The Quality of Building Design Between Aesthetics and Usability: a Case Study on Underground Stations
Authors: Gabriella Duca
Abstract: This paper presents a research on railway station usability, where Usability Performances Areas (UPA) and Usability Performances Indicators (UPI) have been defined in order to understand the gap between intended design quality and actual quality as perceived by end-users of the building. According with the ISO 9241/11 standard, the definition of usability metrics has been based on the observation of users and tasks in the railway station, resulting in 13 clusters of users, with characterizing behaviours and needs, involved in 15 elementary tasks. UPAs express the general usability requirements common to all tasks, which have been successively elicited in a set of corresponding usability indicators, specifically addressing each task. The full list of UPIs has been applied for the assessment of an underground station of Naples (Italy), belonging to an underground stations network created with the joint work of world-class architects and artists. Usability critical points related to architectural plan, architectural detailing and outfitting which result from poor consideration of end-users in building design process are discussed, together with implications for the effective integration of ergonomic skills in the design process.
Keywords: users’ needs, task analysis, usability assessment, architectural design, technical solutions
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