“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” ~Steve Jobs
What Are The Three Pillars Of Office Design?
Design is never static but in a constant state of motion and transition. What was “hot” in office design ten years ago now looks staid and jaded. We’re seeing a shift towards more co-working spaces, a downsizing of floor space leading to a more creative use of existing areas. The cubicles have given way to the playgrounds, the grey concrete is being replaced by branded designs. The office is in a state of flux.
Whatever the latest design trends are there remain three core elements that need to be addressed before we decide on the best office furniture, the colour scheme or where the printers will sit.
Not A, B, C But A, F, U(x)
There are three core elements in any design process: Aesthetics, Functionality and User Experience. Whatever the current whims or fads are, all office design needs to have these three pillars at its base.
Aesthetics: How pleasing is the environment to the eye? Aesthetics here refers to the initial WOW factor, how the office looks to you both on initial impressions, and on a day to day basis. This isn’t just playing to the ego though; studies have proved time and again that if you are happy in the work space you will be more productive. Beautiful boardrooms make for brilliant business.
Functionality: Pretty much as it says on the tin, the functional aspect of the design process is to make sure that the work space is useful and is fulfilling the function for which it was intended. There has been a tendency in the past to place functionality above aesthetics, or even to the exclusion of aesthetics. Of course it plays a major role in the sense that you are likely to be restricted by the physical space and location of the building but it cannot be seen in isolation.
User Experience (UX): If you’ve ever come across a website that has left you practically in tears of frustration because you cannot find out the simple peace of information that you went there for you will understand how important it is to get UX right. User Experience is the process of converting the need to use a product or service into a pleasure. This is the third dimension to the design process - it goes beyond the design working properly, being aesthetically pleasing and being fit for purpose.
Successful office design will incorporate all three of these processes and you, as the end user, will have a work space where you, your colleagues and your employees are productive, proud and professional.