Pervasive Support of Social Awareness for People Living Over a Distance

10. Juli 2017, 16:15 , 17:45

Veranstalter:  Torben Wallbaum Universität Oldenburg
Ort:  OFFIS, Escherweg 2, Raum F02

Social interaction and togetherness are key to our quality of life and well-being. Interacting with friends and
family members, exchanging information and experiences, is important to everyone. Moreover, close social
relationships between people lead to higher levels of satisfaction with one’s own life and raise self-esteem
for individuals. In co-located groups and families communication occurs spontaneously. People communicate
explicitly, for example, by verbally describing situations or instructions, and people communicate implicitly,
nonverbally through expression and perception of emotions, activities, presence, and appearance.
Quite often, nonverbal implicit communication is used for negotiating the availability of people and detecting
opportune moments for explicit verbal communication. Both ways of communication are necessary for rich
and successful interaction between people and play an important role in the social togetherness of people.
In my work, I explore how human machine interfaces can be designed to support people living over a distance
with keeping in touch without feeling obliged to communicate. I use research through design to develop
multimodal affective artifacts to exchange emotions, experiences and activities with loved ones.
I support social interaction and communication by shifting digital interactions into aesthetic everyday objects
that can ease usage and increase user experience. Especially older adults, people with disabilities and children
can benefit from this approach, as digital software can be challenging to use and often misses the needs of
these specific user groups. One approach to this problem is the use of tangible interaction to design simple,
intuitive and engaging human machine interfaces. At the same time the use of ambient information systems
can unobtrusively provide users with information in the periphery.
Drawing from previous works in these fields, the resulting systems and designs enable users to get ambient
information about activities of loved ones, exchange memories or ongoing experiences, and express emotions
and moods in various ways.
This thesis will contribute results on the impact and effect of the implemented systems on social awareness
and social communication between people living over a distance regarding content types, usage behaviors as
well as benefits and costs when using these systems. Results show that users feel a sense of togetherness
using these technologies, can estimate availabilities of others and get engaged into storytelling.
Further this thesis contributes design solutions to create social awareness in an affective and unobtrusive way
and to ease interaction for users with special needs.
Betreuerin: Prof. Dr. Susanne Boll