Living with Light Touch: An Autoethnography of a Simple Communication Device in Long-Term Use

William Gaver, Frances Gaver

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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We are a mother and son who have been using a pair of simple, selfbuild
communication devices to maintain a feeling of connection
while separated by over 5,000 miles. The devices, called Light Touch,
only allow us to send one another slowly-fading, coloured lights,
yet we have been surprised by how much our ongoing interaction
with them means to us. This paper contributes an autoethnographical
account of our experiences over the last two years, including
our initial experiences with the devices, and focusing on various
aspects of our day-to-day use. Based on our observations, we discuss
the features that have proven important in mediating our
feelings of connection. We point out, however, that their success is
contingent on our context of use and the nature of our bond, and
suggest that simple systems like Light Touch may support emotional
communication, but only if they are well-matched to settings
and relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2 Mar 2023
EventACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Hamburg, Germany
Duration: 23 Apr 202328 Apr 2023


ConferenceACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Abbreviated titleCHI 2023
Internet address

Research Group keywords

  • Interaction Research Studio

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