Unremarkable Augmentation in Busy Practitioners’ Surrounding: Exploring Peripheral Interaction with Teachers and Nurses
Pengcheng An, Saskia Bakker, Miguel Cabral Guerra, Jesper van Bentum, Berry Eggen


When practitioners are in the midst of their busy day-to-day work—such as teachers facilitating learners in the classroom or nurses caring for patients in the hospital—they face complex social or material environments and intensive, intertwined activities. Yet unprecedentedly, these practitioners also need to incorporate technologies, as increasingly necessary supports, in their surroundings. A challenge thereby concerns practitioners’ limited attention: current human-technology interfaces usually demand users’ focus of attention, whereas interacting with digital devices is often neither the only nor the central task in practitioners’ ongoing activities. This work explores the design of peripheral interaction to understand how surrounding technologies could leverage the periphery of human attention to tacitly augment practitioners’ daily routines. Via a series of field explorations with school teachers and NICU nurses, we illustrate how peripheral interaction designs could seamlessly enrich the practitioners’ action repertoire (readily available actions) or enhance their reflection-in-action (sensemaking of the unfolding situation) without interfering with their ongoing routines. From these cases, we extract two relevant design properties to inform future practice: i.e., the designed interaction being subsidiary to the main practice and open to practical knowing. Six considerations are provided to help designers to achieve these properties in practice.

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