Archive for the 'Design' Category

Evaluating Natural User Interfaces for Public Displays in the Wild

by Jörg Müller, Daniel Michelis, Chris Kray
Position Paper, Workshop Natural User Interfaces, CHI 2010


One major application area of Natural User Interfaces are public displays, which are often not intended to help the user fulfill a certain task, but rather to be engaging, inspiring and entertaining. A key issue in this area is how to evaluate these systems and their user interfaces. Based on the case study of Magical Mirrors, we identify challenges that occur with evaluating such systems and propose ways to address these evaluation challenges. Challenges include the lack of a welldefined task, the difficulty of describing and observing audience behavior, the briefness and sparseness of typical interactions, and the public nature of the space.


Public Displays are by definition provided for a very broad user base, many of whom will not have encountered the display before. For such situations, Natural User Interfaces (NUIs), which aim to be learnable very quickly, are ideally suited. Such NUIs can involve touch [5] or gestures [4]. Typically, people pass by such displays at a distance, where gestures are well suited to initiate interaction. Rather than to support the user in a specific task, we argue that the most interesting application of such public displays may be to engage, inspire and entertain the audience. The fun of interaction may be an end in itself. We deployed Magical Mirrors, a set of public displays where passers-by can interact with gestures, and manually observed how the public interacted with the displays. We report on the challenges we encountered while evaluating the system and indicate ways to address these challenges. Continue reading ‘Evaluating Natural User Interfaces for Public Displays in the Wild’


Book presentation / Buchpräsentation

In the following weeks I will present the contents of my books “Interactive Displays in Public Space” at the following two events in Germany and Switzerland.

Please, let me know any questions, special interests etc. in advance.

Pervasive Advertising: Why Do We Want to Interact With Electronic Billboards in Public Space?

At the Pervasive Advertising Workshop at Pervasive 2009 I will try to give an answer to the question: Why Do We Want to Interact With Electronic Billboards in Public Space?. 

In our paper, Miriam Meckel and I examine the motivations behind the use of interactive large format displays in public space. On the basis of the empirical investigation documented in this blog we present an analysis of user-motivations in which motivational factors are determined from which design elements for interactive large format displays in public space can be derived. 


Fig. 1: Usage patterns of passers-by interacting with the prototype

Poster: Playful Interaction with Public Displays

To bridge USM08 Conference and Exhibition, selected posters that show latest developments and research in the field of Urban Screens will be displayed to the conference audience. “Six selected Posters will be presented in an experimental Pecha Kucha like event on the Atrium LED Screen via a scheduled skype session.”

My own research project will be shown on a poster titled: “Playful Interaction with Public Displays”.

Abstract: “This poster describes a serious of experiments on playful interaction with public displays. The experiments were conducted using the 4 interactive displays in Berlin, Germany, that invite passers-by to playfully interact with their mirror images. In 13 experiments, a totalof almost 5000 passers-by were observed and an additional survey was conducted. The results of the investigations have recently been analysed as part of the author’s dissertation.”

Embodied Interaction

Die Abwesenheit des menschlichen Körpers galt bislang als wesentlicher Unterschied zwischen der Interaktion mit der realweltlichen Umgebung und der Interaktion mit dem Computer [1]. Im aktuellen wissenschaftlichen Diskurs wird jedoch zunehmend der gesamte Körper als Kommunikationskanal [2] verstanden, über den Mensch und Computer mit einander interagieren können [3].

Als Embodiment [4] wird die allmähliche Verkörperung der Mensch- Computer- Interaktion bezeichnet, die auf physischen Aktivitäten in der Realumgebung des Nutzers und basiert und sich in Echtzeit vollzieht:

„Embodiment means possessing and acting through a physical manifestation in the world. […] Embodied phenomena are those that by their very nature occur in real time and real space.“[5]

Es wird davon ausgegangen, dass die physische Komponente an Bedeutung gewinnen und die klassische Interaktion über den Computerbildschirm ergänzen wird. Menschen werden in Zukunft zusätzlich über Berührungen und Bewegungen mit Computern interagieren, wobei sich die menschliche Kommunikation mit digitalen Technologien immer mehr verkörpern wird.

„We expect interaction with digital media to become much more physical and less screen based. People will interact with digital technologies through touch, manipulation, and gesture; interaction will increasingly be embodied.” [6]

Continue reading ‘Embodied Interaction’

Interactive Displays – Design Elements

Research and my personal project experience thus far has shown a number of central design elements that can influence the usage behaviour:

  1. Screen size
  2. Screen direction
  3. Number of screens
  4. Screen content
  5. Position of the user
  6. Distance from screen
  7. Interactive zone
  8. Interactive mode

At present I am applying these elements in the conceptual development of interactive displays at a German football stadium.


Figure 1: Desing Elements of Interactive Displays
(Source: Daniel Michelis, 2009)

In addition to the elements shown in the figure above, the technology to be used must be adapted to suit the location and the purpose of the display. This list of design elements is by no means exhaustive, but should serve as a basis for analysis and concept development.



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