Improving Design Performance of Students in Interior Architecture Undergraduate Education

Deniz Ayşe Yazıcıoğlu

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Improving Design Performance of Students in Interior Architecture Undergraduate Education

Deniz Ayşe Yazıcıoğlu

Istanbul Technical University, Faculty of Architecture, Interior Architecture Department, Taşkışla, Taksim, Istanbul/Turkey

Abstract

Considering the developing conditions in interior architecture undergraduate education and inevitability of performing restructuring works to this end is a reality expressed also in the literature. Performance-based design is one of the key concepts in this approach. When the works as to interior design project performance are examined it can be observed that conducting assessments of user recognition correctly and fully at the preliminary stage of project is an important component affecting the design performance. This is because the success of interior space design is measured by considering to what extent the requirements of the users are met. In this context, the purpose of this study has been designated as the creation of documents the students will benefit from while determining user requirements at the preliminary stage of the project within the purview of Interior Architecture Design Studio courses within the interior design undergraduate education. The scope of the study is limited to only residential interior design projects with an eye to reach a more elaborate result. Literature and practical application resources were researched to determine the documents utilized for recognizing the users in residential interior design as methodology at the first stage in line with the scope and purpose defined. Subsequently, all the documents obtained were examined by making comparisons in a systematic manner and the shortcomings of the cited documents were revealed. And in the final stage, suggestions were made with a view to overcome these shortcomings. It will be possible to determine user requirements more accurately through utilization of documents created in line with suggestions to be made within the purview of the study at the preliminary stage of residential interior design projects by interior architecture undergraduate students and this will increase the students' success as to designing significantly.

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Cite this article:

  • Yazıcıoğlu, Deniz Ayşe. "Improving Design Performance of Students in Interior Architecture Undergraduate Education." American Journal of Educational Research 3.5 (2015): 604-609.
  • Yazıcıoğlu, D. A. (2015). Improving Design Performance of Students in Interior Architecture Undergraduate Education. American Journal of Educational Research, 3(5), 604-609.
  • Yazıcıoğlu, Deniz Ayşe. "Improving Design Performance of Students in Interior Architecture Undergraduate Education." American Journal of Educational Research 3, no. 5 (2015): 604-609.

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1. Introduction

Considering the developing conditions in interior architecture undergraduate education and inevitability of performing restructuring works to this end is a reality expressed also in the literature. "performance-based design" is one of the key concepts in this approach and it is inevitable to reconsider the entire design process with an integrated point of view to this end [1, 2, 3].

When the studies as to interior design project performance are examined it can be observed that conducting assessments of user recognition correctly and fully at the preliminary stage of project is an important component affecting the design performance. This is mainly because the success of interior space design is measured by considering to what extent the requirements of the users are met. Addi and Lytle assert that priority of users in design of interior spaces is "designing functional spaces which serve their needs". Hence, they emphasize the need for establishing collaboration with the user in the design process with an eye to understand the user [4]. Ching [5] underlines the importance of taking into account the users and their action requirements to understand the functionality of interior space in the best and most accurate way and to meet the requirements related thereto. Arcan and Evci [6] express that the user is the criteria for everything in the design process and that the combination of single-actions which takes place due to requirements of the user and which is the most important element to be considered during this process constitute the action area while the combination of action areas constitute the usage areas. In this context, they stress the fact that design of the interior space is realized by arrangement of the action areas and required equipments with appropriate circulation areas. In other words, the inner space is formed according to the user thereof. Stephenson and Stephenson [7] indicate in a way to support all these thoughts that the designer may have valuable ideas at the starting point however they are of no importance if any of these ideas are incoherent with the user's requirements [3].

Furthermore, usage of "client questionnaire" to understand the user requirements at the preliminary stage of interior design provides the following additional benefits which help the progression of the design process [8, 9]:

1. It translates the research objectives into specific questions that are asked of the respondents.

2. It standardizes those questions and the response categories so every participant responds to identical stimuli.

3. By its wording, question flow, and appearance, it fosters cooperation and keeps respondents motivated throughout the interview.

4. Questionnaires serve as permanent records of the research.

5. They speed up the process of data analysis.

6. They contain the information upon which reliability assessments such as test-retest or equivalent-form questions may be made, and they are used in follow-up validation of respondents' participation in the survey.

The requirements of the user are determined in consultation therewith at the beginning of the design process due to all these reasons. Various "Client Questionnaires" are available to help the designer to make the right determinations at this stage. Personal meetings are very important to design process. First meeting with client usually runs one-and-a-half to two hours, during which time they discuss and take detailed notes on client’s needs, wants, ideas and ideals [10]. If the data obtained by the "Client Questionnaire" is complete and accurate, it will significantly improve the designer's performance in the design process [3]. Because client questionnaire translates the research objectives into specific questions that are asked of the respondents. It standardizes those questions and the response categories so every participant responds to identical stimuli. By its wording, question flow, and appearance, it fosters cooperation and keeps respondents motivated throughout the interview. Questionnaires serve as permanent records of the research. They speed up the process of data analysis [8].

In this context, determination of user requirements correctly and acquiring skills for developing their projects is of utmost importance within the scope of the "Interior Architecture Design Studio" courses during the undergraduate education of interior architecture students. This is because the skill they gain will contribute to increase their design performance significantly in their professional life.

2. Purpose and Methodology

In this context, the purpose of this study has been designated as the creation of documents the students will benefit from while determining user requirements at the preliminary stage of the project within the purview of "Interior Architecture Design Studio" courses within the interior design undergraduate education. The scope of the study is limited to only residential interior design projects with an eye to reach a more elaborate result. Literature and practical application resources will be researched to determine the documents utilized for recognizing the users in residential interior design as methodology at the first stage in line with the scope and purpose defined. Subsequently, all the documents obtained will be examined by making comparisons in a systematic manner and the shortcomings of the cited documents will be revealed. And in the final stage, the kind of documents the interior architecture undergraduate students will benefit within the scope of "Interior Architecture Design Studio" courses will be described in order that they can determine user requirements fully and correctly by taking into account these shortcomings.

3. Documents Used for Determination of User Requirements in Residential Interior Design

Literature and practical application resources were researched to determine the documents utilized for user requirements in residential interior design at the first stage. A total of 172 questions in 19 different resources were reached basing on the results of these researches. [11-29][11]. Subsequently, the mentioned 172 questions were reduced to a total of 95 questions in a comparative manner as seen in Table 1, by eliminating the similar questions.

Table 1. Questions for determining user requirements in residential interior design

When the distribution of questions used to determine the user requirements as to residential interior design listed in Table 1 were examined by resources they were found to be as provided in Table 2.

Table 2. Distribution of questions used to determine the user requirements by resources

3.1. Assessment of Documents Utilized to Determine User Requirements in Residential Interior Design

The documents provided in Table 1 and Table 2 and questions on these documents will be assessed in two different ways as qualitatively and quantitatively in order to determine how the documents which the students will benefit from while determining user requirements at the preliminary stage of the project within the purview of "Interior Architecture Design Studio" courses within the interior design undergraduate education will be.

3.1.1. Assessment of Documents Utilized to Determine User Requirements in Residential Interior Design Quantitatively

It can be seen that numerical distribution by resources shows differences as in Graphic 1 when questions in Table 1 and Table 2 are evaluated quantitatively. For Example; Wentzel Design [17] and Rachel Blindau [19], T. Mcintyre Associates Residental Architectures [23], IMHS [14] and Murray Arnott Design [13] make assessments to determine user requirements as to residential interior design by basing on 6, 21, 28 and 37 questions respectively. In other words, it has been determined that these documents which are utilized for the same purpose have a formation for obtaining data at different levels.

Graphic 1. Numerical distribution of Questions by resources

It can be seen that even the most frequently asked question which is "What style do you like and dislike?" was used in only16 of the 19 sources as seen in Graphic 2 when questions used to determine the user requirements in the residential interior design are evaluated in terms of frequency of use by sources. Similarly, presence of "What is the budget for your project?" question was determined in only 15 sources. In other words, it was understood that even the most important questions for determining user requirements which should be in all documents were not included in some documents.

Graphic 2. Frequency of use of most frequently asked questions by resources

3.1.2. Assessment of Documents Utilized to Determine User Requirements in Residential Interior Design Qualitatively

In the qualitative assessment phase of the questions utilized for determining the user requirements in Table 1, firstly a literature research was conducted to determine what the criteria to be based on should be when making this assessment. As a result of this research, it was observed that the following 21 different criteria should be considered [8, 30]:

1. The question should be focused on a single issue or topic.

2. The question should be brief.

3. The question should be interpreted the same way by all respondents.

4. The question should include all neccessary information.

5. The question should include response catagories clear and logical.

6. The question should use the respondent's core vocabulary.

7. The question should be a grammatically simple sentence if possible.

8. The question should not assume criteria that are not obvious.

9. The question should not be beyond the respondent's ability or experience.

10. The question should not use a specific example to represent a general case.

11. The question should not ask the user to recall specifics when only generalities will be remembered.

12. The question should not require the user to guess a generalization.

13. The question should not ask for details that cannot be related.

14. The question should not use words that overstate the condition.

15. The question should not use words that abbreviations, jardon or foreing phrases.

16. The question should not have ambiguous wording.

17. The question should not be "double-barreled."

18. The question should not lead the user to a particular answer.

19. The question should not have "loaded" wording or phrasing.

20. The question should not be too demanding and time consuming.

21. The question should not be biased.

When the questions to understand user requirements were evaluated on the basis of the 21 criteria mentioned hereinabove it was found that most of them made receipt of clear and correct answers dificult. For Example; the answer to the question of "What are your favorite / unfavorite colors?" to be given by the user will be probably light green, dark blue, orange and etc. However, the color tones which the user envisages by the concepts of light green or dark blue has very low probability to correspond with the color tones which the designer envisages. Any mistake to be made here may cause very adverse outcomes in terms of user satisfaction [3].

Similarly when the questions regarding the determination of style were evaluated, it was found that there are two questions which are “What style do you like and dislike?” and “What is the existing style of your home?” in order to understand it. Additionally, in some sources [11, 14, 21, 24] styles were tried to be described through a variety of visuals. However, these visuals do not have the quality to convey full and sufficient data related to these styles to the user. In other words, language unity between designers and users cannot be provided in the existing documents.

Furthermore, it was seen that none of these questions are intended for "cultural Implications". However, many behaviors including the way of eating recreation and fun vary considerably from culture to culture regarding the usage of houses [3].

There are only two questions to recognize the user's physical characteristics which are "Household members (name, work, space, special needs, birthday)” and “Special considerations (disabled, elderly or children)?”. However, these questions are not intended to understand the anthropometric measurements of users such as height, weight and etc. which are very important in interior design. For example two users with the same age and gender but with different heights such as 187 cm. and 155 cm can reach completely different heights. This in particular will affect the design of storage spaces significantly.

It is not possible for the existing documents and questions in these documents to identify user requirements adequately and correctly due to all these determined deficiencies. Therefore, suggestions will be made for the elimination of these deficiencies in the next phase of the study.

4. Suggestions for Creation of Documents to Ensure Identification of User Requirements in Residential Interior Design Correctly and at an Adequate Level

The use of all of the 95 different questions listed in Table is suggested in creation of documents to ensure identification of user requirements in residential ınterior design correctly and at an adequate level.

Identification of questions for learning anthropometric measurements of users is also suggested in the newly created documents. These questions should be identified by taking into consideration actions to be performed in the space and action groups and in an answerable way. In other words, which anthropometric measures should be taken for which actions should be included in the documents.

It is suggested to create the new questions in a way to ensure the receipt of clear and accurate answers. As in the color example provided hereinabove, the user should be enabled to choose from a color chart instead of saying the name of color and tone.

It is suggested to create questions identifying the cultural characteristic of users in the new documents. These questions should be created basing on actions that differ from culture to culture in terms of residential interior design.

5. Results

It will be possible to create the documents to be utilized to determine the user requirements in residential interior design correctly and completely in line with the suggestions to be made within the scope of the study. The use of these documents to be created anew will improve the students' performance success significantly within the purview of "Interior Architecture Design Studio" courses within the interior design undergraduate education.

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