All publications

Journal articles

Designing interactive newsprint

David Frohlich, Philip Ely, Helen Moore, Connie Golsteijn, Paul Egglestone, John Mills, Jon Rogers, Tom Metcalf, Kate Stone, Maria Menicou

International Journal of Human-Computer Studies (2017), vol. 104, pp. 36-49

The possibility of linking paper to digital information is enhanced by recent developments in printed electronics. In this article we report the design and evaluation of a local newspaper augmented with capacitive touch regions and an embedded Bluetooth chip working with an adjunct device. These allowed the interactive playback of associated audio and the registration of manual voting actions on the web. Design conventions inherited from paper and the web were explored by showing four different versions of an interactive newspaper to 16 community residents. The diverse responses of residents are described, outlining the potential of the approach for local journalism and recommendations for the design of interactive newsprint.

Hybrid crafting: towards an integrated practice of crafting with physical and digital components

Connie Golsteijn, Elise van den Hoven, David Frohlich, and Abigail Sellen

Personal and Ubiquitous Computing (2014), vol. 18, issue 3, pp. 593-611

With current digital technologies, people have large archives of digital media, such as images and audio files, but there are only limited means to include these media in creative practices of crafting and making. Nevertheless, studies have shown that crafting with digital media often makes these media more cherished and that people enjoy being creative with their digital media. This paper aims to open up the way for novel means for crafting, which include digital media in integrations with physical construction, here called ‘hybrid crafting’. Notions of hybrid crafting were explored to inform the design of products or systems that may support these new crafting practices. We designed ‘Materialise’—a building set that allows for the inclusion of digital images and audio files in physical constructions by using tangible building blocks that can display images or play audio files, alongside a variety of other physical components—and used this set in four hands-on creative workshops to gain insight into how people go about doing hybrid crafting; whether hybrid crafting is desirable; what the characteristics of hybrid crafting are; and how we may design to support these practices. By reflecting on the findings from these workshops, we provide concrete guidelines for the design of novel hybrid crafting products or systems that address craft context, process and result. We aim to open up the design space to designing for hybrid crafting because these new practices provide interesting new challenges and opportunities for future crafting that can lead to novel forms of creative expression.

Facilitating parent-teenager communication through interactive photo cubes

Connie Golsteijn, and Elise van den Hoven

Personal and Ubiquitous Computing (2013), vol. 17, issue 2, pp. 273-286

Because most teenagers strive for freedom and try to live autonomously, communication with their parents could be improved. It appeared from a literature review and a diary study that parent-teenager communication primarily addresses teenager-oriented everyday activities. However, it also showed teenagers have a substantial interest in getting to know their parents and their parents’ past. The study described in this paper seeks to address this opportunity by designing a product for parents and teenagers that facilitates communication about the past of the parents. The resulting design, called Cueb, is a set of interactive digital photo cubes with which parents and teenagers can explore individual and shared experiences and are triggered to exchange stories. An evaluation of a prototype of Cueb with four families showed that the participants felt significantly more triggered and supported to share their experiences and tell stories with Cueb’s full functionality (connecting cubes, switching, and locking photographs) than with limited functionality (shaking to display random photographs), similar to more traditional photo media.

Demo hour: Cueb

Connie Golsteijn and Elise van den Hoven

Interactions (2012), issue March/April, pp. 8-9

Cueb is a set of interactive photo cubes that aims to encourage parents and teenagers to explore digital photos of their individual and shared experiences, reminisce, and exchange stories. Family members each have their own cube with photos of their individual experiences. Shaking a cube will randomly display photos on six sides. Connecting cubes by holding them together will display photos of the family members' shared experiences. Photos can be transferred between cubes and locked for use as a selection filter to find related photos. This generates surprising photo results and allows parents and teenagers to compare their experiences.

Facilitating communication about books through an online community

Connie Golsteijn and Elise van den Hoven

Personal and Ubiquitous Computing (2011), vol. 15, issue 2, pp. 197-217

Reading books can serve as a means of gathering information, relaxing and escaping daily stress. Although reading is often primarily an individual activity, many readers also enjoy sharing reading experiences with friends, relatives, colleagues and, through the internet, even with strangers. Apart from valuing these individual and collective book activities, books as physical artifacts are also valued, for example because of the memories associated with them. This paper investigates how books can be enhanced with a new product, system or service. In a qualitative interview study, the main reasons for valuing books were found to be related to the self (individual activities and feelings), experiences (e.g., enjoyment or release) and personal values (e.g., embodiment of ideals or personification). As a result, it was decided for the remainder of this study to focus on communication about books, because in addition to individual book-related activities and feelings, users indicated to communicate about books a lot. A book community Web site, called Shelf, was developed to investigate whether book communication could be increased by facilitating an online community and whether users would appreciate the Web site functionality. Shelf was used in a 14-day user evaluation, and it was concluded that the Web site increased the extent to which readers communicated about books. We expect that such an online book community would be a valuable enhancement of current book customs, in particular in combination with the current e-book trend, for various types of readers who would like to share their experiences.

Conference proceedings (peer-reviewed)

Sens-Us: designing innovative civic technology for the public good

Connie Golsteijn, Sarah Gallacher, Licia Capra, and Yvonne Rogers

Proceedings of the Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS 2016). ACM Press, pp. 39-49

How can civic technology be designed to encourage more public engagement? What new methods of data collection and sharing can be used to engender a different relationship between citizens and the state? One approach has been to design physical systems that draw people in and which they can trust, leading them to give their views, opinions or other data. So far, they have been largely used to elicit feedback or votes for one or two questions about a given topic. Here, we describe a physical system, called Sens-Us, which was designed to ask a range of questions about personal and sensitive information, within the context of rethinking the UK Census. An in-the-wild study of its deployment in a city cultural center showed how a diversity of people approached, answered and compared the data that had been collected about themselves with others. We discuss the findings in relation to the pros and cons of using this kind of innovative technology when wanting to promote civic engagement or other forms of public engagement.

Physikit: data engagement through physical ambient visualizations in the home

Steven Houben, Connie Golsteijn, Sarah Gallacher, Rose Johnson, Saskia Bakker, Nicolai Marquardt, Licia Capra, and Yvonne Rogers

Proceedings of the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2016), Honorable mention. ACM Press, pp. 1608-1619

Internet of things (IoT) devices and sensor kits have the potential to democratize the access, use, and appropriation of data. Despite the increased availability of low cost sensors, most of the produced data is "black box" in nature: users often do not know how to access or interpret data. We propose a "human-data design" approach in which end-users are given tools to create, share, and use data through tangible and physical visualizations. This paper introduces Physikit, a system designed to allow users to explore and engage with environmental data through physical ambient visualizations. We report on the design and implementation of Physikit, and present a two-week field study which showed that participants got an increased sense of the meaning of data, embellished and appropriated the basic visualizations to make them blend into their homes, and used the visualizations as a probe for community engagement and social behavior.

SmallTalk: using tangible interactions to gather feedback from children

Sarah Gallacher, Connie Golsteijn, Yvonne Rogers, Licia Capra, and Sophie Eustace

Proceedings of the Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (TEI 2016). ACM Press, pp. 253-261

Gathering opinions from young children is challenging and different methods have been explored. In this paper we investigated how tangible devices can be used to gather feedback from children in the context of a theater performance. We introduce SmallTalk, a tangible survey system designed for use within a theater space to capture what children, aged 4 to 9, thought of a live performance they had just seen. We describe how the system was designed to build on previous feedback methods that had been tried; while at the same time meeting the constraints of the challenging theater context. We present results from seven deployments of SmallTalk and based on these we briefly discuss its value as a method for evaluating the theater performance. We then look at how the results validated the system design and present several design implications that more generally relate to tangible feedback systems for children.

Getting quizzical about physical: observing experiences with a tangible questionnaire

Sarah Gallacher, Connie Golsteijn, Lorna Wall, Lisa Koeman, Sami Andberg, Licia Capra, and Yvonne Rogers

Proceedings of the Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp 2015). ACM Press, pp. 263-273

Organizers regularly want to understand the experiences of event goers and typically use survey methods, with researchers and clipboards. However, gathering opinions in such ways is difficult to do without disrupting the event goers' experience. In place of clipboard surveys, we developed a quite different form of tangible questionnaire, called VoxBox, which uses physical interactions to transform feedback giving into a playful and engaging experience that fits much more with the event itself. Here we question if such a device can successfully draw a diverse representation of event attendees to voice relevant opinions during the event. We describe an observational study of VoxBox based on two real-world deployments, and present findings on (1) the experiences VoxBox provides to facilitators and users; and (2) its capabilities as a means for opinion gathering. We conclude by discussing lessons learned, design implications, and the wide potential for tangible questionnaires in other application areas.

SenCity 2: visualizing the hidden pulse of a city

Sarah Gallacher, Connie Golsteijn, Vaiva Kalnikaite, Steven Houben, Rose Johnson, Daniel Harrison, and Nicolai Marquardt

Adjunct proceedings of the Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp 2015), workshop organisation. ACM Press, pp. 1391-1394

Following the success of the first SenCity workshop at UbiComp 2013, which focused on urban sensing technologies, the SenCity 2 workshop will focus on visualizing collected data in new ways. Specifically we will focus on physical forms of data visualizations using various mediums and actuation to explore how sensed data could be presented back to urban citizens in engaging and experiential ways. Participants will collaboratively apply practical research and creative flair at this hands-on workshop to design and prototype physical visualizations, bringing to life the hidden pulse of Osaka.

The ties that bind? Exploring the impact of a playful technology installation on weak ties at work

Jenny O'Connor, Connie Golsteijn, Ritsuko Ozaki, and Sarah Gallacher

Proceedings of the Academy of Management (2015), vol. 2015, no. 1

In this paper, we explore the ability of a cheap, playful installation to foster greater interaction between co-workers and a sense of fun in a poorly designed public sector workplace that has long-standing issues of lack of community, cultural integration, and siloed work practices. We find that there are a number of organizational, social, economic, and cultural constraints that shape the possible intervention. These are context and institution specific, and should inform any potential technological intervention. The study demonstrates that a sensitive and creative design can provide a number of positive outcomes for workers and the organization. It can foster new introductions, sustain conversations, act as a social lubricant, provide stress relief, stimulate interest in the workplace and generate creative attitudes to chronic organizational issues, promote a sense of democracy, worker autonomy, and trust.

Sens-Us: imagining a citizen-led, dynamic, and localized census

Connie Golsteijn, Sarah Gallacher, Licia Capra, and Yvonne Rogers

Proceedings of the British HCI Conference (British HCI 2015), demo installation. ACM Press, pp. 319-320

Sens-Us is an interactive installation that aims to rethink the UK census and explore how collecting census data can be more dynamic and localized. It explores how the census can become more integrated in our everyday lives and more citizen-lead, and it starts to imagine how this can change the relationship between citizens and the state. Sens-Us consists of a set of five interactive physical input stations, which ask questions in five different themes that are relevant to civic lives: demographics, health, belonging, place, and trust. For each theme we explore what data people are willing to disclose and with whom, and what information they feel should be available to them. We also aim to give people insight into how sharing their data can be beneficial for the common good, and explore how this changes their views on data sharing. Participants are first given a smart card which they insert in each station to register their answers to a specific card ID and subsequently answer questions using physical sliders and buttons. There is further a visualization station in which people can insert their card to view how their data compares to an aggregate of the collected data from all participants. Sens-Us was created in partnership with the Civic Workshop and the British Council and has been deployed in Somerset House in London throughout January and February 2015 as part of a Civic Bureau exhibition. We feel this installation fits very well in the HCI 2015 conference theme as it explores how interactive technology can mediate our civic lives.

VoxBox: a tangible machine that gathers opinions from the public at events

Connie Golsteijn, Sarah Gallacher, Lisa Koeman, Lorna Wall, Sami Andberg, Yvonne Rogers, and Licia Capra

Proceedings of the Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (TEI 2015). ACM Press, pp. 201-208

Gathering public opinions, such as surveys, at events typically requires approaching people in situ, but this can disrupt the positive experience they are having and can result in very low response rates. As an alternative approach, we present the design and implementation of VoxBox, a tangible system for gathering opinions on a range of topics in situ at an event through playful and engaging interaction. We discuss the design principles we employed in the creation of VoxBox and show how they encouraged wider participation, by grouping similar questions, encouraging completion, gathering answers to open and closed questions, and connecting answers and results. We evaluate these principles through observations from an initial deployment and discuss how successfully these were implemented in the design of VoxBox.

Reflections on craft research for and through design

Connie Golsteijn, Elise van den Hoven, David Frohlich, and Abigail Sellen

Proceedings of the Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (NordiCHI 2014). ACM Press, pp. 421-430

As design practice has become more integrated in HCI research, there are on-going discussions around the role of design in research. Design research may take different forms, among which 'Research for Design' and 'Research through Design'. While, by definition, these two differ in their focus and result – the first informs the creation of a design artefact and the second aims for a contribution to knowledge – this paper presents a case study of design research in which Research for and through Design were used iteratively to gain insight into hybrid craft – an integrated physical-digital craft form. Based on our own reflections, this paper discusses what different roles these two strategies may play depending on the research topic under study; the phase in the design process; and the level of abstraction of the research activity and knowledge gained. It thus argues that using Research for and through Design together is a powerful strategy.

Using narrative research and portraiture to inform design research

Connie Golsteijn and Serena Wright

P. Kotzé et al. (Eds.): Human-Computer Interaction – INTERACT 2013, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 8119. Springer, pp. 298-315

Employing an interdisciplinary perspective, this paper addresses how narrative research and portraiture – methods originating from, and commonly used in social sciences – can be beneficial for HCI and design research communities. Narrative research takes stories as a basis for data collection and analysis, while portraiture can be used to create written narratives about interview participants. Drawing on this knowledge, we show how a focus on narrative data, and analysis of such data through portraiture, can be adopted for the specific purpose of enhancing design processes. We hope to encourage design and HCI researchers to consider adopting these methods. By drawing on an illustrative example study, we show how these methods served to inform design ideas for digital crafting. Based on our experiences, we present guidelines for using narrative research and portraiture for design research, as well as discussing opportunities and strengths, and limitations and risks.

Towards a more cherishable digital object

Connie Golsteijn, Elise van den Hoven, David Frohlich, and Abigail Sellen

Proceedings of the Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS 2012). ACM Press, pp. 655-664

As we go about our everyday routines we encounter and interact with numerous physical (e.g. furniture or clothes) and digital objects (e.g. photos or e-mails). Some of these objects may be particular cherished, for example because of memories attached to them. As several studies into cherished objects have shown, we have more difficulties identifying cherished digital objects than physical ones. However, cherishing a small collection of digital objects can be beneficial; e.g. it can encourage active selection of digital objects to keep and discard. This paper presents a study that aimed to increase understanding of cherished physical and digital objects, and beyond that, of how we perceive physical and digital objects, and their advantages and disadvantages. We identified design opportunities for novel products and systems that support the creation of more cherishable digital objects by extrapolating the advantages of the physical to the digital, exploiting the reasons for cherishing digital objects, and aiming for meaningful integrations of physical and digital.

Materializing and crafting cherished digital media

Connie Golsteijn

Extended Abstracts of the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2012), ACM Press, pp. 923-926

People's digital media collections are often large and poorly organized. In sharp contrast to collections of physical possessions in the home, in the digital realm there are few possessions that are considered special. As a result, digital possessions are infrequently used, e.g. for reminiscing or storytelling. By studying cherished physical and digital possessions and designing novel products or systems, this PhD explores how digital media can become more cherished. More specifically, newly created designs will aim to integrate physical and digital realms and encourage novel creation or augmentation of digital media, here called digital craft, as a promising means to increase attachment to digital possessions.

BLB: A persuasive and interactive installation designed to improve well-being

Connie Golsteijn, Elise van den Hoven, Sijme Geurts, Max Eichenbrenner, Christ van Leest, Sanne van den Hurk, and Yih Shun Ling

Proceedings of the Conference on Persuasive Technology (Persuasive 2008), demo installation. Springer-Verlag, pp. 262-265

Well-being is a broad subject, which is described in this paper as: a personal balance of mental, social and physical being, influenced by life circumstances and life factors. These factors include emotions, engagement, life satisfaction, intentional activities and social network. The project described in this paper aims at improving well-being through the design of a persuasive and interactive installation for the home environment. After the investigation of well-being by means of a literature study, cultural probes and questionnaires, a concept was developed. This paper describes the design, implementation and evaluation of this concept. 'BLB', as it is called, encourages its users to seize the moment in order to increase their well-being.ß

Workshop & demo papers

Incentivisation as a design feature: lessons learned from VoxBox

Connie Golsteijn, Sarah Gallacher, Lorna Wall, Lisa Koeman, Licia Capra, and Yvonne Rogers

Workshop Exploring incentivisation in design, Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (NordiCHI 2014), workshop participation

In this paper we focus on a design feature of VoxBox, our tangible system for gathering public opinion. We discuss observations around a ball tube that step by step releases a stress ball during the interaction with our system, which is implemented to encourage participation and completion. Based on our observations around this feature that makes incentivisation inherent to the system’s design, we highlight the lessons we learned about designing for incentivisation.

Integrating technology in creative practice using 'Materialise'

Connie Golsteijn, Elise van den Hoven, David Frohlich, and Abigail Sellen

Workshop Crafting Interactive Systems: Learning from Digital Art Practice, Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2013), workshop participation

In this position paper we discuss 'Materialise' – a building set consisting of physical building blocks and digital media input that allows for the building of hybrid creations – as an example of a design that integrates technology in creative practice. We show it does so by facilitating interactive craft practice, aestheticizing technology, and allowing for the customization of technology. Through an easy-to-use integration of technology and creative practice the set can benefit digital artists, as well as allow 'everyday people' to become digital artists. As such, we argue, it opens up a promising future direction for design, in which focus lies on the integration of technology and creative practice, or design for interactive or hybrid craft.

Analyzing well-being for the design of a persuasive & interactive installation

Elise van den Hoven, Connie Golsteijn, Sijme Geurts, Max Eichenbrenner, Christ van Leest, Sanne van den Hurk, and Yih Shun Ling

Workshop Surrounded by Persuasive Ambient Intelligence, Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2008), workshop participation

Our aim was to design an installation of interactive devices that helps people to increase their well-being. This paper describes the project's analysis phase, consisting of mind maps, cultural probes and questionnaires.

PhD thesis

Hybrid craft: Towards an integrated physical-digital craft practice.

Connie Golsteijn

University of Surrey (2014), in collaboration with Eindhoven University of Technology, and funded by Microsoft Research Cambridge

Nowadays, people engage in a diverse range of craft practices in their everyday lives, which take place in physical and digital realms, such as creating decorations for their homes, modifying IKEA furniture, making digital photo collages, or creating their own personal websites. Within this increasingly hybrid age, in which people engage with physical and digital artefacts alongside each other and simultaneously, the research presented in this thesis poses that there are opportunities for new forms of making and creativity at the intersection of physical and digital realms. In other words, it introduces hybrid craft as a new everyday craft practice. Using an interaction design research methodology that consists of research for design (interviewing physical and digital crafters about their current practices) and research through design (designing, prototyping, and evaluating a novel toolkit for hybrid craft, called Materialise), this thesis explores what forms hybrid craft practice may take in everyday life, and what new systems or tools could be designed that facilitate this practice. Employing a comparison of physical and digital craft practices, and findings from design work, design guidelines are formulated for effective combination of physical and digital materials, tools, and techniques, and the realisation of interactive hybrid craft results in interaction design, for example by implementing surprising material behaviour within physical-digital combinations, and by realising techniques to work with physical and digital materials in the same materiality realm. Through empirical and theoretical grounding and reflection, this thesis establishes hybrid craft as a novel concept within design research and craft communities that has a wide range of possibilities in everyday life, both in offering ways to do more with digital media, and in encouraging new forms of making and creativity.