study was to uncover possible patterns, not to prove general patterns
(which would require quantitative
analysis and a substantially larger
group of participants). Based on
the locations on the boards and
the interpretations of explanations
in the transcripts, the four qualities—instant, collaborative, expressive, and flexible—provide the
most promising opportunities for
improvement in the work context.
These interaction qualities will
thus be more worthwhile to investigate in our future research.
Comparing the interaction qualities offered a rich source of experiences, anecdotes, and routines
on ways of interacting in home
and work contexts. To make these
results more instrumental, they
were translated into a set of design
guidelines, which will subsequently be used to implement the
Generation Y interaction style in
future office tools and applications.
Each design guideline addresses
one specific interaction quality and
related work context(s):
• Use instant interactions to convey
meaning. Designing instantness in
an office context should be aimed
not only at increasing efficiency or
effectiveness, but also at generat-
ing a sense of professionalism or
• Integrate playful interactions in
low-attention office tasks. Playful
interactions, such as the full-body
movements people perform while
operating the Wii, are highly valued within the home context, since
they evoke fun, pleasantness, and
• Integrate collaborative interactions
into office teamwork to strengthen
the connectedness of the team. Doing
things together is a very impor-
tant element in establishing and
strengthening bonds between
people. Games, in particular, often
include strategies that require
people to collaborate to achieve
• Integrate expressive interactions into regular office tasks. Many
office tasks involve small, rigid
subconscious interactions, such
as button pressing or mouse
scrolling, that leave little to
no room for expressiveness.
• Make office tools and systems more
(emotionally) responsive. A tool or
system is responsive if its behavior
adapts itself to the behavior of the
user. More specifically, it is emotionally responsive when it is able
to adapt to his or her emotional
• Allow for flexibility while interacting to overcome the physical limitations
of the workspace. The services should
offer the office worker many possibilities to easily access, store,
and display work content of various kinds. The interaction should
therefore possess a highly flexible
character, enabling the office worker to fully concentrate on the information flow from colleagues, which
makes up the work content.
We hope our findings help influ-
ence the development of future
office services by utilizing the
power and richness of the identi-
fied interaction qualities. The six
interaction qualities, together with
their corresponding guidelines,
hopefully will offer designers
a new perspective for design-
ing new user interactions in the
work context. Implementing
them successfully, however, does
require a better understanding
of the meaning of the identi-
fied interaction qualities within
the office context. What exactly
is “playful” or “expressive” in a
business setting, and how does
this translate into the experien-
tial qualities of an interaction,
such as feedback, fluentness, or
resistance? Future research will
therefore involve applying the
design guidelines to the develop-
ment of a new office tool and
subsequently evaluating this
tool in an actual office context.
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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Wei Liu ( linkedin.com/in/liuwei) is
a Ph.D. researcher at the Delft
University of Technology. His
research interests include interaction design and design research
on new ways of working.
Pieter Jan Stappers is a professor
at the Delft University of
Technology. His research interests
focus on developing techniques
and tools that support creative
people in the early phases of idea
and concept development.
Gert Pasman is an associate professor at the Delft University of
Technology. His main research
interest is interaction design education with a special focus on
tools and techniques for interaction design educators.
Jenneke Taal-Fokker is a senior
user experience designer at
Exact. Her drive is to translate
complex technical problems to
human solutions that respect the
perceptual and cognitive possibilities of the customer or user.
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