This paper coins the term micro-interactions to refer to the class of small exchanges between devices that occur almost instantaneously. For example, a mobile payment using near-field communication (NFC) is a micro-interaction. The arrival of NFC on smart phones makes possible a wide array of applications using micro-interactions, from sharing photos between a phone and a TV to checking a car into a valet parking service by touching two phones.

This paper addresses the challenge of how to create intuitive, frictionless micro-interactions that require no pre-configuration for a large class of applications. We deliver a consistent tap-and-share interface for many forms of micro-interactions through several concepts. We propose interaction manifests as universal descriptors of multi-party, cross-platform applications. Zero-click overheads are made possible by automatically using the foreground application as the context for the micro-interactions. We extend the concept of connection handovers to allow NFC-enabled applications to run unmodified on devices lacking NFC. We also show how these abstractions make it easy to create a variety of applications. All the application and library code is available as open source.

We demonstrate that by focusing on micro-interactions, our mobile phones can provide a single focal point that enables sharing of our digital identity, assets, applications, and personality with friends (with their mobile phones) as well as the larger-screen PCs and TVs all around us.


Mobile Phone Smart Phone Mobile Payment Remote Device Application Session 
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.


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Copyright information

© ICST Institute for Computer Science, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ben Dodson
    • 1
  • Monica S. Lam
    • 1
  1. 1.Computer Science DepartmentStanford UniversityUSA

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