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Can’t Touch This: Rethinking Public Technology in a COVID-19 Era

Jen Pearson Orcid Logo, Jennifer Sarah Pearson Orcid Logo, Gavin Bailey, Simon Robinson Orcid Logo, Matt Jones Orcid Logo, Tom Owen Orcid Logo, Chi Zhang, Thomas Reitmaier, Cameron Steer, Anna Carter Orcid Logo, Deepak Sahoo Orcid Logo, Dani Kalarikalayil Raju

CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

Swansea University Authors: Jen Pearson Orcid Logo, Jennifer Sarah Pearson Orcid Logo, Gavin Bailey, Simon Robinson Orcid Logo, Matt Jones Orcid Logo, Tom Owen Orcid Logo, Chi Zhang, Thomas Reitmaier, Cameron Steer, Anna Carter Orcid Logo, Deepak Sahoo Orcid Logo

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DOI (Published version): 10.1145/3491102.3501980

Abstract

What do pedestrian crossings, ATMs, elevators and ticket machines have in common? These are just a few of the ubiquitous yet essential elements of public-space infrastructure that rely on physical buttons or touchscreens; common interactions that, until recently, were considered perfectly safe to pe...

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Published in: CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
ISBN: 978-1-4503-9157-3
Published: New York, NY, USA ACM 2022
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa58866
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Abstract: What do pedestrian crossings, ATMs, elevators and ticket machines have in common? These are just a few of the ubiquitous yet essential elements of public-space infrastructure that rely on physical buttons or touchscreens; common interactions that, until recently, were considered perfectly safe to perform. This work investigates how we might integrate touchless technologies into public-space infrastructure in order to minimise physical interaction with shared devices in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing on an ethnographic exploration into how public utilities are being used, adapted or avoided, we developed and evaluated a suite of technology probes that can be either retrofitted into, or replace, these services. In-situ community deployments of our probes demonstrate strong uptake and provide insight into how hands-free technologies can be adapted and utilised for the public domain; and, in turn, used to inform the future of walk-up-and use public technologies.
Keywords: Public displays, field studies, prototyping/implementation
College: College of Science
Funders: This work was supported by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council grants EP/W01257X/1, EP/M022722/1, EP/T024976/1 and EP/R032750/1.