A Framework for Designing Interfaces in Public Settings

  • Stuart Reeves
Part of the Human-Computer Interaction Series book series (HCIS)


This core chapter develops an analytic framework for public interfaces that shows how many current design approaches can be related to one another through a few underlying concepts. In doing so, it draws on studies presented in previous chapters as well as a range of example interfaces and studies of interaction, especially from interactive art and performance. The framework is introduced in this chapter in an incremental manner, across four main sections. The first section considers the roles of performer and spectator through a basic separation of notions of public and private settings, and through this breaks down performative action into a performer’s manipulations (including gestures around an interface) and effects of those manipulations (including effects reflected back upon the performer). The second section reviews a wide variety of interactive systems, from mobile devices to interactive installations and performances, examines how manipulations and effects are variously hidden, partially-hidden, revealed or even augmented in particular combinations in order to create different spectator experiences. Developing this, four broad design strategies are identified: ‘secretive’ interfaces, ‘expressive’ interfaces, ‘magical’ interfaces and ‘intriguing’ interfaces. The third section discusses how a performance is framed within a given setting, leading to the consideration of a simple distinction in how spectators may be ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ of the frame, introducing notions of ‘witting’ and ‘unwitting’ spectators in their experience of performer interactions. Two different specialisms of the spectator role—bystanders (unwitting spectators) and audience (witting spectators)—are also introduced. The fourth section turns to focus on how spectators or performers may transition between roles, as well as considering the nature further specialisms, including participant, orchestrator and actor roles. In the final section, the various elements of the framework are summarised, and in doing so this chapter covers the way in which the frame itself has been subdivided various spatial and conceptual settings.


Primary User Audience Member Performance Frame Public Setting Cave Automatic Virtual Environment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Horizon Digital Economy ResearchUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUK

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