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Have you heard that InformeDesign, the website with design research sources, content, and tools, has been relaunched?  I didn’t know this, but I ran into one of its co-creators, Caren Martin, Ph.D., at Neocon last month — and she gave me all the details.

Originally launched in January 2003, InformeDesign was a project that Martin and Denise Guerin, Ph.D., developed as faculty members at the University of Minnesota. At its core are more than 2,400 research summaries from peer-reviewed journals link design and human behavior in a variety of settings — including healthcare.

Free to all, the website has been supported by grants from the American Society of Interior Designers, in-kind contributions from the University of Minnesota, as well as donations from the design community. The challenge has always been how to find the resources to sustain and grow InformeDesign.

Martin and Guerin have taken up this challenge.  They’ve licensed InformeDesign from the university, formed InformeDesign, LLC, and reskinned/reprogrammed the site. While I found the new site somewhat cumbersome to navigate (has a lot of drop-down menus), overall it’s a big improvement over the old site.

They’ve also come up with some great ideas for expanding the site’s resources and generating revenue by inviting anyone to publish content for modest fees (if accepted), including:

  1. Research summaries of journal articles
  2. Case studies, academic research reports, and whitepapers
  3. Thesis or dissertation
  4. Opinion pieces

Besides inviting people to submit, this site is different from The Center for Health Design’s free Knowledge Repository in that it doesn’t just focus on healthcare. Subscription-based Research Design Connections is another source for archived research articles and blog posts on a variety of design topics and settings.

It will be interesting to see if InformeDesign’s business model works with the greater academic and design community. But I think it might.

Martin and Guerin are also reaching out to product manufacturers and design firms to continue to support the site through advertising and/or becoming a Cornerstone Partner or Champion.

Generating revenue is really the only way this terrific design research website can remain free and accessible to all. So, all of you with graduate degrees in a field related to design and human behavior, find that thesis or dissertation that’s buried in your computer files and submit it to InformeDesign.  For just $20, you can finally publish it.

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Sharon Crockett

7 years ago

This is a great resource for all designers (even those not active in healthcare, such as corporate designers) who are pushing into the area of using academic research as the basis for more design intervention decisions. By having access to this kind of research and also by being able to find a place to publish empirical data (i.e., actual changes in behaviors, for instance, resulting from specific design interventions), there can be a sharing of information that benefits everyone. Having worked in corporate office interior design, I know there is a hunger for this sort of info in that realm. Also, as a residential interior designer, I would like to use this data to inform much of my current work. Thanks for sharing this info about InformeDesign.

Sara Marberry

7 years ago

Thanks for your comment, Sharon. I agree that the strength of InformeDesign is that it covers many design areas — not just healthcare.

Stefnee Trzpuc

7 years ago

This is very exciting news and Congrats to Dr. Martin and Dr. Guerin on the relaunch of InformeDesign. These are two of the most knowledgeable academics to lead this effort (Dr. Martin was my thesis advisor at the U of MN – and I’ve had the honor to be mentored by both of them). Our industry needs trustworthy resources like InformeDesign to support all market types. Looking forward to their future success and contributions to our research community.

Sara Marberry

7 years ago

Thanks, Stefnee. I agree with you!

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Sara Marberry, EDAC, is a healthcare design knowledge expert, thought catalyst, and strategic marketing and business development consultant. The author/editor of three books, Sara writes and speaks frequently about industry trends and evidence-based design. She can be reached at sara@saramarberry.com.

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