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Journal of Interactive Media

Editor-in-Chief: Ziegler, Jürgen

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Volume 17, Issue 3


Designing Metaphor-Based Ambient Tangible Artifacts to Support Workspace Awareness

Andrii Matviienko / Abdallah El Ali / Christin Hilmer / Yannick Feld / Wilko Heuten / Susanne Boll
Published Online: 2018-11-14 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/icom-2018-0024


Current asynchronous (e. g., email) or synchronous (e. g., video-conferencing) communication methods in the workspace can be obtrusive and fail to mimic spontaneous interpersonal communication. This can cause difficulties in forming close relationships among working colleagues. To examine this problem, we conducted a needs assessment study consisting of an online survey, a focus group, and a co-design session to gather a set of system requirements and metaphors as a base for future system designs. Based on the results, we designed two metaphor-based ambient tangible systems to support awareness among working colleagues: AwareCups and AwareHouse. Furthermore, we evaluated these systems in a short field study with 22 participants and found that both systems are highly intuitive and easy to use. We discuss the solution space for metaphor-based tangible awareness systems and the effects of the outcomes on the potential increase of awareness among colleagues.

Keywords: Workspace awareness; ambient tangible artifacts; metaphor-based design; implicit communication


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About the article

Andrii Matviienko

Andrii Matviienko is a PhD researcher in the Media Informatics and Multimedia Systems Group at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oldenburg. His current research focuses on tangible user interfaces and multimodal assistance systems for child cyclists.

Abdallah El Ali

Dr. Abdallah El Ali is a human-computer interaction (HCI) researcher with a background in Cognitive Science. His research focuses on people-centric pervasive sensing for urban mobility and mobile interaction.

Christin Hilmer

Christin Hilmer is a computer science student at the University of Oldenburg.

Yannick Feld

Yannick Feld is a physics student at the University of Oldenburg.

Wilko Heuten

Dr. Ing. Wilko Heuten is senior principal scientist at OFFIS – Institute for Information Technology in Oldenburg, Germany. His research interests are the design and development of pervasive and multimodal interactive technologies to support everyday life activities. Since 2008 Wilko Heuten leads the group Interactive Systems in the health department at OFFIS.

Susanne Boll

Susanne Boll is a Professor of Media Informatics and Multimedia Systems in the Department of Computing Science at the University of Oldenburg, Germany. Her research interests lie in the field of multimedia and intelligent user interfaces.

Published Online: 2018-11-14

Published in Print: 2018-12-19

Funding Source: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Award identifier / Grant number: FR 806/15-1

Award identifier / Grant number: BO 1645/12-1

This research has been performed with a support from German Research Foundation (DFG) funding for project SOCIAL (FR 806/15-1 – BO 1645/12-1).

Citation Information: i-com, Volume 17, Issue 3, Pages 219–235, ISSN (Online) 2196-6826, ISSN (Print) 1618-162X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/icom-2018-0024.

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