Celebration

Exhibits create a gathering place for the celebration of ideas and concepts. A well-designed exhibit provides tools, clues, and invitations for people to turn celebration into involvement.

When looking at a previously created idea such as an exhibit, a 2011 study found that people work more effectively when working as a group. If those collaborating together share ideas, they may be more innovative and will think of more practical ideas rather than when they work alone.

Nicholas Kohn, Paul Paulus, and YunHee Choi. 2011. "Building on the Ideas of Others: An Examination of the ideas Combination Process." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, vol. 47, no. 3, pp. 554-561. 

Flamingos gather in colonies that can include over one million birds..

Flamingos gather in colonies that can include over one million birds..

Navigate

The designed environment is a memorable format for  for message hierarchy. Physical space enables people to physically  navigate the architecture of a story, product, or concept in a way that supports understanding and invites participation.

Researchers observed museum visitor patterns in a 2010 study and found that pathways were more theme-driven when displays were clearly identified and clustered by theme. The study also suggested that design elements like color may help reinforce the effects of labeling and clustering; meaning that cues from the designed environment provide subtle guidance to visitors exploring content within a space.

Wineman, J. & Peponis, J. (2010).  Constructing spatial meaning: Spatial affordances in museum design.  Environment and Behavior,  42(1), 86-109.

The humpback whale migrates thousands of miles on a course so straight that it may only stray by a degree or less from the point of departure to the destination.

The humpback whale migrates thousands of miles on a course so straight that it may only stray by a degree or less from the point of departure to the destination.

Social

The designed environment is social and can create opportunities for people to explore and expand ideas together. When used in a self-guided manor, well-designed environments motivate the solo explorer to share their experience with others.

A 2011 study found that people were more likely to share content with others when it was paired with a physiological sensation When study participants absorbed content while running on a treadmill, they were more likely to share the information than when they received it standing still. By nature, exhibits and environments encourage people to interact using multiple senses and to absorb content in novel ways--leading to more sharing during and after the exhibit expereince.

Berger, J. (2011). Arousal increases social transmission of information. Psycological Science. 22(7), 891-893.

The dog's social nature comes from its wolf origins, but dogs have evolved to be so attuned to humans that they understand our gestures and body language.

The dog's social nature comes from its wolf origins, but dogs have evolved to be so attuned to humans that they understand our gestures and body language.

 

 

Memory

Designed environments engage multiple senses, leading to longlasting memories and connections with the content of the space.

A 2014 study found that interacting with an environment through touch is likely to lead people to an enjoyable experience, lasting memories of the experience, and heightened creativity. For marketers, this makes a brand more memorable and associates positive experiences with the brand. For museums, tactile experiences are likely to bring visitors back to the museum for return visits. In any context, tactile, hands-on experiences with products and ideas lead to positive outcomes.

Hee Kim and Shanker Krishnan. 2014. "Where is the Fun in Creativity? The influence of Product Touch or Consumer Creativity." Abstracts, Conference of the Society for Consumer Psychology, March 6-7, Miami.

Squirrels use a combination of smell and memory to locate hidden nuts. They often use landmarks to help themselves remember.

Squirrels use a combination of smell and memory to locate hidden nuts. They often use landmarks to help themselves remember.

 

 

Extend

The participant identifies with the goals of the designed environment and this identification extends the effects of the experience past the time of the visit.

Positive design is a design movement to elevate people’s subjective well-being, or happiness, through design. The practice aims to promote pleasure, virtue, and personal significance in products, applications, services, and spaces. In a 2013 essay on positive design, researchers described additional characteristics of positive design that can be measured through research. One of the most important and measurable characteristics of successful positive design is the long-term effect on well-being or happiness. When designers create opportunities for people to experience delight (pleasure), achieve outcomes that are good for people (virtue), and reach goals (personal significance) through the design of products and spaces, it can improve people’s well-being in the long-term.

Desmet, P. &  Pohlmeyer, A. (2013). Positive design: An introduction to design for subjective well-being. International Journal of Design, 7(3), 5-19.

The giraffe's 21-inch long tongue helps it reach even farther above its 18-foot height.

The giraffe's 21-inch long tongue helps it reach even farther above its 18-foot height.

 

 

Time

An exhibit composition and order by its nature can be assembled by how much time has been given to the experience.

A 2010 study found that when the same traveling exhibit was displayed in different layouts, visitors made more contact with individual displays when they were easily accessible, but spent more time with more exhibits when they were all highly visible from one to the next. This suggests that the layout of space has an impact on the way people explore and interact with it, including the amount of time that they spend doing so.

Wineman, J. & Peponis, J. (2010).  Constructing spatial meaning: Spatial affordances in museum design.  Environment and Behavior,  42(1), 86-109.

Hares can run at speeds up to 45 miles per hour.

Hares can run at speeds up to 45 miles per hour.

 

 

Transform

The designed environment provides a flexible model for structuring information. This multi-leveled effect motivates the user to transform their experience into a desire for more knowledge.

By creating environments that change the way we think, we are able to promote critical thinking. A 2016 study from the University of Cincinnati explores the effects of structured environments on decision-making, and indeed, "causal relationships in environments." The three-part study suggests structured environments encourage more thorough and thoughtful decision-making. The reseearchers emphasize the influence of the surrounding environment on the way people make decisions.

Fuller, D. (2016). New Research Reveals How Structure Increases Careful Thought About Decisions.  [Press release] University of Cincinnati.

Butterflies go through four phases of metamorphosis  during their lives.

Butterflies go through four phases of metamorphosis  during their lives.