Proxemics Beyond Proximity: Designing for Flexible Social Interaction Through Cross-Device Interaction

Jens Emil Grønbæk, Mille Skovhus Knudsen, Kenton O’Hara, Peter Gall Krogh, Jo Vermeulen, and Marianne Graves Petersen.
Presented by
Jens Emil Grønbæk.

In Proceedings of CHI 2020: The ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Honolulu, Hawai'i, April 25–30, 2020, 13 pages.
[24.31% acceptance; 3126 submissions]


Cross-device interactions enable ad hoc sharing of content and control in co-located collaboration. Cross-device research often draws from proxemics theory for designing interactions based on detection of spatial relations such as distance and orientation between people and devices. However, detection of human-human or human-device proximity also constrains flexibility in co-located social interaction. We suggest a proxemics-based approach to designing flexible cross-device interactions. From observations in a field study, we articulate how co-located sharing practices are shaped by the interplay between everyday mobile devices and the physical environment. Based on these insights, we present three cross-device prototypes as proofs-of-concept, demonstrating three design sensitivities for considering proxemics beyond proximity; incorporating features in the environment, enabling flexibility in interpersonal distance and orientation, and providing multiple alternative action possibilities. Drawing from characteristics of our prototypes, we discuss concrete proposals for designing cross-device interactions to enable flexible social interaction.