"When we walk into a room the light turns on. When we approach a store the door opens. When we enter our home the thermostat changes the temperature in the house, the intelligent assistant starts to play our favorite music, our mobile phone reminds us to take out the garbage, and our loved ones are notified that we are safely home, wherever they might be; all happening at the same time. In our workplaces a multiplicity of digital tools and artifacts are at our command or struggling for our attention, creating a symphony or disharmony of interactions involving us.
We interact with our environments today in numerous ways, sometimes by just being there or moving or waving our hands, sometimes by precise commands and actions, sometimes with focused attention and direction, sometimes half unaware and lacking a clear addressee or aim, sometimes acting on isolated cues from some specific source, sometimes on overall impressions generated by the environment as a whole. Interaction and interactivity is no longer necessarily something that takes place between a person and a single, clearly defined artifact and interface. A new kind of diffused or confused interaction has become an everyday experience for many of us and we are gradually getting more used to it.
We have in previous writings introduced and explored the concept of faceless interaction and its potential consequences (Janlert & Stolterman, "Things That Keep Us Busy - the elements of interaction"); we have also extensively discussed multiparty interaction and the ensuing problems of interactivity clutter: occlusion, chaos, and distraction.
If you want to read more about this, you can find that in our book in the final chapter (Janlert & Stolterman, "Things That Keep Us Busy - the elements of interaction").
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