Behavioral Mapping Tools

6 May 2011 - 1:56pm
5 years ago
5 replies
2550 reads

The research division of my architecture firm is exploring new methods of observation and understanding how users interact with the built environment. I know interaction design is generally virtually/digitally based rather than physically, but I thought I'd start a thread anyways. We're looking for digital tools for behavioral mapping that allow us to visually report on how visitors use the space we have designed. We're initially thinking along the lines of time lapse photography or GPS/GIS technology (although for observation within a building). Does anyone have any recommendations of methods, tools or technologies that would help?


9 May 2011 - 4:04am

i need help on this too, any anwers? :)

10 May 2011 - 4:16am
Eleanor Davies

Aedas Architects have a Computational Design team within their R&D group who design spacial layouts/planning by taking into account behavior. This combines visualization and simulation for design. 

Worked there a few years back and the CD team contact should still be :

In terms of 'tools' they may be a little bespoke but hope this helps



15 May 2011 - 8:02am
Dave Malouf


I suggest you look at the Work Models from InContext's Contextual Inquiry/Design methodology in the book "Contextual Design" by K. Holtzblatt and H. Beyer. There is a quick example of the "Flow" diagram on the wikipedia page:

All 5 diagrams together make for good representation of behavior. But what I have found working with students where the topics don't always align to work behavior is that different contexts of behavior require unique and creative abstract models in order to be best analyzed. Further the process of designing the models is in and of itself an analytical tool, which from my expereience leads to better synthesis.

Lastly, the best general tool for capturing behavior is narrative. Characters built from personas placed within narrative stories presented as films for entire teams to engage with. Using improvisation to build out the films is an amazing synthesis tool and  the outcomes of the films can be used to really generate concensus among stakeholders. I have yet been in a situation where this method has not led to great design results from my teams working on pretty complex material.

-- dave

16 May 2011 - 1:23am
Scott Mioduszewski

There are some good tools in the film Social Life of Small Urban Spaces

16 May 2011 - 5:15am
Paul Bryan

You might be interested in video analysis tools that conduct statistical analysis on motion-related behaviors. E.g. Best Buy used a retail traffic analytics solution from Verint Systems for customer experience optimization. It included real-time customer count, traffic patterns, dwell-times and in-store shopping behaviors.



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