Human-Centered Design

Human-Centered Design as a tool for creating healthy spaces

The use of a building, a new technology or an object is no longer seen as a tool performing a simple daily function. They can now promote excitement or relaxation, information or entertainment or even health and well-being. As the role of interior design in everyday life becomes more complex, so too does understanding the wishes, needs and priorities of the users and their interaction with the building technology for example natural and artificial lighting. The influx of technologies into the average building has significantly raised the importance of the human-machine interface within it, as it is the design of these interfaces that ultimately determine whether or not users can take full advantage of the technologies presented and contribute to associated positive or negative emotional experiences.

Research has regularly highlighted the importance of incorporating users input into the design of new products, throughout new product developments, whether in the architectural and design area or consumer products in general. Sustainable buildings in particular face the dichotomy that, while energy efficient buildings demand access to the latest technologies, users also want simple, intuitive user control, in-keeping with the interior design styling and overall modern image. Additionally, the design of sustainable technology or products must address the safety concerns associated with potential risks for health and well-being. These are complex challenges and require considerable user-centred research if optimal solutions are to be achieved. The Human-Centered Design is evolving from the study of behaviour, to encompass the overall affective experience resulting from human product or building interaction.

Specific research topics would be:

  • Lighting perception in retail spaces: cross cultural studies Brazil/Germany
  • Human Centered Lighting Design: strategies for  health spaces
  • LED technology and emotional responses: how colour changing design affects mood and well-being in (some architectural  uses)
  • Potential  of lighting design as a territorial design tool: cross cultural study in Germany, Brazil and Mozambique
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