Interactive Displays: Perception, Awareness, and Interaction

Analysis of interactive displays by  Brignull & Rogers (2003) has already yielded information about perception, awareness and interaction, allowing for differentiation between three general phases: for example, from perception to direct interaction with the featured content, as shown in figure 1: a) peripheral awareness activities, b) focal awareness activities and c) direct interaction.

Interaction Thresholds

Figure 1: Perception and Usage of Interactive Displays
(Source: Daniel Michelis (2009), according to: Brignull & Rogers, 2003)

By dividing the space into the ambient, notification and interactive zones, content can be adapted to each phase, as the following figure shows. In the ambient zone, the content is of a more general nature (directions, general information) and does not require a user to be present. It is only slightly or not at all interactive and serves as advertising on a dynamic surface. Digital signage systems can also provide direct interaction, including calling up local information. As a viewer approaches the advertising surface or once their presence is registered, interactive content is then displayed which can then provide personal, detailed information (e.g. details and information via text message).

3 Interaction Zones

Figure 2: Three-phase Model
(Source: Daniel Michelis (2009), according to: Streitz, et al., 2003)

A third Four-phase-model differs from Streitz et al’s Three-phase model in that it emphasizes “fluid transitions between phases, and […] support sharing by several users each within their own interaction phase. By dividing Streitz et al’s ‘interaction zone’ into the Subtle and Personal Interaction phases and by generalizing the notion of a ‘notification zone’ into an Implicit Interaction phase, [the] framework suggests a wider range of implicit and explicit interaction techniques.”

4 Interaction Zones

Figure 3: Four-phase Model
(Source: Daniel Michelis (2009), according to: Vogel and Balakrishnan, 2004)


(Author: Daniel Michelis, Institute for Media and Communications Management, University of St. Gallen)


  • Harry Brignull & Yvonne Rogers (2003), Enticing People to Interact with Large Public Displays in Public Spaces, INTERACT’03
  • D. Michelis (2009), Interaktive Großbildschirme im öffentlichen Raum: Nutzungsmotive und Gestaltungsregeln, Gabler,  forthcoming
  • N. A. Streitz, C. Röcker, Th. Prante, R. Stenzel, D. van Alphen (2003), Situated Interaction with Ambient Information: Facilitating Awareness and Communication in Ubiquitous Work Environments. In: Tenth International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (HCI International 2003), June 22-27, 2003.
  • Vogel, D. and Balakrishnan, R. (2004), Interactive public ambient displays: transitioning from implicit to explicit, public to personal, interaction with multiple users. In Proceedings of the 17th Annual ACM Symposium on User interface Software and Technology (Santa Fe, NM, USA, October 24 – 27, 2004). UIST ’04. ACM, New York, NY, 137-146

6 Responses to “Interactive Displays: Perception, Awareness, and Interaction”

  1. 1 Maha March 8, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    I am doing a Phd on interactive design and would like some info on your Phd research kindly please contact me on my email shamsmaha

  2. 2 Interactive Displays October 10, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Interesting read. Will keep this information in mind when designing interactive content.

  1. 1 Embodied Interaction « Interactive Displays in Public Space Trackback on July 18, 2008 at 9:22 am
  2. 2 Media Facade Festival Berlin 2008 « Interactive Displays in Public Space Trackback on October 18, 2008 at 9:55 am
  3. 3 Evaluating Interaction with Display Applications in Public Space « Interactive Displays in Public Space Trackback on April 8, 2009 at 7:05 pm
  4. 4 Out-of-Home Displays: Interaktive Großbildschirme im öffentlichen Raum | Soziotechnische Integration Trackback on March 8, 2012 at 1:15 pm

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