Ad hoc encounters with big data: Engaging citizens in conversations around tabletops
Journal article, 2015

The increasing abundance of data creates new opportunities for communities of interest and communities of practice. We believe that interactive tabletops will allow users to explore data in familiar places such as living rooms, cafés, and public spaces. We propose informal, mobile possibilities for future generations of flexible and portable tabletops. In this paper, we build upon current advances in sensing and in organic user interfaces to propose how tabletops in the future could encourage collaboration and engage users in socially relevant data-oriented activities. Our work focuses on the socio-technical challenges of future democratic deliberation. As part of our vision, we suggest switching from fixed to mobile tabletops and provide two examples of hypothetical interface types: TableTiles and Moldable Displays. We consider how tabletops could foster future civic communities, expanding modes of participation originating in the Greek Agora and in European notions of cafés as locales of political deliberation.


Morten Fjeld

Chalmers, Applied Information Technology (Chalmers), Interaction design

Pawel Wozniak

Chalmers, Applied Information Technology (Chalmers), Interaction design

Josh Cowls

University of Oxford

Bonnie Nardi

University of California at Irvine (UCI)

First Monday

1396-0466 (ISSN)

Vol. 20 2

Areas of Advance

Information and Communication Technology

Subject Categories

Other Engineering and Technologies

Interaction Technologies

Driving Forces

Innovation and entrepreneurship



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