Public Displays: Research Limitations

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More and more academic research projects are starting to explore the usage of interactive displays in public space but until today there are three central limitations in this area of investigation:

Limitation 1: There are merely empirical investigations

The vast majority of research projects with interactive displays in public space is based on explorative investigation only. Most projects analyze the spread large-scale displays in public space from a very generic perspective, raise general non-systematic questions and offer only hypothetic answers. The entry of interactive applications into public space is part of a greater tendency: computer usage has seeped into public life and is no longer restricted to mere task fulfillment at the workplace. While task oriented theories simply regard the “how” of an activity but not the “why”, they leave questions concerning underlying motivations unanswered. Presently there exists a significant need for furthering the understanding of motivations behind user activities. Only very little is known about the process of interaction and particularly, about how interactive displays activate engagement of passers-by and encourage intensive user-interaction.

Limitation 2: Real-world studies are needed to fully understand public interaction processes.

After a long phase of experimenting with prototypes only recently interactive large-scale are displays finding their way into public space. So far most investigations took place in protected areas inside laboratories or academic institutes. Since interaction with public displays occurs in both the digital and the real world, lab based user studies are no longer sufficient; instead only by designing real-world settings are we able to fully understand public interaction processes.

Limitation 3: Most research is based on single-display applications

Third, due to the cost of prototype development, research has widely been limited to single-display-usage. Until today, research with multi-display prototypes is very rare.

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1 Response to “Public Displays: Research Limitations”



  1. 1 Research Limitations « Designing Interactions Trackback on September 11, 2010 at 8:19 pm

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