INTERACTIONS.ACM.ORG 62 INTERACTIONS JULY–AUGUST2017
FORUM INTERACTION AND ARCHITECTURE
think with objects, and that reflection
is distributed across people, objects,
and spaces [ 7, 8]. There are three main
relations between the architectural space
and other components in it: people,
activities, and objects. Analyzing those
relations becomes even more relevant
as we increasingly consider reflection as
a goal for design outcomes, especially
for the design of smart and interactive
artifacts [ 6].
1. Venkatesh, V. Computers and other
interactive technologies for home.
Communications of the ACM 39, 12 (1996).
2. Harrison, S. and Dourish, P. Re-Placing
space: The Roles of place and space in
collaborative systems. Proc. of the 1996
ACM conference on Computer Supported
Cooperative Work. 1996, 67–76.
3. Hallnäs, L. and Redström, J. Slow
technology: Designing for reflection.
Personal and Ubiquitous Computing 5, 3
4. Dewey, J. How We Think. D.C. Heath and
Co., Boston, 1933.
5. Rogers, Y. A brief introduction to
distributed cognition. 1997; http://mcs.
6. Ghajargar, M. and Wiberg, M. Thinking
with interactive artifacts: Reflection as a
concept in design outcomes. Design Issues.
7. Turkle, S. Evocative Objects: Things We
Think With. The MIT Press, Cambridge,
8. Whittaker, S., Terveen, L., and Nardi, B.
Let's stop pushing the envelope and start
addressing it: A reference task agenda
for HCI. Human-Computer Interaction 15
9. Froehlich, J. et al. The design and
evaluation of prototype eco-feedback
displays for fixture-level water usage data.
Proc. of the SIGCHI Conference on Human
Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, New
York, 2012, 2367–2376.
10. Arroyo, E., Bonanni, L., and Selker,
T. Waterbot: Exploring feedback and
persuasive techniques at the sink. Proc. of
the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors
in Computing Systems. ACM, New York,
Maliheh Ghajargar is a Ph. D. candidate in
the Department of Architecture and Design
at Politecnico di Torino, Italy. She is currently
a Ph.D. visiting student in the Department
of Informatics at Umeå University, Sweden.
The main area of her research is the design
of reflective interaction between users and
the activities the user usually does in
that space. For instance, considering
the home as a smart space, a kitchen is
defined as a place where people make
food. Accordingly, there are tasks related
to that place, such as cooking, boiling
water, cutting vegetables, and so on.
Those are activities that by definition
occur in that specific place. Other
examples are, for instance, sleeping
and waking up in a bedroom or taking a
shower in a bathroom. Thus, for example,
in designing for reflection about the
activity of taking a shower, the bathroom
is the right place for evoking reflections
about that activity.
Smart space-objects relations.
According to the definition and
meaning of the space, people engage
in tasks in relation to objects, which
are generally presented in that specific
space. Considering a smart home as an
example, in a kitchen we find pans and
an oven; in a bedroom, we find a bed;
and so on. So, for designing a smart
object for reflection about the activity
of sleeping, it seems appropriate to pick
a preexisting object that supports that
activity and other actions related to it.
For example, Bonjour is a smart alarm
clock that was designed to support the
same user activity for which the original
was invented: waking up on time. And
for that reason, it is usually placed
next to a bed in a bedroom (Bonjour
with-a-i-sleep--2#/). Bonjour is an AI
conversational agent. It is connected
to the weather forecast, iCal, Google
calendar, Google maps, and traffic
monitoring so it can adjust the wake-up
time for a user if certain conditions are
met. This alarm clock also supports
good sleep, which is another activity
naturally related to waking up on time!
Thus, an alarm clock could become a
smart object not only to support waking
up on time and sleeping well, but also to
evoke reflections on those activities for
the user with the goal of improvement.
Smart space-people relations. Some
places are for a specific person. For
instance, when we call a specific place
in our home “my room,” this actually
means that place has been configured
accordingly to my taste, my daily
activities, and my things. When other
people interact with that place, they may
not fully recognize its whole structure
and configuration. Alternatively, there
are also spaces that are designed for
social interactions, for example the
dining area in a home environment,
which structures configurations that are
not specific to one person.
In our spaces, which are increasingly
computational and intelligent, we use
objects in our daily activities. Through
this article, I sought to build upon
existing bodies of knowledge that are
well grounded in architecture and HCI.
They suggest that we first observe the
pattern of people’s activities and the
objects of use in a space in order to design
better and supportive architectural
spaces, as well as to design better
computing artifacts that can support
user activities [ 1, 8]. In this way, an
architectural space becomes smart by
supporting natural existing relations
within it, such as relations among people,
objects, activities, and the space itself.
Further, considering these relations
when designing smart objects to support
reflection about an activity—instead of
creating new objects and consequently
new usage and interactions—is a
valuable way of structuring the analysis
of complex spaces [ 8]. This is well
grounded in theories (e.g., distributed
cognition) that describe how people
DOI: 10.1145/3095712 © 2017 ACM 1072-5520/17/07 $15.00
Figure 2. left: Waterbot [ 10] right: eco-feedback display [ 9].