Lahlou, S., Laboratory of Social Psychology, France and Nosulenko, V. and Samoylenko, E., Russian Academy of Sciences & Laboratory of Design for Cognition, Russia/France
Information technologies are changing the everyday environment, by providing for human activity new spaces with new affordances. Human work now takes place in environments physical (offices), digital (workflows, groupware), and hybrid (visio-conference). To study activity in these augmented environments, an approach called "Experimental Reality" (ER) was developed, and applied in an experimental "office of the future" at EDF R& . We investigate subjects' perceptions of their environment, compare it with their activity. We change the environment in controlled ways while maintaining the whole setting under observation, to compare situations. Experiments may last weeks or months. Before implementation, subject's expectations are investigated in a participative design phase, with scenarios and video mock-ups. Our techniques are based on the following: 1)Using video-scenarios to study the processes of perception and evaluation of hypothetical situations, and to design new environments; 2)Observing "experimental reality" by combining natural settings (observations), and experimental situations (tests); 3)Merging in a single database data from various techniques simultaneously applied to observe the impact of environmental changes (video, questionnaires, psychological tests, physiological measures); 4)Focusing on the subjective perception and preferences, quantified through verbal techniques and processed statistically. The empirical results presented here will focus on the impact of changes in a building with a population of 15 volunteers during a study which lasted 18 months. Advantages, costs and limits of the ER paradigm will be discussed in connection with these results.