Like a window in your living room: Video-mediated communication for extended families separated by space

Detta är en Master-uppsats från IT-universitetet i Göteborg/Tillämpad informationsteknologi

Sammanfattning: Physical distances between close relations are increasing, since people tend to move and travel more and further than before. The distances might be difficult to overcome and this thesis is investigating the possibilities of video-mediated communication when it comes to intergenerational group communication in a domestic setting. The research question is “What communication patterns emerge around TA2 Lite as it is used between extended families separated by space?”The thesis is done in cooperation with the TA2 project, and covers evaluations of a prototype called TA2 Lite, which allows video-mediated communication through the family TV. The TA2 Lite system was tested, for a longer period of time, by four groups of extended families separated by space. Apart from being a high quality video communication system, TA2 Lite also contains applications for mutual activities.Methods used for collecting results are semi-structured interviews, diaries and observations. Different theoretical concepts are used for analysis, especially interaction rituals and social presence.It was found that communication patterns often were adopted from typical face-to-face behavior but that there were some restrictions, generally in the area of nonverbal communication. The fact that the family TV was used impacted behavior around seating arrangements, interpersonal distances and turn-taking. Social presence theories might also explain some of the communication patterns – we don’t have access to as many cues in video-mediated communication as in face-to-face communication.The participants did however enjoy communicating through the system and experienced it as like they were in the same room. The fact that entire groups could interact, at a distance, was especially seen as adding a dimension to their current communication possibilities. There was especially more contact between certain members of the extended families, generally grandparents and grandchildren and the activities contributed to creating a mutual focus of attention for them. Conclusively, video-mediated communication seems to be a good way for extended families separated by space to keep in touch.

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