Introduction: Framing Peripheral Interaction

  • Saskia Bakker
  • Doris Hausen
  • Ted Selker
Part of the Human–Computer Interaction Series book series (HCIS)


In everyday life, we perform several activities in our periphery of attention. For example, we are aware of what the weather is like and we can routinely wash our hands without actively thinking about it. However, we can also easily focus on these activities when desired. Contrarily, interactions with computing devices, such as smartphones and tablet computers, usually require focused attention, or even demand it through flashing displays, beeping sounds, and vibrations used to alert people. Hence, these interactions move more unpredictably between periphery and center of attention compared to non-computer-mediated activities. With the number of computers embedded in our everyday environment increasing, inevitably interaction with these computers will move to the periphery of attention. Inspired by the way we fluently divide our attentional resources over various activities in everyday life, we call this type of interaction “peripheral interaction.” We believe that considering and enabling peripheral interaction with computing technology contributes to more seamlessly embedding of such technology in everyday routines. This chapter briefly explores the history of peripheral interaction as a field of research and lays out how peripheral interaction, in our view, fits into the larger domain of interactive systems and HCI.


Peripheral interaction Human–computer interaction Interaction design Periphery of attention Calm technology 



We would like to thank all collaborators and advisors who contributed to our research in the domain of peripheral interaction. Especially, we would like to thank Elise van den Hoven, Andreas Butz, and Berry Eggen for their invaluable support and advice.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Industrial DesignEindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Human-Computer-Interaction GroupUniversity of Munich (LMU)MunichGermany
  3. 3.CITRISUniversity of California BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  4. 4.Aarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark

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