Designing digital and physical interactions for the Digital Public Space

Burnett, Daniel John and Coulton, Paul and Whitham, Roger (2017) Designing digital and physical interactions for the Digital Public Space. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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Over the course of the last decade there has been a perceivable shift in the way interactions occur with digital systems with a clear preference towards touchscreen based interactions. This move can be attributed in part to the Apple’s iPhone, first introduced in 2007, and whilst not the first touchscreen product, it was the first to lead to widespread adoption and use. This thesis seeks to develop new design interaction methods that recognise that we are moving away from a dominance of digital interactions with screens to one where interactions are supported by everyday things. These devices allow greater perspectives to be gained than when purely interacting by touchscreen. This is presented as an exploration of interaction methods surrounding intermediary objects that are both physical and digital in nature - phygital. Affordances are an important part of how people interact with devices in their everyday life; it is these affordances that let us understand how to use things around us. Affordances are also present in the digital world and are an important part of how the work presented in this thesis analysed the design of the phygital objects and interactions they enabled. This thesis draws on six case studies from a diverse range of projects undertaken as part of The Creative Exchange research project. Beginning with an exploration of current touchscreen interaction methods then moving towards identifying and suggesting new interaction models. Throughout this research, key ideas will be extracted, rationalised and presented individually for each Creative Exchange project, in such a way that allows conclusions to be drawn about physical and digital interactions in the Digital Public Space. Finally, this body of work concludes with a design manifesto which, provides a route away from strict screen interactions to one where more physical Natural User Interfaces that interact with the world. The manifesto will also serve prospective phygital interaction designers in the production of new interactions by identifying key findings such as matching affordances to the phygital objects.

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Thesis (PhD)
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10 May 2017 08:16
Last Modified:
24 May 2024 02:35