Publication statistics

Pub. period:1995-2011
Pub. count:12
Number of co-authors:19


Number of publications with 3 favourite co-authors:

Nadine Jarvis:
Andy Boucher:
Tobie Kerridge:



Productive colleagues

William Gaver's 3 most productive colleagues in number of publications:

Alistair G. Sutcli..:147
Elizabeth D. Mynat..:71
John Karat:47

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William Gaver

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Has also published under the name of:
"Bill Gaver"

Bill Gaver is Professor of Design at Goldsmiths, University of London. Gaver's research concerns the design of interactive technologies for everyday life. As computation has moved beyond the workplace, we need to look beyond traditional concerns with problem-solving, efficiency, utility and usability to consider the wider range of values and motivations it might embody. As head of the Interaction Research Studio, Gaver pursues practice-based research on new roles for interactive technology. Recent work has focused on the home, exploring electronic furniture and fittings that provoke curiosity and allow exploration of new views within and outside the domestic setting. A committed focus to making has also produced methodological and conceptual innovations. A series of methods for engaging with users, from early explorations of the context for design all the way to the assessment of long-term field trials, stress the value of multiple, unresolved narratives in understanding the meanings of technology. This is complemented by conceptual work that explores topics such as play, ambiguity and interpretation in design.


Publications by William Gaver (bibliography)

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Gaver, William (2011): Making spaces: how design workbooks work. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2011 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2011. pp. 1551-1560.

In this paper, I discuss design workbooks, collections of design proposals and related materials, both as a method for design and as a design methodology. In considering them as a method, I describe a number of examples of design workbooks we have developed in our studio and describe some of the practical techniques we have used in developing them. More fundamentally, I discuss design workbooks as embodiments of a methodological approach which recognises that ideas may emerge slowly over time, that important issues and perspectives may emerge from multiple concrete ideas, potentially generated by multiple members of a team, rather than being theory-driven, and that maintaining the provisionality and vagueness of early proposals can be useful in supporting a quasi-participatory design approach that allows participants to interpret, react to and elaborate upon the ideas they present.

© All rights reserved Gaver and/or his/her publisher

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Gaver, William, Boucher, Andy, Bowers, John, Blythe, Mark, Jarvis, Nadine, Cameron, David, Kerridge, Tobie, Wilkie, Alex, Phillips, Robert and Wright, Peter (2011): The photostroller: supporting diverse care home residents in engaging with the world. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2011 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2011. pp. 1757-1766.

The Photostroller is a device designed for use by residents of a care home for older people. It shows a continuous slideshow of photographs retrieved from the Flickr image website using a set of six predefined categories modified by a tuneable degree of 'semantic drift'. In this paper, we describe the design process that led to the Photostroller, and summarise observations made during a deployment in the care home that has lasted over two months at the time of writing. We suggest that the Photostroller balances constraint with openness, and control with drift, to provide an effective resource for the ludic engagement of a diverse group of older people with each other and the world outside their home.

© All rights reserved Gaver et al. and/or their publisher

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Gaver, William, Blythe, Mark, Boucher, Andy, Jarvis, Nadine, Bowers, John and Wright, Peter (2010): The prayer companion: openness and specificity, materiality and spirituality. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2010 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2010. pp. 2055-2064.

In this paper we describe the Prayer Companion, a device we developed as a resource for the spiritual activity of a group of cloistered nuns. The device displays a stream of information sourced from RSS news feeds and social networking sites to suggest possible topics for prayers. The nuns have engaged with the device enthusiastically over the first ten months of an ongoing deployment, and, notwithstanding some initial irritation with the balance of content, report that it plays a significant and continuing role in their prayer life. We discuss how we balanced specificity in the design with a degree of openness for interpretation to create a resource that the nuns could both understand and appropriate, describe the importance of materiality to the device's successful adoption, consider its implications as a design for older people, and reflect on the example it provides of how computation may serve spirituality.

© All rights reserved Gaver et al. and/or their publisher

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Gaver, William, Bowers, John, Kerridge, Tobie, Boucher, Andy and Jarvis, Nadine (2009): Anatomy of a failure: how we knew when our design went wrong, and what we learned from it. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2009 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2009. pp. 2213-2222.

In this paper, we describe the failure of a novel sensor-based system intended to evoke user interpretation and appropriation in domestic settings. We contrast participants' interactions in this case study with those observed during more successful deployments to identify 'symptoms of failure' under four themes: engagement, reference, accommodation, and surprise and insight. These themes provide a set of sensitivities or orientations that may complement traditional task-based approaches to evaluation as well as the more open-ended ones we describe here. Our system showed symptoms of failure under each of these themes. We examine the reasons for this at three levels: problems particular to the specific design hypothesis; problems relevant for input-output mapping more generally; and problems in the design process we used. We conclude by noting that, although interpretive systems such as the one we describe here may succeed in a myriad of different ways, it is reassuring to know that they can also fail, and fail incontrovertibly, yet instructively.

© All rights reserved Gaver et al. and/or ACM Press

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Gaver, William (2009): Designing for emotion (among other things). In Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 364 (1535) pp. 3597-3604.

Using computational approaches to emotion in design appears problematic for a range of technical, cultural and aesthetic reasons. After introducing some of the reasons as to why I am sceptical of such approaches, I describe a prototype we built that tried to address some of these problems, using sensor-based inferencing to comment upon domestic well-being' in ways that encouraged users to take authority over the emotional judgements offered by the system. Unfortunately, over two iterations we concluded that the prototype we built was a failure. I discuss the possible reasons for this and conclude that many of the problems we found are relevant more generally for designs based on computational approaches to emotion. As an alternative, I advocate a broader view of interaction design in which open-ended designs serve as resources for individual appropriation, and suggest that emotional experiences become one of several outcomes of engaging with them.

© All rights reserved Gaver and/or Royal Society Publishing

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Sengers, Phoebe and Gaver, William (2006): Staying open to interpretation: engaging multiple meanings in design and evaluation. In: Proceedings of DIS06: Designing Interactive Systems: Processes, Practices, Methods, & Techniques 2006. pp. 99-108.

Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) often focuses on how designers can develop systems that convey a single, specific, clear interpretation of what they are for and how they should be used and experienced. New domains such as domestic and public environments, new influences from the arts and humanities, and new techniques in HCI itself are converging to suggest that multiple, potentially competing interpretations can fruitfully co-exist. In this paper, we lay out the contours of the new space opened by a focus on multiple interpretations, which may more fully address the complexity, dynamics and interplay of user, system, and designer interpretation. We document how design and evaluation strategies shift when we abandon the presumption that a specific, authoritative interpretation of the systems we build is necessary, possible or desirable.

© All rights reserved Sengers and Gaver and/or ACM Press

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Sutcliffe, Alistair G., Karat, John, Bodker, Suzanne and Gaver, William (2006): Can we measure quality in design and do we need to?. In: Proceedings of DIS06: Designing Interactive Systems: Processes, Practices, Methods, & Techniques 2006. pp. 119-121.

The new usability agenda is driving empirical and experimental studies into a growing range of quality criteria such as engagement, user experience, and aesthetics. Some see this as a positive move to theorise about the nature of good design qualities, and to objectively test such hypotheses on the new usability theme. However, others (e.g. [1], [2]) have argued for interpretation-based inquiry into user engagement and experience on the grounds that such phenomena can only be understood by investigations into contexts of use which defy quantitative approaches. Many in the design community would agree with them and go further to argue that quality in design is a matter of creativity and can not be measured or theorised per se; instead, research should focus on understanding and improving the process of design. This panel will debate the tensions between these positions and explore possible common ground between them as a contribution towards the research agenda that is being debated in the DIS conference series.

© All rights reserved Sutcliffe et al. and/or ACM Press

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Gaver, William (2002): Provocative Awareness. In Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 11 (3) pp. 475-493.

Recently a number of systems have been designed that connect remote lovers, or strangers in an urban setting. The forms these systems take and the functions they serve may be unfamiliar, but they can be seen as extensions of awareness technologies to new domains. Awareness technologies have often been specialised to give information for particular work activities or relationships. Given that relationships in the home or in local communities tend to be different from those of the workplace, it is appropriate that both the form and content of information conveyed to increase awareness should be different as well. The systems described here, for instance, explore new sensory and interaction possibilities, use ambiguity to increase engagement, and address a wider range of emotional relationships than do most workplace awareness systems. They point to ways of extending notions of peripheral awareness to new domains on the one hand, and possibilities for new forms of workplace awareness on the other.

© All rights reserved Gaver and/or Kluwer Academic Publishers

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Gaver, William and Martin, Heather (2000): Alternatives: Exploring Information Appliances through Conceptual Design Proposals. In: Turner, Thea, Szwillus, Gerd, Czerwinski, Mary, Peterno, Fabio and Pemberton, Steven (eds.) Proceedings of the ACM CHI 2000 Human Factors in Computing Systems Conference April 1-6, 2000, The Hague, The Netherlands. pp. 209-216.

As a way of mapping a design space for a project on information appliances, we produced a workbook describing about twenty conceptual design proposals. On the one hand, they serve as suggestions that digital devices might embody values apart from those traditionally associated with functionality and usefulness. On the other, they are examples of research through design, balancing concreteness with openness to spur the imagination, and using multiplicity to allow the emergence of a new design space. Here we describe them both in terms of content and process, discussing first the values they address and then how they were crafted to encourage a broad discussion with our partners that could inform future stages of design.

© All rights reserved Gaver and Martin and/or ACM Press

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Gaver, William (2000): Looking and Leaping. In: Proceedings of DIS00: Designing Interactive Systems: Processes, Practices, Methods, & Techniques 2000. p. 5.

Having come to design from a background in experimental psychology, I get a mischievous thrill from the way research through design can usefully break all the rules of science. Clearly articulated theories and analyses form the conceptual backbone of science - designers also draw inspiration from the popular press, contemporary art, and eccentric observations. Controlled, or at least accountable, empirical studies are science's route to understanding people; designers improvise, provoke, and take extreme, even imaginary, individuals as an audience. Science lends empirical methods to test the success of new systems; as designers we hope that our examples will seduce and stimulate those who experience them. Design methods based on imagination and personal engagement may seem frivolous or gratuitously provocative, but they are based on a long tradition that allows us to question aesthetic, emotional, and cultural aspects of the artefacts and systems we develop. These issues seem to fall in sciences blindspot: difficult to theorize, analyze, or study empirically, they tend to be ignored by approaches to technology built on the scientific approach. This is a dangerous situation, because if left unexamined new technologies will tend to spread the aesthetics and values of the workplace throughout our lives. In this talk, I describe recent projects that suggest new ways that technology might enter our everyday lives, in order to illustrate the strengths and the blindspots of the design approach to research.

© All rights reserved Gaver and/or ACM Press

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Martin, Heather and Gaver, William (2000): Beyond the Snapshot from Speculation to Prototypes in Audiophotography. In: Proceedings of DIS00: Designing Interactive Systems: Processes, Practices, Methods, & Techniques 2000. pp. 55-65.

In this paper we describe techniques used to move from a wide variety of speculative concepts to three working prototypes of potentially commercial audiophotography products. Stages in this trajectory included illustrated workbooks, video envisionments, form models and technical drawings, and ended with working prototypes using microprocessors to simulate stand-alone products. These methods were useful in communicating with our partners in a multidisciplinary collaboration. At each stage, however, we left many details of our designs purposefully unresolved, in order to encourage our own and our partners' imaginations as part of the design process.

© All rights reserved Martin and Gaver and/or ACM Press

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Hindus, Debby, Arons, Barry, Stifelman, Lisa, Gaver, William, Mynatt, Elizabeth D. and Back, Maribeth (1995): Designing Auditory Interactions for PDAs. In: Robertson, George G. (ed.) Proceedings of the 8th annual ACM symposium on User interface and software technology November 15 - 17, 1995, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. pp. 143-146.

This panel addresses issues in designing audio-based user interactions for small, personal computing devices, or PDAs. One issue is the nature of interacting with an auditory PDA and the interplay of affordances and form factors. Another issue is how both new and traditional metaphors and interaction concepts might be applied to auditory PDAs. The utility and design of nonspeech cues are discussed, as are the aesthetic issues of persona and narrative in designing sounds. Also discussed are commercially available sound and speech components and related hardware tradeoffs. Finally, the social implications of auditory interactions are explored, including privacy, fashion and novel social interactions.

© All rights reserved Hindus et al. and/or ACM Press

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