Designing Metaphor-Based Ambient Tangible Artifacts to Support Workspace Awareness

Andrii Matviienko 1 , Abdallah El Ali 1 , 2 , Christin Hilmer 1 , Yannick Feld 1 , Wilko Heuten 3 , and Susanne Boll 1
  • 1 University of Oldenburg, Oldeburg, Germany
  • 2 CWI (Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica), Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • 3 OFFIS – Institute for Information Technology, Oldeburg, Germany
Andrii Matviienko
  • Corresponding author
  • University of Oldenburg, Oldeburg, Germany
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  • 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.
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, Abdallah El Ali
  • University of Oldenburg, Oldeburg, Germany
  • CWI (Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica), Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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  • 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.
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, Christin Hilmer
  • University of Oldenburg, Oldeburg, Germany
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  • Christin Hilmer is a computer science student at the University of Oldenburg.
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, Yannick Feld
  • University of Oldenburg, Oldeburg, Germany
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  • Yannick Feld is a physics student at the University of Oldenburg.
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, Wilko Heuten
  • OFFIS – Institute for Information Technology, Oldeburg, Germany
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  • 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.
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and Susanne Boll
  • University of Oldenburg, Oldeburg, Germany
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  • 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.
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Abstract

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.

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