Presence and experience

The growth in ‘mixed reality’ environments that need to take account of the situated and social nature of the real world spaces they are placed in, raises a number of significant challenges for our understanding of presences that go beyond the existing explorations of ‘telepresence’.

A central question is how to approach the design, construction and assessment of mixed reality environments to promote an appropriate sense of presence in relationship to the real world, the mediated mixed reality experience and other users. This perspective requires a shift of attention

We are designing and evaluating a series of presence scenarios with IPCity technologies in the different showcases, with a focus on the different presence issues that arise in contexts such as collaborative urban planning, large-scale events, story-telling, and gaming. This will allow us to create a deeper understanding of how people co-construct and experience mixed reality environments and how this can inform the design of supporting technologies.

The original contribution of IPCity to research on presence and interaction is that it studies the relationship between presence and user eperience in real settings, focusing on how users actively construct and co-construct this experience through connecting activities in the digital/virtual space with activities in the real/physical environment.

The main focus is on users’ purposeful activities in mixed reality environments – how they collaborate, dynamically enact (‘dramatic presence’), and map activities and events.

Our particular conceptual attention points are also shaped by insights from urban studies on salient features of the material environment that contribute to the experience of presence on the one hand, are resources for constructing and co-constructing this experience on the other hand:

Mixed reality technologies and the focus on user activity and experience also require to extend our understanding of how these are supported by interface mechanisms. Our hypothesis is that virtual components modify the experience of the ‘here and now’ in subtle ways rather than altering it radically. Our main aim is to find out how technologies can be used to support interesting and relevant modifications of the ‘here and now’. This necessitates a redefinition of the concept of directness, immersion, and reality on the one hand. It directs attention to:

IPCity develops an approach to investigating presence in real life settings, which combines common methods like presence questionnaires with techniques for use in the field such as: participatory workshops, ethnographic observation, interaction analysis, and usablity tests. Qualitative and quantitative methods will be integrated to account for cognitive and socio-cultural aspects in particular combining: