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Designing "interacting places" for a student community using a communicative ecology approach

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  • N. Memarovic
  • M. Langheinrich
  • E. Rubegni
  • A. David
  • I. Elhart


In the age of online social networks, local communities still play an essential role in supporting social cohesion. In this paper we present a study that explores the design of "interacting places" - networked public multimedia services that foster community awareness between local members - in the context of a student community. In order to have interacting places "fit in" with the existing communication practices of the students, we performed and analyzed a set of semi-structured interviews with n=17 students regarding their use of email, social networking services, and instant messaging to stay in touch with others. A follow-up online survey (n=76) then explored how networked public multimedia services could complement these practices. Following a "communicative ecology" approach - a conceptual model that represents the technical, social, and discursive contexts of communication - we draw up guidelines to support the design of both content and channels (applications) for interacting places in student communities. Copyright 2012 ACM.