Mobile Interaction Trajectories: a design focused approach for generative mobile interaction design research

Michael Leitner

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Mobile HCI’s (Human Computer Interaction) understanding of mobility can benefit from novel theoretical perspectives that have been largely underexploited. This thesis develops and applies a novel middle range theory for mobile interaction design called mobile interaction trajectories, demonstrating the theory’s use and value in practical design settings. Mobile interaction trajectories offer a new theoretical perspective for mobile interaction design, considering people’s everyday trajectories as a baseline for mediated communication, with foci on practices and experiences of changing states of connectedness, chronologies of mediated communication, and mobile communication routines. Following a research through design methodology, probing was used as a creative research method. Two probing experiments informed the theory’s development. A new Probe resource was designed and applied, called the Hankie Probe. It was used to collect instances of mobile interaction trajectories and informed a range of design workshops. The Hankie Probe is based on a fabric-based format and expresses everyday trajectories, and mobile communication practice and experience via stitched and drawn handmade space-time diaries. Research about design analysed the design processes with the completed Probes revealing the middle range theory’s value. The theory’s distinctive characteristics have shown to inform generative design processes. The trajectory-based perspective inspired design concepts for contextually adaptive services that enable new communication experiences and alter the chronology of social interaction. The thesis contributes to knowledge by underpinning generative design work with novel mobility theories via a new Probe format for mobile interaction design research. The following additional discoveries were made: There are three basic probing functions in generative design workshops; designer’s experiences and subjective interpretation augment insights about users and contexts in design workshops, the fabric-based handmade Probes influenced design work offering a captivating authentic format that requires subjective interpretation.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Northumbria University
  • Cockton, Gilbert, Supervisor
  • Yee, Joyce Sheau Roei, Supervisor
Award date30 Jun 2017
Publication statusSubmitted - Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes


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