Rethinking User Experience in Designing Cafeterias in Semi-Urban Pockets of India

Rethinking User Experience  in Designing Cafeterias

Cafeterias  are social gathering public spaces where people enjoy the experience of drinking coffee and tea with some light refreshments. They provide enhanced experience in terms of leisure, art, pleasure and culture. Moreover, human lifestyles, increasing working population and the growing influence of western culture have also increased the demand of cafes across globe in developing nations like India. They are also one of the most sought after architectural spaces. Spaces in Architectural Design are perceived differently by different professionals, designers and architects. It may be a three dimensional entity for some and volume filled with air by others. However, The success of any space depends not only on its design and functionality but also on opportunities provided to its users. Most of the  architects take utmost care that minimum standards are met as per national building codes and regulations but didn’t emphasize much on users. The main objective of this research is to incorporate user’s opinion in the designing process of cafes. It is extremely important to design environments that take into account the largest range of users possible. Understanding user expectations ,their needs and human behavior is extremely crucial. An online survey was conducted that included questionnaire based on Don Norman’s three levels of Design. It was an attempt to involve users in the design process of cafes. The major findings obtained from this study maps user’s behavioural , emotional , cognitive , social and sensorial needs in cafeterias. The paper thus concludes with interesting insights into rethinking of  Architectural Design Process for design of cafes that emphasizes upon user involvement.

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The results obtained from the study gave some significant insights. Cafes that have unique design elements that triggers emotional responses are most frequently visited. Emotions and senses play an important role  in humans' ability to comprehend and learn about the environment. Emotions has a profound affect on decision-making , memory and generate meanings (Triberti, 2017). Senses focusses mainly on senses namely sound, touch , smell or taste in connection with real, virtual, or experiential settings (Spence, 2020). According to Plutchik’s Psycho- Evolutionary Theory of Emotions , there are 8 basic emotions which are Anger , Disgust , Fear , Sadness, Anticipation , Joy , Surprise and Trust. He believed that blending these basic emotions will create varied levels of emotional responses from users. Hence, emotions assist designers and architects to introduce spatial  design elements that elicit emotional responses. The kind of light installations in addition to natural lighting(Wardono, Hibino & Koyama,2012)  , fragrance of the delicious food as well as plants and trees in open spaces around the cafes that provides indoor and outdoor views with the music around plays an important role. Music can be chirping of birds , melodious voice of a singer or sounds of water. The textures of the material used in floors , walls , ceilings and furniture and the choice of colors forms an important part of such design elements. Combination of Warm and cool colours and temperature also triggers senses. For instance Red color relates to passion , energy ,excitement and also enhances apetite therefore people are extremely fond of food served at KFC. KFC is the most popular brand  for chicken lovers. Similarly most of the juice containers like Tropicana , Real etc are also in Red and orange color . Orange color is also known to denote healthy food.

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The other important parameters to include are accessibility and equity. Accessibility is concerned with whether all the users can have an equal user experience regardless of how they interact with a product, service or a space . Accessible design is an approach of design that considers  the needs of individuals with physical disabilities. This aids people with a variety of impairments to utilize products, services, and facilities independently. (Meshur,2013).Another biggest challenge in designing process is to identify the users whose experiences are difficult to understand for designers. These could include users with some personal conditions, impairments etc. Though there have been certain design practices that have emerged over the time which encourage designed environments including diversity , equity and  accessibility such as barrier free designs. Barrier Free Design is a concept which removes all the barriers and obstacles for people with disabilities  in a particular space or a product or a service (Badungodage,2020.) Another one is  “Universal Design”.(Agarwal & Sharma,2014) The term became popular in the united nations convention  on the rights of persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) and it was initially coined  by Ronald Mace. Universal Design is defined as “the design of products , environments ,programs and services to be usable  by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.” (Shea, Basnak & Steinfield ,2018.This concept aims to reduce inequalities  in built environments by humanistic principles (Evans &Hearn,1977) that encourage social participation by people irrespective of their age , disability or any circumstances. Use of assistive technology can also encourage accessibility. (Netherton and Deal, 2006). ). Equitable Design attempts to design for historically underrepresented ,marginalised and vulnerable groups creating inclusive experiences. (Gutierrez&Jurow, 2018)

Architects and Designers should also  aim for “ Inclusive Design”. Inclusive Design is concerned with creating a framework for people that empathizes human diversity via research and analysis of a varied variety of users. (Zallio &Clarkson, 2021).Designers and researchers use this paradigm to create design decisions that take into consideration personal aspects such as gender, age, sexual orientation, language, race, and skills. The purpose here is to help traditionally underrepresented populations while keeping their needs and aspirations in mind. When we build a product to make it simpler for a certain group of consumers, we often create better experiences for everybody else too. Varying color schemes can evoke varied emotions. Thus the  process of user research and the kind of the experience users enjoy plays an important role in improving the quality of cafeterias for its users.

Here is the link for detailed research paper

About author

Manmeet kaur

Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Planning and Design, DIT University, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India 

Rishav Singh

Student, Department of Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering and Technology , DIT University, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India 1

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