I believe we’ve got a furniture problem
I was reading Aaron Schmidt’s most recent post on his blog, Walking Paper, about sign redesign and thinking about a problem we’re having with our new library layout. We had envisioned the lower level of the library to be the quiet study level, due to it’s “off the beaten path” location. (See The Project for more details on our wacky layout)
Aaron states, “We should aim to make our buildings and services so intuitive that little taped-up signs are redundant.” Right now, our quiet study level isn’t causing anyone to intuit quietness- but why?
Well, first of all, we have tables with 4 chairs at them. Second, we have comfy chairs, positioned in groups of 4. And finally, we have a bunch of couches that all face each other.
Houston, we have a furniture problem.
No amount of signs saying “Quiet Study Area!” or “Shhhh!’ are going to visually overpower the fact that the furniture screams out “Get three of your friends and come hang out here!” We’re going to have to fix the furniture, possibly by removing some of the chairs at the tables and repositioning the comfy chairs and couches.
If you keep making signs and no one is heeding them, there’s a good chance something about your library is overriding them. Stepping back and looking at things like furniture type, placement and lighting is one good way to figure out the problem.