Last Friday I had the pleasure to give a talk concerning the following four facets of user experience in libraries:
1. access, orientation, and navigation
2. environment behaviour settings
3. appropriating spaces
4. place identity
To those who are familiar with my work the items 1, 3 and 4 are probably well known. The item 2 “environment behaviour setting” is in fact not new in the context of my empirical library research. But: Now I focus on it in a different way. This I would like to outline in the following.
In 1968 Roger Barker describes “patterns of behaviour-and-milieu” and based on this “behaviour settings”. These settings are environmental situations that lead to a particular behaviour.
So if there are library spaces that are not used in the way they have been planned for, the reason for that could be found in the environment behaviour setting. For my talk in Oxford I prepared two areas of contradictory designed environment behaviour settings: areas of noise vs. areas of silence and group working spaces vs. individual working spaces. In the first part “noise vs. silence” (starting with slide 25) I illustrate that details like earplug dispensers, different coloured carpet, and staircases suggest users, that they might be in transit areas or areas where it is not requested to be silent. But in fact they are in working areas.
In the second part “collaborative vs. individual working spaces” (slides 29ff) I outline that individual working spaces are often not concisely designed like such. For instance the individual places are uncomfortably close situated or you have to share a desk lamp with someone else – but you are not allowed to speak in that areas. How could you manage to agree with your desk neighbour that the light should be switched on/off?
On slide 53 you can find some take home messages that can help providing concise environment behaviour settings.
I would like to collect more settings, which are contradictory designed, so if you find something similar, I would love to get to now it.
 Barker, R. (1968 ). Ecological Psychology: Concepts and Methods for Studying the Environment of Human Behavior. Stanford, Stanford University Press. Pp. 34 ff.