Jun 28

Adaptive Design

Dan Hill provides an interesting post on the Smithsons and adaptive architecture. He looks at the notes from the original architects’ report on a Sheffield University building, with their reflections on it’s changes after it’s occupancy years later. He abstracts some of their thoughts on designing buildings which can adapt with time and work within their surroundings, cultural or physical. The idea of a Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) is interesting. It’s apparently the “systematic evaluation of opinion about buildings in use, from the perspective of the people who use them. It assesses how well buildings match users’ needs, and identifies ways to improve building design, performance and fitness for purpose.” Dan adds,

I encourage people to think of post-launch reviews of websites as ‘POEs’ - gives a better sense of the live website inhabited by ‘others’, and out of control of the site’s designers i.e. promo images not made by specialists, the unpredictability of user-generated content.

A lot of the tenets of usability assessment for online systems were developed for applications that didn’t change much with use. Our more customizable systems and sites that feature considerable organic growth could benefit from such consideration.

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