Involve users. In the introduction of the book, we argued that users are the most important stakeholders of a building project. This is because they are the ones who will be using the building, the ones whose daily lives will be affected by its design long after the architects and contractors have departed the scene. It therefore makes sense to involve users in the briefing process not just on ethical grounds, but also from a practical perspective, because user input can help to create better, more usable buildings. Generally speaking, a distinction can be made between passive and active approaches to user involvement. In passive approaches, users are primarily used as a source of information. They are asked about their activities or ideas in interviews or surveys, but they dont have any real involvement in the project. In contrast, active approaches give users a very direct opportunity to contribute to the brief via workshops, meetings and focus groups (see page 125). Active user involvement can be especially productive in briefing processes. It gives users the opportunity to air ideas and concerns that would normally be overlooked by the briefing team. Active engagement can also lead to a higher level of user acceptance of the project because it is also their project. There is no denying, however, that user involvement can be quite a challenging and time-consuming process. It is likely to introduce diverging views into the project and it may raise expectations that cannot be met. Furthermore, user involvement may put a brake on the development of new ideas if users prove to be strongly attached to the current situation. However, these disadvantages can be largely overcome by good facilitation and clear communication. The most important recommendation, however, is to take user involvement seriously. If the outcomes of involvement are ignored, it will result in a loss of trust and enthusiasm on the part of the users. So, if user involvement is just a symbolic gesture, embraced only because books like this say that it is important, it is better not to do it at all. Recommendations-Ensure that the projects decision makers are willing to take the outcomes of user involvement seriously.-Think about who to involve. Look at peoples knowledge, their role in the organization and their ability to contribute to the brief.-Maintain user involvement to the end: users who have been involved in the briefing process can also play a productive role in the assessment of design proposals.-Educate and facilitate users: user involvement is more productive when users are not entirely blank, but have a basic understanding of the topic under discussion.-Focus user involvement on usability issues and functional needs, not on the design itself. -Be upfront about what will be done with the users input. Explain which ideas will be used, which ones will be placed on a wish list, and which ones will be discardedand why this is the case.