Elimination of doubt: methods for a predictive design to direct and optimize the flow of visitors

Markus Schröppel

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph


The rapid development of international traffic characterizes our increasingly
globalized and ever more complex world. Nodal points (for example, airports)
have formed where people from various cultural backgrounds and
with differing levels of educational attainment need to reorient themselves
in a unfamiliar and often confusing environment.
A key condition to ensure everything works smoothly in such an international
junction is the extremely fast reception and processing of information
by everyone involved. The dominant school of thought among many
designers and planners of guidance and routing systems is still a reductionist
and mechanistic one (cause - effect). It has become apparent that the use
of non-internationally harmonized pictograms as information carriers has
failed completely. Recent findings in the field of cognitive science demonstrate
convincingly that previous models of visual perception and spatial orientation
can only highlight partial aspects. For these aspects, the question
has arisen: “Is there a possibility to evolve a predictive system to develop,
implement and verify design solutions to direct and optimize the flow of
visitors in large public spaces?”
Therefore, the moment of semiosis of the orientation seekers moved into
the focus of the investigation. This moment of meaning-making, which is
perceived by every individual differently, spans the entire spectrum of the
perception of the designated item (the optical characteristic of the character
substrate) between manifold interpretation or absolute certainty. The
various viewing options of “situational awareness” with the help of various
methodologies provide solutions for the design process. Taking the aspects
of perceptual psychology into account leads to the development of a systemic/
holistic and user-centred design of orientation systems in public spaces.
Identifying and consulting the predictive parameters in a systematic
process could show a practicable solution for the planning and evaluation
of guidance and routing systems. In various national and international case
studies, the process reliability and processing quality of this solution were
Involving mixed research methodologies of qualitative observation and
quantitative analysis, it was possible to develop a workable model. Through
observation and interpretation, ethnic habits and personal views were taken
into account to develop the methods. The use of questionnaires or surveys
created statistics to prove or disprove the hypothetical model.
The capacity of the presented model and the operationalization of the
research demonstrated an effective method for overcoming barriers of age,
language and culture. The publication satisfies, therefore, the criteria of the
academic quality of a practice-based Ph.D.
Original languageEnglish
  • Brusila-Räsänen, Riitta, Supervisor
  • Vanhanen, Hannu, Supervisor
Print ISBNs978-952-484-857-2
Electronic ISBNs978-952-484-858-9
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoEC publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)

Field of science

  • Visual arts and design

Citation for this output