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Mediating Intimacy:Designing Technologies to Support Strong-Tie Relationships

Association for Computing Machinery
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Microsoft Word - p154-vetere.doc CHI 2005 ׀ PAPERS: Affect and Intimacy April 2–7 ׀ Portland, Oregon, USA Mediating Intimacy: Designing Technologies to Support Strong-Tie Relationships Frank Vetere1, Martin R. Gibbs1, Jesper Kjeldskov2, Steve Howard1, Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller1, Sonja Pedell1, Karen Mecoles1, Marcus Bunyan3 1Dept. of Information Systems, The University of Melbourne, Australia 2Dept. of Computer Science, Aalborg University, Denmark 3School of Visual and Performing Arts, Charles Sturt University, Australia [email protected] ABSTRACT Intimacy is a crucial element of domestic life, and many interactive technologies designed for other purposes have been appropriated for use within intimate relationships. However, there is a deficit in current understandings of how technologies are used within intimate relationships, and how to design technologies to support intimate acts. In this paper we report on work that has addressed these deficits. We used cultural probes and contextual interviews and other ethnographically informed techniques to investigate how interactive technologies are used within intimate relationships. From this empirical work we generated a thematic understanding of intimacy and the use of interactional technologies to support intimate acts. We used this understanding to inform the design of intimate technologies. A selection of our design concepts is also presented. Author Keywords Intimacy, Cultural Probes, Intimate Technology, Ethnography, Participatory Design, Tactile Interfaces ACM Classification Keywords H.5.3 Group and Organization Interfaces INTRODUCTION Artifacts have commonly been used to mediate intimate relationships. Over the ages, intimacy has been mediated through symbols of affection such as flowers, missives and love letters. New and emerging technologies have also been appropriated to mediate close personal relationships.

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