Co-designing for Co-listening: Conceptualizing Young People’s Social and Music-Listening Practices

  • Michael StewartEmail author
  • Javier Tibau
  • Deborah Tatar
  • Steve Harrison
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10913)


Social networking applications have come to dominate the attention of technology-users of all ages, and are seen as the quintessential application of social media. They promise to connect us to our friends and family, but there are growing concerns over their ability to achieve this. We are interested in the potential of technology to connect people, but we question the approach of social networking apps and sites. Perhaps the only activity that competes with social networks for occupying so much of people’s time is music-listening. Listening to music on personal devices is one of the most wide-spread forms of human-computer interaction. It also provides opportunities that could be characterized, positively, as privacy or, negatively, as isolation. To better understand the design space of people listening to music and their sociality, we examined the attitudes and practices of 26 semi-rural young people (9–15 years old) in the U.S. who are too young to drive and therefore cannot congregate at-will. Our study utilized semi-structured interviews, a design charrette, and user-testing of Colisten, our functional prototype. We found that the youth do not currently engage in widespread co-listening or even in the use of music recommendation systems. Indications are that the lack of co-listening is due to design gaps in sharing features rather than lack of interest. As one young person explained, co-listening would be “…more like a social thing, rather than ‘I want to listen to music’, more like, ‘I want to hang out with my friend and listen to music…’”. We present emergent design dimensions detailing how this population thinks about sociality and sharing media.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Stewart
    • 1
    Email author
  • Javier Tibau
    • 2
  • Deborah Tatar
    • 2
  • Steve Harrison
    • 2
  1. 1.James Madison UniversityHarrisonburgUSA
  2. 2.Virginia Tech.BlacksburgUSA

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