Change blindness is a phenomenon that has been extensively studied for different purposes, even eye witness accounts in court. It occurs when a change is so subtle and gradual that it goes unnoticed. It is usually illustrated using one image that has been altered so that it is difficult to notice the changes. Images used for ‘spot the difference’ games in kids’ magazines are a good example of change blindness.

In commercial janitorial services this is a challenge that flooring experts face. Sunlight and continued use of the tiles on the floor can bring this about. When you combine this with soiling and add the processes it takes to clean the floor, change blindness becomes a real problem. After months of wear and tear, one only needs to take a single look at the floor to realize that it is not what it was 5 months ago.

There are ways, however, to make sure that you keep track of your floor’s degeneration. Here are a few tips that janitorial services use to spot the problem as it develops.

Keep a few tiles for comparison

The sample tiles that you keep will serve as a benchmark to identify what changes have taken places. Whatever you apply to the floor tiles should be applied to the sample tiles so that the two sets of tiles are identical. Compare the appearance of the sample tiles with the floor every few months. What you will realize is that, though the difference may go unnoticed, the floor tiles have undergone some changes that have robbed them of their shine. This is one way to beat change blindness since when compared to tiles that are in good condition the differences are clearer.

Using a gloss meter

This is a piece of equipment that all janitorial services should have. It is as close as you get to identifying the wear and tear of a commercial floor. The gloss meter shines a predetermined amount of light to the floor at an angle. The light reflected is measured so that one is able to tell just how glossy the floor is. There are a few setbacks tied to this method though. The amount of natural and artificial light hitting the floor may impact on accuracy.

What if there is no gloss meter?

While professional janitorial services should have this handy piece of equipment, most of the time they don’t. This should not stop you from finding out the decline of the floor. One way of doing things involves looking at the floor from a distance and moving further back. Start with a two-foot range and check the gloss and cleanliness of the floor. At this range you should be able to count the overhead lights that reflect on the floor. A floor that is in good condition should virtually look like a mirror reflection. At the ten foot range the floor takes on a wet look. A wetter look indicates that the tiles are still holding up fine. It is not nearly as scientific or accurate as the gloss meter but it will give you a good idea of the condition of the tiles.

Using dots to get rid of change blindness

It’s an old yet very effective technique of determining the condition of the floor. Make a mark on the floor using a magic marker- or something similar, after two coats of finish. Make similar dots in traffic lane fashion after the third and fourth coats. As the dots disappear you will be able to tell how many coats of finish you are left with.

These are methods that work for different types of floors; however, it is worth noting that things such as cleanliness of the floor, lighting and the type of finish applied play into the effectiveness of these methods.