Designing for Collocated Couples

  • Stacy BranhamEmail author
  • Steve Harrison


Though the design of technologies for couples has been thriving for well over a decade now, the products made for and the needs of couples examined in HCI research are surprisingly narrow. Overwhelmingly they are for partners at a distance and lightweight interactions that can best be described as abstracted presence. Towards moving couples technologies into broader waters and guiding exploration of the many other facets of couplehood, we propose an expanded couples design space that includes technologies for local partners and deep interpersonal sharing—hitherto underexplored design concerns. We then show that the creation of these new spaces can be motivated by the needs of couples as characterized by couples experts and present an example of a new technology that embodies these. Finally, we draw from experience with couples in the field to identify research and design considerations regarding gender, power, values, and ethics.


Design Space Local Partner Design Motivation Picture Frame Technological Mediation 
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.



Many thanks are in order. Thanks to Intel for funding this work. Thanks also to Tad Hirsch, who was instrumental in the inception of the project, and the many others who have guided it along the way: Joon S. Lee, Clarissa ‘K’ Stiles, Jason Chong Lee, Deborah Tatar, Dawn Nafus, Christopher M. Hoadley, Fred P. Piercy, Denis Kafura, and Manuel A. Pérez-Quiñones. Finally, we are grateful to the participants who have shared their time, expertise, and personal stories.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer Science and School of Visual Arts, Center for Human-Computer InteractionVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgVA, USA

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