Jakub is a User Researcher in xDesign and works mainly on Java tools. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology.
As a part of my doctoral studies I am teaching a class on Environmental Psychology at Charles University in Prague. This subject fascinates me with its focus on application in the real world. It is not very theoretical and has lots of applications in our everyday life.
Knowledge about humans from another psychological disciplines like cognitive or social psychology as well as from this discipline's own applied research is directly used in architecture, urbanism and environmental design for making environments more friendly to its inhabitants.\* Great attention is paid to studying interactions between people and their environment in the real conditions which takes into account the whole complexity of real settings.
Environmental Psychology provides answers to questions such as: How should we plan cities so that people find them as a desired place to live? How should buildings be designed so that people are not getting lost in them? What recreational areas help people to recover from daily stress? What kinds of front gardens discourage burglars from invading the place? How should the lack of privacy in hospitals be compensated without major changes to their current operation? What kinds of maps are really helpful in wayfinding? What office arrangements facilitate productivity best? What classroom arrangement keeps pupils' attention focused on the topic? What personalities finds certain landscapes unforgettable?
Focusing on peoples' needs and using knowledge about them in designing for them rather than taking in account just aesthetics, architectural expertise and superficial economical aspects gradually becomes common practice in urban planning and architecture. This approach does not effect "only" peoples' satisfaction but proves to be highly cost effective. Focusing on design and analysis of people's needs slightly elevates costs in the initial phase, but increased productivity and many other benefits save money in the long run.
Does this sound familiar to you? Yes, there are many many similarities in designing living environments and designing user interfaces for software products.
Hungry for more information? Sign up for my class:) Charles University, Faculty of Arts, room n. 338, every other Thursday at 5pm.
\*My class does not focus on ecological preservation as the name could suggest, but on interactions between human and their environment.