Re-DNA II: Re-designing non-verbal actions in video-conferencing

PI: Michael Shanks


Designers rely on developing empathy with stakeholders and collaborators, however, shifts in technology, and more recently, social distancing, have restricted these efforts to virtual contexts such as video-conferencing. This move from in-person to distance communication presents challenges for needfinding and design efforts, which rely heavily on observing and interpreting subtle non-verbal cues, and on building trust and rapport with the people they interview and learn from. For example, loss of contextual cues and lack of awareness of how one’s actions may be received by others increases ambiguity in the interactions between people, and leads to misinterpretation of non-verbal actions (such as interpreting turning off one’s camera as anti-social). Our existing HPDTRP project found that when people don’t know the motivation for another person’s action online, they often become concerned and confused by it, which can strain working relationships. While these are not new challenges, the widespread increase in distance working has amplified their prevalence and heightened our awareness of them.We propose to study the impact of implicit non-verbal signals, arising from the manipulation of video in virtual design meetings. We aim to characterize perceptions around such non-verbal actions, as well as the efficacy of providing rationale for actions, in video-conferencing in order to better support designers in their design processes through interactive systems.


So Yeon Park, Mark Whiting