Enhancing User Experience in Public Spaces by Measuring Passengers' Flow and Perception Through ICT: The Case of the Municipal Market of Chania

Enhancing User Experience in Public Spaces by Measuring Passengers' Flow and Perception Through ICT: The Case of the Municipal Market of Chania

Anna Karagianni (Technical University of Crete, Greece), Vasiliki Geropanta (Technical University of Crete, Greece), Panagiotis Parthenios (Technical University of Crete, Greece), Riccardo Porreca (UTE University of Quito, Ecuador), Sofia Mavroudi (Technical University of Crete, Greece), Antonios Vogiatzis (Technical University of Crete, Greece), Lais-Ioanna Margiori (Technical University of Crete, Greece), Christos Mpaknis (Technical University of Crete, Greece), Eleutheria Papadosifou (Technical University of Crete, Greece) and Asimina Ioanna Sampani (Technical University of Crete, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3970-5.ch002


This research investigates user spatial experience transformations that occur in hyperconnected public spaces and transform them to hybrid spaces. Following this target, the authors conduct an experiment in the Municipal Market of Chania, Crete, in which they evaluate user behaviors on a population of 33 participants comparing their spatial experiences before and after the use of ICT. Through qualitative and quantitative methods (the use of the technology Indoor Atlas as well as questionnaires), the authors analyze behavioral change among users with and without access to Crete 3D, an online ICT-based innovative informative platform, aiming to establish a theoretical framework of understanding user interaction with built space. This process enables knowledge transfer in a twofold way: the authors present how to use metrics to evaluate user-building interaction and how users can quickly gain a deep understanding of the building in use.
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According to Nikos Komninos, intelligent cities are encountered at the intersection of innovation and collaborative digital spaces. “For us, a digital city is a collaborative digital space used to facilitate and augment the activities and functions taking place within the physical space of the city” (Komninos, 2008 p.247). In digital spaces, information acquisition is facilitated by sensors, digital networking and other technologies. But how can we evaluate user experience and user-building interaction in a physical space where digital technologies are not already embedded? The issue of combining wireless ICT with IoT technologies and immersively integrating them into the user environment are the crux of the problem. In this specific case, the objective is to decipher user experience within the public space of the Municipal Market of Chania, by establishing a temporary digital environment within the bustling physical space. Following this objective, the paper has been divided in seven sections. The first chapter analyzes empirically visitor types and their interaction with the building’s physical space. The second and third chapter, focus on how ICT and IoT technologies contribute to the decoding of user behavior in this specific case, while the fourth chapter describes the in-situ experiment. Then, qualitative and quantitative data sets extracted by the technology and traditional users prior to their visit are analyzed and compared. The sixth chapter draws upon the entire thesis, tying up the empirical and metric strands, aiming to provide a comprehensive model of user behavior in the framework of new digital technologies. Finally, the conclusion highlights areas for further research.

The methodology of this study is based on empirical analysis as well as qualitative and quantitative data acquisition and comparison. During the first part of the study, the authors visited the building and conducted an empirical documentation of its morphological entities, aiming to extract patterns of flows within the site and highlight the points of maximum interaction between users and built space. As built space, we define: a) the interior space of the building and b) the interstitial spaces that connect the built space of the monument with the urban tissue. During the second part of the study, the authors engaged a group of 33 users, formed by young people that visited the building on a summer day. Two subgroups were formed: the users of the first subgroup entered the building and were asked to circulate freely, while the users of the second subgroup launched the visit after navigating into the Crete3D platform. Crete3D is an online WebGL platform, where users can find replicated morphologies of the main archaeological Cretan monuments presented through a conceptual 3D model. Through the platform, users are able to navigate around the monuments and speculate them at different levels of spatial and contextual detail. The platform allows for switching between seven historical periods and offers a comparative study of their evolution in time. The platform’s innovative feature was the potential ‘to manage such a large amount of information over the internet, in a transparent, light and simple way for the end user, in addition to offering the ability to compare data over time, during the historical periods.’ (Parthenios P. et al, p.1, 2012). Users’ location was monitored real-time through the Indooratlas application that was previously installed on every user’s smartphone. To facilitate the process, we will refer to the first group of users as ‘traditional users’ and the second as ‘tech users’. After the visit, the team sent a link of the questionnaire in the form of a google survey to both traditional and tech users. The questionnaire consisted of 33 questions, grouped in three sections:

  • Level of Knowledge prior to the visit

  • Overall Experience Evaluation

  • Building Evaluation with emphasis to architectural elements

A total of 33 anonymized questionnaires were completed. The research team analyzed the subjective data, extracted from the questionnaires and juxtaposed them with the objective data, which consist in the real-time location tracking acquired through Indoor Atlas platform. Finally, subjective and objective data was compared among the users that browsed Crete3D application and those that entered without any additional knowledge on the monument.

Key Terms in this Chapter

User: A person that uses something.

Human-Building Interaction: The study and design of interactive opportunities for the occupants to shape the physical, spatial, and social product of their built environments (Alavi et al., 2016 AU51: The in-text citation "Alavi et al., 2016" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Smart: The ability to autonomously acquire and apply knowledge.

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