Knowing by ear: leveraging human attention abilities in interaction design

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Journal Article
Journal on Multimodal User Interfaces, 2012, 5 (3), pp. 197 - 209
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In a world in which intelligent technologies are integrated in everyday objects and environments, users are at risk of being overburdened with information and interac- tion possibilities. Calm technology therefore aims at design- ing interactions that may reside in the periphery of the userâs attention and only shift to the center of the attention when re- quired. However, for such designs to be effective, a detailed understanding of human attention abilities is needed. In this paper, we therefore present a qualitative study on the every- day periphery of the attention. As we expected, we found that sound plays a major role in this, which supports our ap- proach to use interactive sonification as an interaction style for peripheral interaction. We present a range of rich exam- ples of everyday situations that lay out the design space for peripheral interaction and support these findings by describ- ing three initial designs that use interactive sonification for peripheral interaction.
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