The following are tactical steps in assessing needs for space planning and evaluating how well a space works for users.
Understanding the Current State
- Gather existing information about institutional priorities and needs from a variety of sources such as, strategic plans, institutional partners such as a unit responsible for institutional research, information technology, and teaching and learning experts.
- Gather information about current spaces in use in the vicinity of the space(s) being envisioned and / or designed. Observation data and photos of users in other relevant spaces can be useful for sharing information with stakeholders.
Learn from Envisioned Space Users
- Determine research questions. What do you need to know about how users do their work and how they use spaces and technologies?
- Select appropriate research methods to help you gather information pertinent to your research question.
- Make sure space planners are given useful information about user behaviors and needs throughout the space planning process. Tools such as use cases and personas can be helpful for bringing planners to a shared understanding of user needs and space goals.
Continue the Process
- Using your space goals, develop a space assessment plan to research how well the space, technology, services, etc. are responding to user needs. Explore strategies to get at how well the space is supporting learning and teaching, not just user satisfaction.
- Inevitably, new questions will arise. Continue with an ongoing assessment cycle in order to keep user needs at the heart of your space.
- Keep abreast of campus trends and needs as well as space user needs.