may take on deeper meaning about why it is present. Just as a store’s signage can create “place” in a street-scape, the scene which you create out of architectural features will call upon occupants to remember because of three reasons: placement, context, and mental image.

User Experience

Why Designing for Occupant Choice is Important in Architectural Design

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Within architecture, there are many places where occupant choice surfaces. Every time an occupant makes a decision on where to go, what to focus on, or what to feel — they are interacting with your architecture, and making decisions based off of it. So, why is occupant choice so important?

User Experience

Communicating Building Value Early-On May Boost Occupant Enjoyment

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

The important thing for you to remember here is that you are always setting or meeting expectations for your occupants as they travel about your building. You’re setting them up for value, and your goal is to reach that value for them with your design. Thus, as you design, you should always think about what you are showing your occupants about the perceived value of your building.

User Experience

How to Design for Your Occupants Sense of Building Orientation

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Buildings often rely upon wayfinding design to give their occupants a sense of building orientation, and to perhaps spark that mental map that tells them where they have been as well as pointing them in the direction of where they need to go. And while wayfinding signage and other directional elements found within buildings can be helpful, I do think that a good architectural design should not be dependent upon such signage.

User Experience

Tailoring a Building Design Toward Occupant Emotions (Video)

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

As architects, we often try to design and think of buildings as vessels which engage with their occupants on many levels — including the emotional ones. And of course, those designs which connect with their occupants on emotional levels, are the designs that often have the most profound effect. Yet frequently, designers use their “instincts” to orchestrate novel and harmonious building design features that will serve to not only inspire, but also to connect with people in profound ways.

User Experience

Augmented Reality Give Your Building Materials New Behaviors

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

An augmented reality exhibit is quite inspiring to see because it shows how designers can push certain boundaries by combining a unique recipe between technologies, materials and their own creative talents.

User Experience

Start a Quality Control Design Test of Your Building After It’s Built

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Have you ever done a quality control design test of your building after it’s built? If so, how do you do it? And what do you do with the results?

User Experience

Design User Experience by Immersing Yourself in Your Vision

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Another word for immersion is “absorption”, also defined as “the state of being deeply engaged or involved. In light of this definition, I must say that most often reaching the proper level and state of immersion while you design user experience in a building can work wonders for creating an equally immersive environment for your occupants.

User Experience

How to Use Environmental Psychology for Better Design Solutions

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

How do you, as an architect, get to the bottom of what your occupants really need and want? Do you do this mostly be talking with them? Presenting different architectural design schemes to see which one they like best? Or do you study their behavior to understand what moves them with regard to the things that cannot be expressed by mere words?

User Experience

Going to Work in the Office Designs of Tomorrow

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

One thing is for sure, computers are spreading. They seem to be everywhere. They’re getting smaller, more helpful and their interfaces are getting more intuitive. It’s no wonder that the surrounding environments which inhabit them now often allow for more mobility, productivity and collaboration. But what about creativity? It’s an important factor — and one that should be addressed head-on.

User Experience

Why a Mental Map is Important for Architects to Understand

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

As an architect, you probably spend much of your time designing and preparing for programmatic functions and the aesthetic beauty to be experienced by future building occupants. But, did you know that your design ultimately is “interpreted” into what is frequently called the “mind’s eye”? Simply stated, this is a mental map that is said to be responsible for your own personal view-point and how you perceive the world.

User Experience

Should You Add Sound to Your Building Design?

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

For architects, it is common to be concerned with the elimination of sound, otherwise referred to as noise. Some hospitals are filled with noise that keep patients from sleeping “soundly” (pun intended) and some schools are bombarded by urban noise that interferes with learning.

User Experience

Top 10 Tips to Great Museum Exhibit Design

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

When it is a great experience, going to a museum can teach us, delight us and inspire us; however, a lot of effort goes into a museum exhibit design. As architects, we can learn a lot by understanding the ingredients that make such designs so successful. It is not as simple as you might think.

User Experience

Architectural Psychology Explained

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

When an occupant experiences a building, they immediately become involved in an array of overlapping processes that all contribute to their experience — architectural psychology focuses on such connections and can be applied to all building types.

User Experience

Can Architecture Arouse Sentiment?

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Architecture is like music, with ability to arouse specific emotions and other reactions at particular moments in time. To arouse sentiment is a delicate task, and the key is to engage occupants. Human mood, behavior and physiology will all benefit from such an awakening.

User Experience

Sensory Design: Lessons from a Tea Cup

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

This quote highlights why sensory design is indispensable. The act of enjoying the tea is fostered by the teacup just as sensory architecture enhances occupant experience. Both the teacup and sensory design must be sensitive to human needs.

User Experience

Environmental Psychology: What Every Architect Should Ask Themselves

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Understanding principles about environmental psychology will help architects to design with greater awareness. The following are ten important questions inspired by some of the major themes that make up the study of environmental psychology.

User Experience

7 Design Tips for Best Architectural Acoustics

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Architectural design requires that acoustics be well thought out and coordinated. The sound spectrum must remain clear without portions distorted or missing.

User Experience

Architectural Building for All the Senses: Bringing Space to Life

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Architectural building can more truly relate to the surrounding culture through all of the senses. Addressing historic, traditional or present-day cultural patterns can make a work of architecture a success when the senses are not ignored.

User Experience

Can Architectural Features Help Your Brain?

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

When traveling through space you use certain cues to help you navigate. Your senses help determine things like orientation, distance and direction. During navigation, many moments arise for decision-making and your brain is a key player during this process.

User Experience

The “Extended Mind” Evolves With Architectural Design

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

With the computer revolution, humans are relying more and more on machines to make up a piece of their “extended mind”. As such tools permeate human environments; I can’t help but think of how the notion of an “extended mind” may influence architecture.

User Experience

Using Sound to Influence Architectural Experience

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Have you ever toyed with the notion of designing a space strictly based on sound quality? Perhaps acoustics have played a major role in certain projects where sound formulas served to construct space. But — what about “aural architecture”? It becomes interesting to understand what happens to architecture beyond physics.

User Experience

Experiencing Architecture Using Mental Time

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Have you ever felt time speed up or slow down? Estimating the passage of time is not exactly a precise endeavor for us humans. Sitting through a long and boring film, for instance, can seem to take an eternity, while having fun at a party could make time fly.

User Experience

Designing for the Future of Shopping

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

You enter a store. It is probably not on your mind that its design layout was put together to optimize purchases made by you. You shop, you browse and; hopefully, you buy. Yet still, stores are doing whatever they can to market for what they call “the moment of truth” – that moment you decide to reach for your item. As a designer, does the collection of these moments ultimately yield the success of your design?

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Maria Lorena Lehman is an award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

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Design Process

Top 3 Questions to Drive Extraordinary Concept Design

The phase during your architectural project when you have the most leverage is during your concept design phase. Ideas, design decisions, and iterative changes made at this stage take less effort, cost, and time. But there is a critical driver behind the concept design phase, and it is your “creative vision”. To empower your creative vision, ask yourself the following questions as you design…

Virtual Reality

How Virtual Reality Design Shapes the Physical Environment

Architectural design in virtual reality takes on many forms: from environmental concept design in films and video games to concept development simulations during the architectural design process. It is fascinating to see how what can be made for the virtual will often find its way into the physical world. For many, the virtual becomes a “playground” for experimentation, exploration, and discovery of new ideas that get translated into the physical world.