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New mobile app concepts enhance face-to-face social experience

In addition to their traditional applications, mobile devices today also support and enhance face-to-face interaction. In her dissertation, MSc (Tech) Pradthana Jarusriboonchai introduces new application concepts and prototypes created to this end.

Mobile phones have developed far beyond their original features of calling or texting. Great computing power, Internet connectivity and various applications allow mobile phones to support different kinds of activities, including social face-to-face interaction. For example, a mobile phone is used to show photos to enhance storytelling in a group or to seek further information during a conversation.

In the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), mobile devices are designed to support and enhance social face-to-face interaction in various ways. MSc (Tech) Pradthana Jarusriboonchai’s dissertation provides for a better understanding of how mobile technology can be designed for co-located interaction. To explore this design space, seven application concepts and two prototypes were built and evaluated in altogether six studies.

The contribution of the dissertation is three-fold. The first is understanding the roles of the technology and design implications. The second is application concepts, system designs and findings from user studies that could inspire future design. Lastly, the dissertation presents a model that provides guidance in the design thought process for researchers and designers working in this research area.

One of the systems developed is ‘Social display’, which is a mobile application with a physical display attached on the backside of a mobile phone. The application aims to increase the awareness that people in the surroundings have about a user’s activities on a mobile device. The physical display automatically displays visual cues about the user’s current activity on his or her mobile device.

“I conducted a study with users using their mobile phones with ‘Social Display’ attached to them for 10 days and ended up with really interesting findings. Social Display was able to increase surrounding people’s awareness of the user’s activity on his or her mobile device. This led to curiosity, which resulted in a conversation with the user,” Jarusriboonchai says.

Another system was ‘Who’s Next’, a multiplayer mobile quiz-based game played during the first encounter of a small group of strangers. ‘Who’s Next’ gamifies self-introduction and turns it to an icebreaking activity game, utilising content related to the players as part of the game.

“This creates an open opportunity and encourages participation and interaction between the players. In a user study, the game was found to provide a broad interaction space for different types of people and equalise participation in the activity between extroverts and introverts,” Jarusriboonchai concludes.

Public defence of a doctoral dissertation on Friday, 9 December 2016

MSc (Tech) Pradthana Jarusriboonchai‘s doctoral dissertation in the field of Human-Computer Interaction entitled ‘Understanding Roles and User Experience of Mobile Technology in Co-located Interaction’ will be publicly examined at the Faculty of Computing and Electrical Engineering of Tampere University of Technology (TUT) in room TB223 in Tietotalo building (Korkeakoulunkatu 1, Tampere, Finland) at 12 noon on Friday 9 December 2016.

The opponent will be Professor Yvonne Rogers, University College Longon, UK. Professor Kaisa Väänänen from the Unit of Human-Centre Technology at Tampere University of Technology will act as Chairman.

Further information: Pradthana Jarusriboonchai,

News submitted by: Tiina Leivo
Keywords: science and research, face-to-face interaction, human-computer interaction, hci, computer-supported cooperative work, cscw