Designing for Spatial Multi-User Interaction
Licentiate thesis, 2007
This thesis set out to define and discuss a design programme named Spatial Multi-User Interaction as the next step in line with the changing computer form. The traditional computer interaction model has been one user with one computer, but as the ubiquity and the form of the computer changes, new needs and possibilities rise.
There is a tradition for multi-user interaction in several research fields, but is basically work-practice based meant for traditional computer forms, and aspects such as simultaneousness, sociality, leisure and spatiality have been overlooked. With the rise of pervasive computing, where computers are everywhere around us, the interaction styles must change too and adapt more to the user.
The Spatial Multi-User Interaction design program consists of a theory, research experiments consisting of experimental design projects and experimental design
methods. The theory take a step from traditional and effective work-practice based Human-Computer Interaction to action oriented interaction design with a base in
playful and leisure based interaction. Four different aspects that constitute spatial multi-user interaction have been identified, which are of great contributions to this thesis. The four aspects are defined spaces from a design perspective, meaning design space rather than the architectural understanding of space. The design spaces
are; the interaction space, the social space, the physical space and the digital space.
The spaces constitute an experimental design model and are basically a design, inspiration and discussion tool for interdisciplinary designers. The potential of spatial multi-user interaction is investigated in practical work consisting of cases and methods. The experimental design projects demonstrate how this model can be used in the design process, and the experimental design methods are suggestions for means how to gather information in the different design spaces.
The aim of the design programme is to put more focus into the importance of designing computational things that support multi-user interaction, and especially spatial multi-user interaction, both on the user and on machine level. Further, the aim is also for interaction designers to see the interaction potential in what is already out there today, such as ubiquitous devices, databases and advanced communication protocols. A more narrow aim of this thesis is to conclude on passed work, and set out directions for future work. The method is practice-based
design research, where methods, artefacts and processes are described as equally important in the work of designing for spatial multi-user interaction.
Six papers will be presented, with the focus on the interaction and work process, and less on the artefact or application itself.