Research Area 1 – Design

Designing Scalable Interaction Paradigms for Pervasive Environments

To make interaction with future computing systems possible, we need to seek a deep understanding of the fundamental interaction paradigms for pervasive environments. Interaction paradigms must be effective and efficient. Even more important is that their usage is obvious and learning how to use them must be possible in almost no time. Users must be enabled to transfer interaction knowledge across devices, situations, and environments. We need to develop interaction designs that fully capture the pervasive character of the interaction setting, possibilities of novel enabling technology, and the individual needs of the users interacting with their digitally enhanced environment. In this Priority Programme, we aim to explore the interaction paradigms that can be understood, learned, and transferred across situations and environments. We aim to develop novel interaction design methods that fully capture the pervasive character of the interaction setting, possibilities of novel enabling technology, and the individual needs of the users interacting with their digitally enhanced environment. We will embrace interaction paradigms that understand the individual activity, the intent and the human capacity in the context of different complex environments. We will search for transferability from one device to the next, from one setting to the next. Imagine that one wants to interactively “grasp” a news item from a public display on the street when walking by with a gesture and read it on the tablet on the way back home. Would the same paradigm also hold for grasping information from the x-ray display in an operating theatre to view it via the personal head-mounted device? Imagine a large pervasive computing environment such as a ship bridge that needs to gain an officer’s attention and highlight information for an upcoming task. Are the methods to gain and draw attention transferable to large control rooms of an energy plant? We will even have to question if the established user-centered design process and research methods in HCI are ready for scalable interaction paradigms in pervasive environments. These research questions address the design of novel interaction paradigms but also their transferability across domains.

Research Questions

  • How can interactive pervasive systems invite easy and accessible usage of their interactive functions across devices, settings, and domains? What are “metaphors,” the “vocabulary” of interacting with large ensembles of pervasive computing environments?
  • How can interactive ensembles easily reveal their functionality across devices, settings, and domains and offer introspection and learnability to all users?
  • How can interaction metaphors be designed to work across devices and ensembles of devices?
  • How do we design for continuity and consistency of interaction paradigms over different complex pervasive computing environments?
  • How do we design interaction paradigms that span multiple interconnected devices and are equally effective, efficient, and satisfying in different contexts?
  • How does the physicality of the space affect the design of interaction paradigms for large pervasive environments?

In this research area we expect the elicitation, design, implementation, and evaluation of new interaction paradigms by means of, e.g., ethnographic studies, participatory design, and involvement of stakeholders. Novel interaction paradigms that span a complex pervasive space will undergo experimental research with both qualitative and quantitative results. In an iterative process the projects will reflect on the designs and refine the paradigms towards successful interaction paradigms that scale.