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Extending architectural theories of space syntax to understand the effect of environment on the salience of situated displays

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Research is increasingly focusing on the role of spatial context in encouraging or discouraging interaction with public displays. However, there are few tools available to aid researchers in analyzing space in terms of its relevant properties when deciding where the most appropriate location is to position a display. In this paper we argue that a taxonomy of space is necessary to begin to understand how to enhance interaction within it. Previous work has suggested that a group of architectural theories known collectively as Space Syntax may be relevant to the problem of positioning situated displays. This paper reports on an initial study conducted to examine the utility of Space Syntax measures for positioning public displays for maximum salience. The outcome of the study was that different representations were found to be more memorable when positioned in different shapes of spaces. Specifically, the memorably of text and images differed with the size and jaggedness of the space in which they were displayed. We suggest that tools need to be developed for public display researchers to systematically study these and similar effects across a variety of contexts. We introduce software called Infinite Horizon that has been developed to facilitate this taxonomic work.