The Student Services Reception area in the college where I work is not exactly fit for purpose. If you take a look at the photos in my previous post you will see that this space is utilitarian in the sense that it functions as it should (most of the time) but its not a thing of beauty. Suffice to say it could do with a makeover.
Knowns (What we know)
- This space can get very crowded
- This space can get cold due to cold air entering when one or other of the glass doors is opened
- No disabled access
- Students need to go through this space to get to their classes
- We are renting the building such that we can only make minor changes to the floorplan
- Similarly, we cannot change the access and egress
Unknowns (What we don’t know)
- Are there specific building regulations which we must comply with before, during and after the remodelling?
- How many students need to see someone from Student Services on any given week day?
- What do students and staff think of the current configuration?
- To what extent will key stakeholders including students and staff be inconvenienced by having the floor remodelled?
- Will these stakeholders be prepared to put up with this inconvenience?
- Do we have the budget to do this? If we do have the budget, how much will it cost and how long will it take?
- To what extent will other stakeholders cooperate (or otherwise) during the refurbishment?
- The campus is growing so we may need to move to another campus within the next few years
- We are renting an old warehouse and cannot make any major changes to the design of the building without first consulting the owner of the property as well as local government
How might we redesign the Student Services Reception area so that…
- it looks more inviting?
- students are not held up when trying to get to class?
- students with a physical disability are able to gain access?
- the temperature is more moderate?
- it functions more effectively?
Next steps (Ideation)
- Observe flow of students in an effort to better understand patterns of use
- Survey key stakeholders including students and staff in order to better understand their needs
- Develop a structured competition (or design challenge) where rival teams are tasked with figuring out this problem
Ideas for redesign/implementation
- Move the Student Services Reception area away from the stairs
- Install a lift and suggestion box
- Install a self service multimedia display so that students can get the information they need without having to speak to someone
- Improve signage ie. display contact details including opening and closing hours as well as telephone number and email address
- Play soothing music to help people to stay calm
Brown, T. (2009). Change by design: How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. Harper Business
D.school, Stanford University, How might we?… Method Card: http://dschool.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/HMW-METHODCARD.pdf Accessed August 17, 2014
The Design Council (2013). Design for public good. Retrieved from: http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/sites/default/files/asset/document/Design%20for%20Public%20Good.pdf