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To a good part, well-being depends on individual engagement in beneficial activities. The present paper draws attention to the potential of encouraging and shaping well-being-enhancing activities through interaction with everyday objects and technology. Our case study started from the activity of keeping ‘small’ secrets as a way to experience autonomy and privacy. We situated this activity in an office and ‘materialized’ it through a digital picture frame, holding a secret picture. Inspired by seven interviewees’ detailed descriptions of interacting with secrets, we designed an especially secretive interaction to consume the picture and compared it to a more technical interaction. In a first empirical exploration, using video prototypes (N = 276), the secretive interaction was rated as more positive and providing more intense feelings of privacy and autonomy. This hints at the potential of objects and the careful design of interaction with this objects to intensify the positive experiences gained from mundane activities.
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The Journal of Positive Psychology
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Designing for well-being: A case study of keeping
small secrets
Sarah Diefenbach, Marc Hassenzahl, Kai Eckoldt, Lena Hartung, Eva Lenz &
Matthias Laschke
To cite this article: Sarah Diefenbach, Marc Hassenzahl, Kai Eckoldt, Lena Hartung, Eva Lenz &
Matthias Laschke (2016): Designing for well-being: A case study of keeping small secrets, The
Journal of Positive Psychology, DOI: 10.1080/17439760.2016.1163405
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Designing for well-being: A case study of keeping small secrets
Sarah Diefenbacha, Marc Hassenzahlb, Kai Eckoldtb, Lena Hartungc, Eva Lenzb and Matthias Laschkeb
aDepartment of Psychology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Munich, Germany; bExperience and Interaction, Department of Design,
Folkwang University of the Arts, Essen, Germany; cInstitute of Psychology, Christian Albrechts University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany
To a good part, well-being depends on individual engagement in benecial activities. The present
paper draws attention to the potential of encouraging and shaping well-being-enhancing activities
through interaction with everyday objects and technology. Our case study started from the activity
of keeping ‘small’ secrets as a way to experience autonomy and privacy. We situated this activity
in an oce and ‘materialized’ it through a digital picture frame, holding a secret picture. Inspired
by seven interviewees’ detailed descriptions of interacting with secrets, we designed an especially
secretive interaction to consume the picture and compared it to a more technical interaction. In
a rst empirical exploration, using video prototypes (N= 276), the secretive interaction was rated
as more positive and providing more intense feelings of privacy and autonomy. This hints at the
potential of objects and the careful design of interaction with this objects to intensify the positive
experiences gained from mundane activities.
© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Well-being; positive
psychology; experience
design; object interaction;
psychological needs;
interaction attributes
Received 12 June 2015
Accepted 8 February 2016
CONTACT Sarah Diefenbach
Happiness and well-being crucially depend on the activ-
ities we engage in. About 40% of variance in chronic
happiness scores can be explained by activity, i.e. ‘the
wide variety of things people do and think in their daily
lives’ (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, & Schkade, 2005, p. 118).
As well-being is a multifaceted construct, activities can
impact well-being through increasing positive emotions,
behaviors, thoughts, and fullling important psychologi-
cal needs (Layous & Lyubomirsky, 2012). Given this, a crit-
ical question is how to involve and keep people engaged
in well-being-enhancing activities. A popular approach
in positive psychology is devising special well-being-
enhancing activities, trainings and interventions
(e.g. Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005). In contrast,
this study investigates the impact of objects and mundane,
everyday activities as creators and mediators of well-being.
Many of our activities are profoundly shaped by objects.
For example, morning rituals depend on the coeemaker
used, or intimate communication on the apps installed
on smartphones. Therefore, product design enables delib-
erately encouraging and shaping people’s activities, and,
in turn provides a chance for enhancing their well-being.
The object-mediated nature of activity is at the heart
of Human-Computer Interaction and Interaction Design
(HCI/ID). Activity is understood as inseparable from
materiality (Dourish, 2001). Humans are ‘acting with tech-
nology’ (Kaptelinin & Nardi, 2006), and each activity is
inevitably shaped by the opportunities and limitations
imposed by the designed objects (Dunne, 2005, p. 69). In
other words, objects can create and mediate positive and
meaningful experiences and those experiences become
explicit objectives of design (e.g. experience-driven design’
(Hekkert, Mostert, & Stomp, 2003), ‘experience-centered
design’ (Wright & McCarthy, 2010; Wright, Wallace, &
McCarthy, 2008), ‘experience design’ (Hassenzahl, 2010;
Hassenzahl et al., 2013). While psychological research on
well-being started from the need to better understand
and improve well-being and then identied activity as
a viable means, HCI/ID started from the need to design
object-mediated activities and only later identied posi-
tive and meaningful experience and ultimately well-being
as a viable design objective (Calvo & Peters, 2014; Desmet
& Pohlmeyer, 2013; Hassenzahl et al., 2013).
Of course, there are eorts within positive psychology
to exploit the power of objects (i.e. technology, interac-
tive devices), such as behavioral intervention technolo-
gies (Schueller, 2014); see Parks (2014) for an overview.
However, computer-based multimedia stress management
and resilience trainings (Rose, 2014), for example, use tech-
nology foremost as an alternative way of delivering and
distributing content, but it essentially remains a training. In
Downloaded by [Sarah Diefenbach] at 04:00 18 April 2016
phenomenon (Frijns, Finkenauer, Vermulst, & Engels,
2005; Kelly, 2002). Most psychological research refers to
serious secrets, such as extramarital aairs or suicides in
families, and the negative consequences of secrecy (e.g.
A & Caughlin, 2006; Richards & Sillars, 2012; Vangelisti,
1994). However, less serious, ‘small’ secrets may have
benecial eects. As Frijns et al. (2005, p. 138) argued:
‘Because secrecy, by nature, separates those who know
from those who do not know, it may promote independ-
ence and autonomy. Autonomy, in turn, is a crucial psy-
chological need, essential to well-being (Ryan & Deci,
2001). Thus we considered experiences of mundane
secrecy (e.g. sneaking out for contemplation, taking
breaks from work, secretly indulging in soap operas) as a
potential source for everyday well-being. The purpose of
‘small’ secrets is not to conceal the extremely delicate, but
to create a moment just for oneself, a brief retreat from
the rest of the world. Besides autonomy, small secrets
may thus promote additional facets of privacy (Pedersen,
1997, 1999), such as contemplation (self-discovery, feel-
ing free to express oneself) and rejuvenation (moments
of reection for oneself).
After choosing an activity (‘keeping a secret’ to fulll auton-
omy needs), we looked for a context to situate the activity
and decided for an oce setting. Autonomy and privacy
in the oce are recurrent themes, especially in open plan
oces (Kim & de Dear, 2013). Oce environments further
oer limited opportunities to surround oneself with pri-
vate objects in the sense of personalization.
contrast, JuicyMo, a centrifugal juicer, which aims at inten-
sifying the positivity and meaning derived from the mun-
dane activity of juicing (Grosse-Hering, Mason, Aliakseyeu,
Bakker, & Desmet, 2013), is an HCI/ID example of how the
power of an object can be used to shape an activity and
the consequent experience. Overall, the opportunities of
technology with respect to well-being seem twofold: On
the one hand, carefully designed objects can establish
novel, well-being-enhancing everyday activities, thereby
increasing the likelihood of experiencing positive and
meaningful moments throughout the day. On the other
hand, objects and interactions can be carefully designed
to intensify the experiential outcome gained from existing
activities (such as juicing).
The present paper explores the latter. We focus on
the interaction with an object and explore the possibil-
ity of deliberately designing the interaction to intensify
the experience. Specically, we present an empirical case
study of ‘keeping secrets’ as a way to support autonomy
needs in daily life.
Design praxis: from well-being and needs to
activities, contexts, objects, and interaction
Designing for well-being by shaping activities through
objects is a multilayered endeavor. It involves choosing
an activity, a context for the activity to take place, and an
object, which plays a central role in the activity and acts
as a mediator or ‘carrier’. Having claried these aspect,
detailed interaction design addresses the questions of
how to access the functionality provided by the object. The
present research focuses on the nal step, that is, the par-
ticular interaction. Specically, we suggest that the inter-
action needs to t the intended activity and experience.
An interaction can be described with some basic attrib-
utes, such as slow/fast or gentle/powerful (Diefenbach,
Lenz, & Hassenzahl, 2013). In the present design case, we
rst conducted an interview study to reveal interaction
attributes, which particularly t the intended experience.
These insights then inspired the interaction design. In the
following, we rst describe the chosen activity, its context,
and the involved object. We then discuss the interaction
design in more detail.
Activity, context, and object: keeping and
consuming secret digital pictures in an oce
We start from the idea of creating well-being through
the activity of keeping and consuming ‘small secrets.
Keeping secrets, that is, the intentional concealment of
personal information from others, is a ubiquitous social
Figure 1.A picture frame holding a secret (source: Hassenzahl,
Downloaded by [Sarah Diefenbach] at 04:00 18 April 2016
Finally, we chose a digital picture frame as mediator of the
activity. Specically, we created the concept of a digital
picture frame, which holds a secret picture, only revealed
by a particular, secretive interaction (see Figure 1, see also
(Hassenzahl, 2010, p. 71)).
Interaction: designing a secretive interaction with a
digital picture
For the interaction design, we rst explored the phenom-
enology of interacting with a secret and derived typical
interaction attributes. We carried out semi-structured
interviews with seven participants (ve female, two male;
age: 24–65 years) about their consumption of autono-
my-supporting, ‘small’ secrets in daily life. A convenience
sample was recruited via email and personal communi-
cation. To collect a wide variety of secrecy examples, not
tied to a particular profession or workplace, we accepted
participants from diverse professional backgrounds (e.g.
doctor, actor, advertising, lm business).
The interview sessions started with brieng the par-
ticipants about our particular interest in ‘small’ secrets
(as opposed to serious, self-threatening secrets) by short
examples, such as secretly spending a lunch break in a
café in another district, just to get some private time away
from colleagues. In the remaining session time, partic-
ipants reported about their personal ‘small’ secrets. The
interview focused on related practices, objects and inter-
action, and participants’ feelings about what constitutes
a ‘good’, ‘enjoyable’, secretive way of revealing, consuming
and concealing a tangible secret (e.g. How do you open the
secret chocolate box? How do you sneak into the kitchen
to steal the last ice cream from the fridge?).
Data analysis included a clustering of general reec-
tions about small secrets and their value in daily life by
inductive category formation (Mayring, 2004) and an anal-
ysis of relevant interaction attributes. The latter built the
basis for the here presented interaction design. In the raw
transcripts, we rst marked all descriptions of interacting
with the secrets for further elaboration. We summarized
synonyms and attributes with similar connotation (e.g.
gentle, tender, moderate, soft) into categories. It showed
that despite the variety of secrets presented, specic
interaction attributes and related associations were fre-
quently mentioned. As such, approaching the secret was
repeatedly described as a slow, gentle, and continuously,
a moment of anticipating the secret, before nally con-
suming it. Directness and physical contact/tangibility was
mentioned frequently, emphasizing the keepers’ full atten-
tion and complete appreciation of the object of secrecy.
While from the secret keepers’ perspective, the interaction
should feel focused and targeted, for others, the interac-
tion should appear incidental and natural, hopefully not
attracting any attention. Participants further emphasized
that the secret must be easily covered and concealed to
guarantee that there are no cues or visible tracks left for
others. Another important insight was the general dif-
ference between interaction attributes for approaching/
uncovering vs. covering the secret. While the former asks
Table 1.Secrecy-related interaction attributes, related associations, and examples.
Interaction attributes Associations, given reasons Examples, sample statements
Slow, gentle, continuously Something valuable, to be handled with respect
and care
Grabbing the last ice cream from the fridge and then eating it privately
in one's room: ‘Behind the closed door, I slowly opened the package. An
extra boost of anticipation. I ate with much pleasure and all the time of
the world’ (P4)
Using a special salad bowl brought from Turkey, hiding it from the flat
mates: ‘I always place some other dishes in front, like a barrier. In fact, I
feel a little guilty about wanting to keep it for myself …. But I also really
appreciate it and handle it very gently.’ (P1)
Direct, physical contact/
Full attention and complete appreciation for the
object of secrecy; connectedness to thoughts or
Opening secret memory box: ‘It already starts with opening that box,
lifting the lid, touching it. It makes me feel in direct contact with all that
memories’ (P1)
Writing a secret diary: ‘The diary is like a secret room … the moment the
pen touches the paper, thoughts enter directly into that room.’ (P3)
Focused, targeted Importance, value for the secret keeper (external
perspective: natural, incidental)
Flipping a sheet of paper as if it was some irrelevant work-related docu-
ment and not a secret planning list for holidays
A tension between outward appearance and inner state, e.g., ‘When
someone enters the room I try to act natural, seemingly fully relaxed.
But in fact it is the opposite. Of course my full attention is on covering
that list and making it disappear between the other documents lying on
my desk.’ (P3)
Covered, concealed, invisible Easily concealable, no cues or visible tracks for
Eating spoons full of chocolate spread and then covering the tracks of
indulgence: ‘Directly from the glass – totally forbidden – nobody must see
me … after that, nobody would think any spoon had ever entered that
glass of Nutella.’ (P4)
Covering non-work related activities at the office: ‘As soon as I hear the
door is opened, I quickly click on something work-related – and not –
ehm – eBay’ (P1)
Downloaded by [Sarah Diefenbach] at 04:00 18 April 2016
Preliminary comparison of two interactions:
stroking vs. remote interaction
For a rst empirical exploration of dierent ways to inter-
act with the picture frame and the assumed relevance
for experience, we compared the ‘stroking’ interaction
outlined above with an alternative, presumably less
secretive interaction. In a second variant, the secret pic-
ture was revealed and concealed by pressing the button
of a tiny remote control (see Figure 3 and https://vimeo.
com/103700137). Compared to the stroking interaction,
whose design was led by interaction attributes expressing
secrecy, the remote interaction was deliberately designed
to contradict this (e.g. stepwise rather than uent, powerful
rather than gentle, instant rather than delayed response,
spatially separated rather than ‘tangible’).
Our preliminary comparison explored three questions:
First, will participants perceive the attributes of the strok-
ing interaction as intended by the designer (e.g. slow,
delayed)? Second, will the dierences between stroking
and remote interaction be reected in ratings on the level
of interaction attributes? Third, will there be dierences
between the two interactions on the level of experience
ratings? More specically, we were interested in ratings on
general positive experience and facets of privacy experi-
ence, as targeted by the design of the stroking interaction.
Participants and procedure
Two-hundred and seventy-six individuals (148 female, 128
male) aged between 18 and 49 (mean age=24years) took
part in the study. The study was conducted online with
SurveyMonkey ( All materials
were in German. A link to the study was distributed via
students union representatives of various universities in
Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Ten 30€ gift vouchers
were raed as an incentive. The two alternative interactions
(stroking, remote) were presented as video prototypes, fea-
turing a scene in an oce and showing the detailed interac-
tion with the picture frame (stroking interaction: see Figure 2
and, remote interaction: see
Figure 3 and All participants
were confronted with both interactions in counterbalanced
order. Note, that the use of online video prototypes instead
of functional prototypes has certain limitations, especially
with regard to perspective (third person vs. rst person) and
for slow interaction, allowing the secret keeper to antici-
pate and celebrate the secret in private, the latter is also
a protection of the secret from others. Hence, covering
the secret should be either fast, or slow but incidental, to
be performed ‘invisibly’ before the eyes of others. Table 1
gives an overview of associations, examples and sample
statements for the dierent interaction attributes related
to interaction with secrets. In sum, an interaction should
appear slow, gentle, direct, precise, and focused for the
secret keeper, but rather incidental and inconspicuous for
We assume that the interactions described in the inter-
views subsumes the way that interaction feels ‘right’ in the
context of small secrets. We thus used this information as
a ‘blueprint’ for the design of an interaction to reveal, con-
sume, and conceal the secret picture in the digital picture
frame (see Figure 2(a) and (b)). Touching the visible ‘public’
picture reveals the underlying hidden picture at the place
of the nger. By moving the nger to other parts of the
picture, it is revealed further, bit by bit. As soon as one
removes the nger from the display, the secret picture con
tracts back to the initial point of touch and disappears,
like an elastic strap. This ‘stroking’ interaction suppor ts the
gentle revealing of the secret, further intensied by the
necessity to ‘touch’ it. The revealing further emphasizes
familiarity. In a way, the keeper of the secret picture may
already ‘see’ the secret picture ‘through the public picture
on display. Concealing is fast and instantaneous. Quickly
drawing back the hand is a typical gesture, when in danger
to be caught in the act.
Figure 3.Remote interaction to reveal the secret picture.
Figure 2.(a) A ‘stroking’ interaction to reveal the secret picture
(conceptual sketch) and (b) stroking interaction to reveal
the secret picture (stills from video prototype, https://vimeo.
Downloaded by [Sarah Diefenbach] at 04:00 18 April 2016
Privacy experience
Adapted from the privacy function rating scale (Pedersen,
1997, 1999), we assessed the three privacy facets auton-
omy, contemplation, and rejuvenation, each one com-
prised of four items, on a ve-point scale (1= not at all,
5=extremely). Sample items are ‘I felt that I could’… do
things that don’t t my usual role (autonomy), ‘ … take ref-
uge from the outside world’ (rejuvenation), or ‘ … meditate
and reect’ (contemplation). Scale values were computed
by averaging the according item values. Cronbach’s Alpha
ranged from .79 (rejuvenation) to .82 (contemplation).
Figure 4 shows the participants’ perception of the ‘stroking’
and the ‘remote’ interaction as compared to the designer’s
intended impression. For the stroking interaction, the pro-
le correlation between participants’ ratings and design-
er’s intended impression was positive and signicant, r(9)
= .72, p<.05. The perception of the ‘remote’ interaction
was clearly dierent from ‘stroking’, r(9) = .18, p > .05,
and uncorrelated to the designer’s intentions, r(9) = −.03,
p > .05. This indicates that participants perceived the
‘stroking’ interaction the way we intended, whereas the
alternative interaction (i.e. ‘remote’) created a substantially
dierent impression.
Additional t-tests revealed signicant dierences
between the two interactions for nine of the eleven attrib-
utes. The ‘stroking’ interaction was perceived as slower
(t(274) = 5.39, p<.001, d=.33), more uent (t(274) = 7.67,
p<.001, d=.46), more delayed (t(274) = 5.48, p <.001,
d=.33), more uniform (t(274) = 2.82, p<.001, d=.17), more
inconstant (t(274) = 4.06, p<.001, d=.24), spatially more
proximate (t (274) = 8.39, p<.001, d=.51), more approxi-
mate (t(274) = 6.15, p<.001, d=.37), more gentle (t(274)
= 12.18, p<.001, d=.73), and more covered (t(274) = 7.20,
p<.001, d=.43) than the ‘remote’ interaction; according
to Bonferroni correction, only p-values<.004 were inter-
preted as signicant.
A 2 × 2 analysis of variance with interaction (stroking,
remote) as within-subjects factor, order (stroking-remote,
remote-stroking) as between-subjects factor, and posi-
tive experience as the measure revealed a highly signi-
cant main eect for interaction, F(1265) = 22.05, p<.001,
η2=.08. Experience ratings for the ‘stroking’ interaction
were more positive (M=2.70) than for the ‘remote’ interac-
tion (M=2.37). There was neither a signicant main eect
of order nor an interaction x order interaction.
We then analyzed participants’ ratings for privacy
experience in terms of autonomy, rejuvenation, and
haptic sensations (no sensations vs. the actual experience
of touch). To counteract the rst, we asked participants to
image themselves as vividly as possible being the main
protagonist (see experimental vignette methodology, (e.g.
Aguinis & Bradley, 2014). The lack of haptic sensation seems
less problematic, given the fact that touch-based interac-
tion (i.e. with tablet computers) is common nowadays. After
each video, participants provided ratings on interaction and
Perceived interaction attributes
We used the Interaction Vocabulary (Diefenbach et al.,
2013) to measure perceived interaction attributes. It consists
of 11 seven-point semantic dierential items to describe
interaction: slow-fast, stepwise-uent, instant-delayed,
uniform-diverging, constant-inconstant, mediated-direct,
spatial separation-spatial proximity, approximate-precise,
gentle-powerful, incidental-targeted, apparent-covered.
Since the interaction designer (third author) used the
vocabulary to specify the stroking and the remote inter-
action, this provided a comparison between the designer’s
intentions and participants’ actual perceptions.
Positive experience
A single rating on a ve-point scale (‘positive’, 1=not at all,
5=extremely) served as measure of positive experience.
Figure 4.Participants’ perceptions of the ‘stroking’ and the ‘remote’
interaction as compared to the designer’s intended impression.
Downloaded by [Sarah Diefenbach] at 04:00 18 April 2016
Objects provide particular promising opportunities
to engage people in (well-being-enhancing) activities.
Through their material presence in daily life and their inher-
ent relation to activities, objects can trigger new healthy
activities or bring back activities that people already expe-
rienced as benecial, but failed to remember and maintain
in daily life. For example, we can carry a secret picture in
our wallet and occasionally peek at it during the oce
hours. However, the wallet does not explicitly suggest this.
It requires us to appropriate the wallet accordingly, to gain
well-being from secret pictures. By deliberately ‘inscribing’
this activity into an object, just as we did with the picture
frame, the activity becomes constantly available, even to
people, who have not thought about it before. Hence,
objects can make benecial activities more accessible
through the mere fact that they explicitly provide corre-
sponding functionality. Furthermore, objects provide the
opportunity to shape the activity itself, through designing
a particular way of interaction. As our research revealed,
there are more or less secrecy tting interaction attributes,
and the same may be applicable for other needs and expe-
riences. Designing objects to deliver well-being requires
not only thinking about the right functions, but also about
the right interaction.
Our interview study and the comparison of the stroking
interaction with a less experientially designed interaction
reected the general relevance of the way of interaction
for the consequent experiences, and, in turn, illustrates the
possible starting points for design. Participants’ percep-
tion of the designed secretive interaction (i.e. ‘stroking’)
corresponded to the intended interaction prole, whereas
the remote interaction was uncorrelated. Moreover, the
‘stroking’ interaction was rated as oering the overall more
positive experience. Within the positive psychology para-
digm and well-being, our research highlights the poten-
tial subtleties of how artifacts create and mediate positive
experiences through interaction and the responsibility of
careful interaction design.
contemplation. A 2 × 3 × 2 analysis of variance with inter-
action (stroking, remote) and privacy facet (autonomy, reju-
venation, contemplation) as within-subjects factors, order
(stroking-remote, remote-stroking) as between-subjects
factor, and intensity as the measure revealed a signicant
main eect of interaction, F(1542)=25.28, p<.001, η
Overall, the experience of privacy was more intense for the
‘stroking’ interaction (M=4.58) compared to the ‘remote’
interaction (M= 4.42). However, there was a signicant
interaction × order interaction, F(1542) = 12.40, p< .001,
η2=.07. Only if the ‘stroking’ interaction had been the rst
presented concept, and thus introduced as a standard of
comparison, ratings for all three privacy facets were signif-
icantly higher for the stroking than for the remote interac-
tion (autonomy: t(134)=4.58, p<.001, d=.39; rejuvenation:
t(134)=5.78, p<.001, d=.50); contemplation: t(134)=4.99,
p<.001, d=.43). Figure 5 shows mean values of privacy
experience in the two order conditions. There was no main
eect or interaction of privacy facet.
Summary and contributions
Primarily, the present research wants to draw attention to
objects as a starting point for increasing people’s every-
day well-being. Our study forms an example of how ‘stu
shapes activities and experiences through interaction, and
oers the opportunity to deliberately design for more need
fulllment and ultimately well-being. We understand this
as an extension of positive psychological interventions:
Lyubomirsky and colleagues (Lyubomirsky & Layous, 2013;
Lyubomirsky et al., 2005) just as others already drew atten-
tion to the general importance of ‘healthy practices’ and
activities as well-being-enhancing interventions. Based
on the philosophy of Experience design (e.g. Desmet &
Pohlmeyer, 2013; Hassenzahl et al., 2013), the present
research directs attention to the potential of objects as
an additional opportunity to increase well-being.
Figure 5.Mean values of privacy experience for stroking interaction and remote interaction for the two order conditions stroking-remote
(left) and remote-stroking (right).
Downloaded by [Sarah Diefenbach] at 04:00 18 April 2016
an oce environment), and, even more subtly, through
interaction, that feels private and secretive. Quite naturally,
psychological research rarely considers the profound role
‘stu’ could play in mediating activities and creating posi-
tive experience. By taking the best of both elds, the desire
to make, the need to prove, and the urge to change, we
hope to unlock the powers of ‘stu ’ to enhance happiness
and well-being.
Disclosure statement
No potential conict of interest was reported by the authors.
This work was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Ed-
ucation and Research (BMBF) [grant number 01 IS12010F].
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Limitations and future work
The present study has a number of limitations to be
addressed in future research. Obviously, the present con-
cept of the picture frame only underwent a preliminary
empirical evaluation so far. A potentially critical point may
be the use of video prototypes, because participants could
see, but not actually feel the interaction. Especially the
‘stroking’ interaction builds on gestures, whose qualities
may reveal itself better by hands-on experience through a
functional prototype. Futures studies based on rst-hand
experience will certainly deliver additional insights.
More importantly, our study did not yet explore the
eects of the picture frame as such. It remains the ques-
tion whether its functionality and interaction will create
meaningful moments of privacy and autonomy in every-
day life. The present case is only a rst, but yet interesting
and necessary step within the gradual transformation from
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could be submitted to longitudinal eld studies.
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and well-being, if the interaction has attributes in line
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knowledge in a particular interaction and object (e.g. a
picture frame). A more systematic transformation process
would certainly be helpful.
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the psychological understanding of well-being, positive
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applying psychological concepts and knowledge about
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and concept have to be transformed into the concrete.
The present case shows just how many steps are needed to
translate the abstract goal of enhancing well-being into a
concrete activity, situated in a specic context and shaped
by functionality (a picture frame with a secret picture for
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... To do so, however, is a methodological challenge. Design approaches that particularly focus on the positive, i.e., possibility-driven design [7][8][9][10]20], usually investigate activities that already exist to better understand the origin of enjoyment and meaning. However, any positive activity of divergent hearing identified through this is at least in part a consequence of the possibilities and limitations of already existing hearing technology. ...
... The notion of allowing positive dialogue among designers, users, materials and situations to explore the possibilities technology could provide, is at the heart of approaches of a possibility-driven design [7], such as Experience Design, Positive Design and Design for Wellbeing [8][9][10]20]. These are based on positive psychology [35] and -among other claims -call for an alternative to an exclusively problemdriven approach. ...
Conference Paper
Conventional hearing aids frame hearing impairment almost exclusively as a problem. In the present paper, we took an alternative approach by focusing on positive future possibilities of 'divergent hearing'. To this end, we developed a method to speculate simultaneously about not-yet-experienced positive meanings and not-yet-existing technology. First, we gathered already existing activities in which divergent hearing was experienced as an advantage rather than as a burden. These activities were then condensed into 'Prompts of Positive Possibilities' (PPP), such as 'Creating a shelter to feel safe in". In performative sessions, participants were given these PPPs and 'Open Probes' to enact novel everyday activities. This led to 26 possible meanings and according devices, such as "Being able to listen back into the past with a rewinder". The paper provides valuable insights into the interests and expectations of people with divergent hearing as well as a methodological contribution to a possibility-driven design.
... The sometimes thoughtless application of efficiency-oriented practices acquired at work to private life are certainly at the heart of phenomena, such as "time poverty", and counter movements, such as practicing mindfulness and cherishing the moment. Recently, we engaged in a line of studies to more systematically explore the relationship between the experiential level (the "Why") and lower levels (predominantly the "How") ( Diefenbach et al., 2017;. In one study ( Diefenbach et al., 2017), we designed a digital picture frame for an office workplace, which allows to keep and consume a secret picture. ...
... Recently, we engaged in a line of studies to more systematically explore the relationship between the experiential level (the "Why") and lower levels (predominantly the "How") ( Diefenbach et al., 2017;. In one study ( Diefenbach et al., 2017), we designed a digital picture frame for an office workplace, which allows to keep and consume a secret picture. Keeping the small secret and revealing it in an undisturbed moment during a busy office day was supposed to create an experience of autonomy and privacy. ...
We currently witness a growing interest of the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) community in user experience. It has become a catchphrase, calling for a holistic perspective and an enrichment of traditional quality models with non-utilitarian concepts, such as fun, joy, pleasure, hedonic value or ludic value. In the same vein, literature on experiential marketing stresses that a product should not longer be seen as simply delivering a bundle of functional features and benefits—it provides experiences. Customers want products that dazzle their senses, touch their hearts and stimulate their minds. Even though the HCI community seems to embrace the notion that functionality and usability is just not enough, we are far from having a coherent understanding of what user experience actually is.
... Research in design (Diefenbach et al., 2017;Petermans & Cain, 2019) as well as in clinical studies (Halliday et al., 2017) identifies how our feelings of well-being and happiness depend upon the activities we engage in. Artefacts and technologies are considered 'mediators' that shape the behaviour of their users and the activities they engage in, are a stimulus for reflection and awareness, and offer support in one's everyday routines (Dorrestijn & Verbeek, 2013;Kaptelinin & Nardi, 2006;Kehr et al., 2012;Laschke et al., 2011;Verbeek, 2005;Waelbers, 2011). ...
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... We postulate that having an awareness of behavioural tendencies expressed in interactions with products can support designers to influence users' experiences in a favourable way. As demonstrated by Diefenbach et al. (2016) and Kim, Self, and Bae (2018), an interaction carefully designed to fit the intended behaviour can enrich the users' experience (e.g., gentle and focused interaction to reinforce the behaviour of revealing a secret puzzle such as unpacking a birthday gift). It is therefore probable that having a structured overview of specific positive emotions and related expressive interaction qualities can be useful when detailing the interactions. ...
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Central to the present paper is the question of how designers can be supported to deliberately facilitate positive emotional experiences. Related to this, the paper provides an overview of the research on design for positive emotions, its issues, and opportunities for further investigations. The practical relevance of transcending the notion of generalised pleasure is discussed, highlighting the benefits of developing and applying a nuanced understanding of positive emotions. Overarching The Design Journal challenges and opportunities that underlie in stimulating such understanding are delineated along with the review of characteristics of positive emotions. Ethical issues of designing for positive emotions are reflected regarding its implications for well-being with suggestions to resolve them. Besides, the paper discusses emerging research directions, ranging from design tools to distinguish diverse positive emotions, the added value of exploring expressive interaction qualities of positive emotions, to advantages of involving tool users (e.g., designers and project stakeholders) in the development process.
... & An online experiment that offered an imagined experience [5,6] (50 participants). Both purchase and payment interactions were presented with 2 movies. ...
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In this paper, we investigate the third stand, our perspective on embodied interaction with digital products and systems. First, we discuss its background of dematerialization, an ongoing evolution in which physical products and information carriers disappear, and become immaterial information packages and on-screen applications. We establish how dematerialization influences both design research and design practice. Next, we present a digital payment terminal that we designed in order to explore the added value of our third stand perspective. In an experiment, we compare it with an existing payment terminal. The results of the experiment reveal that the third stand terminal scores higher on hedonic values, like beauty and stimulation. The existing terminal scores higher on pragmatic values, like ease-of-use and efficiency. We position the third stand as a design approach that pleas for embodiment from a hedonic perspective and propose to extend the argument for embodiment beyond pragmatic values. Finally, we suggest that the third stand celebrates the limitations of the physical world instead of trying to overcome them, and gives rise to specific emotional values like attentiveness, profundity, and preciousness.
During the past decade, social apps like Facebook and Instagram have gained relevance in our lives. Implicitly or explicitly, designers are in part responsible for the relationship between product experience and well-being. Past studies have tackled the relationship between social app interaction and well-being, stating that it remains ambiguous. The present work analyzes the diversity of emotional experiences and well-being impacts related to social media apps. Our study presents a users’ point of view of how social apps relate to their well-being, adding up to objective studies about the same phenomenon. We have carried out a Collage study with 16 participants, analyzing their reports on emotional experiences and stimulus of psychological needs in the interaction with social apps. Our results describe a duality between positive feelings and concerns about use time, security, and anxiety stemming from the experience with social apps. Based on our findings we present several recommendations for designing social apps that foster healthier and positive experiences for well-being.
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Positive Psychologie ist die Wissenschaft dessen, was Individuen, Organisationen und Gesellschaften dazu befähigt, sich bestmöglich zu entwickeln und aufzublühen. Sie orientiert sich an den Stärken, Ressourcen und Potenzialen, die Menschen mitbringen. Im Mittelpunkt des Forschungsinteresses stehen daher psychisches Wohlbefinden und positive Entwicklung von Individuen, Organisationen und der Gesellschaft. In diesem Band werden grundlegende Forschungsbefunde der positiven Psychologie aus dem deutschsprachigen Raum vorgestellt. „Positive Psychologie und Leistung“, „Positive Psychologie und Glück“ sowie „Positive Psychologie und die Mensch-Computer-Interaktion“ sind dabei die Schwerpunkte. Themen wie Leistung, Flow, Urlaub, Liebe und Geld, Haben und Sein, Emotionen, Politik, Charakterstärken und Potentiale führen in die fesselnden Bereiche menschlicher Existenz.
When user experience (UX) issues in information and communication technology are investigated, the application context is usually determined by situations where people use and interact with software systems. In this position paper, we address the specific application context where users are also in the role of customers, although they might not be the one who “bought” the product or service. Customer is here defined in the more general term as the key stakeholder. The paper explores the relationship between the notion of “user-centric” design and the notion of “Customer Centricity”, a concept that has been around in marketing and business already in the so called pre-digital era. Companies agree that the customer should be in the focus of their business. But they do not really follow the core idea of Customer Centricity. This results in the Customer Centricity Paradox: The more data about the individual customer are available at the touch of a button, the more he (In this paper, the term ‘he’ is used for simplifying reasons, but it refers to all genders.) is reduced to a set of data points and serves only as a means to an end. He is not in the focus, he is the product. For this reason, Customer Centricity needs to be rethought and redefined. We introduce and propose the Activity-oriented Customer Centricity (ACC) approach. If companies do not want to turn the Customer Centricity approach against their customers, then they must follow the ACC approach as in the concept of Humane Customer Centricity.
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In the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), there is an increasing interest in designing for well-being. With this contribution, we introduce Tactful Objects as a design perspective on interactive artifacts that empower people in sensitive settings. We explore the concept of tactfulness by designing two interactive artifacts addressing the needs of families dealing with childhood cancer. The first, Mr.V, is an interactive dispenser to stimulate social activities in the family. The second, AscoltaMe, is a kind of walkie-talkie to enhance communication between family members. Eight families in treatment were invited to try out one of these artifacts at home. We report on how they perceived the objects’ impact on family life, how they used and appreciated the objects and how the objects embedded at home. The findings highlight that Tactful Objects enable people to act with respect for their vulnerabilities and circumstances by establishing partnerships and collaborations that are inviting and appropriate for the setting in which they are embedded. We then reflect on the contribution of the work for research in healthcare and design for other sensitive settings. We conclude by presenting the limitations of the study and provide directions for future work.
An important task in designing control-command systems is defining components for two essential parts of the system: command and monitoring. Instead of developing a monolithic executable, designers use reusable blocs, named components, which are saved in a library. Services Oriented Architecture (SOA) was introduced in the design of control-command systems to improve flexibility and reusability [1]. However, this approach does not consider the composition of the services [2], disregarding this important characteristic in the design of control-command systems. In some industrial areas such as shipbuilding, the component-based approach is typically used since it enables better legibility for the applications; it uses a modular approach based on the system architecture recorded on the Piping and Instrumentation Diagram (P&ID) [3]. Each software component is associated with a unique type of equipment. This approach enables to produce components highly optimized to their functions. The counterpart is that services integrated in each component cannot be reused in designing another component. In fact, part of the component services can also be present in another component (Fig. 1). Including services in component does not optimize functions reusability. In this paper, we propose an approach that facilitate and improve the design of quality components whilst complying with specifications and timelines in a more efficient way; it also reduces efforts required to redesign services provided by these components.Fig. 1.Duplication functions in component design Duplication functions in component design
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As PPI research embraces the use of the Internet, it is incumbent on the research community to keep up with the ever-evolving best practices in online intervention research. This paper provides an overview of current practices in online positive psychological intervention (OPPI) research and suggests improvements to those practices. Drawing from the broader online intervention literature, the paper outlines important considerations in the design of OPPIs (including user engagement, dosage, and free choice) as well as in their empirical evaluation (including sample selection, statistical approaches, and comparison groups).
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This research considers how mental dialogues (or imagined interactions [IIs]) about personal secrets predict the maintenance of secrecy and associated levels of mental and physical well-being. Participants described secrets they were keeping and completed questionnaires assessing IIs about the secret. After 2 months, participants reported whether they had revealed the secret and reported on moods and physical health. Results indicated that IIs predicted future revelation, negative moods, and physical illness. Five types of secret keepers (untroubled, anticipatory, defensive, repressive, and private) were identified that reflect distinct cognitive responses to secrecy. One view of secrecy suggests that keeping secrets leads to preoccupation and anxiety that ultimately affects mental and physical health. This research confirms that a pattern of rumination and ill health represents one response to secrecy; however, people may process secrecy in different ways with different potential consequences for well-being.
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In this paper we report on an exploration of how to apply the theory of Slow Design to mass produced products to establish more mindful usage of products; the intention behind this is to promote product attachment and the associated sustainable benefits of long term use. Slow Design is a design philosophy that focuses on promoting well-being for individuals, society, and the natural environment. It encourages people to do things at the right time and at the right speed which helps them to understand and reflect on their actions. Several authors have proposed Slow Design principles and cases have been reported in which these principles were applied in cultural design projects. These applications indicated that Slow Design can indeed have a positive impact on wellbeing. Although promising, this philosophy has not yet been used in the design of mass consumer products. In this paper we present a design case study in which we explored how the Slow Design principles can be applied in the design of an electric fruit juicer. Two studies are reported on where the conditions for implementing Slow Design are explored. The results led to a revision of the principles for use by product designers. The main finding from the case study is that the Slow Design principles can be used to create more 'mindful' interactions that stimulate positive user involvement. This is not from designing interactions that require more time per se, but by stimulating the user to use more time for those parts of the interaction that are meaningful and less for those that are not meaningful.
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This paper addresses the question of how design can contribute to the happiness of individuals–to their subjective well-being. A framework for positive design is introduced that includes three main components of subjective well-being: pleasure, personal significance and virtue. Each component represents an ingredient of design for happiness, and we propose that design that expressly includes all three ingredients is design that promotes human flourishing. People who flourish are developing as individuals, live their lives to their fullest potential, and act in the best interests of society. The intention to support human flourishing is the explicit, central design objective of positive design. Five characteristics of positive design are proposed, all of which are of relevance to organizing design processes that intend to result in designs that stimulate human flourishing. In addition, some contemporary design approaches are discussed that focus on quality of life, including nudge, capability approach, and experience design. Four important research challenges are outlined to indicate directions for a research agenda. Together with the framework, these research directions are intended to offer inspiration for designers and design researchers to join forces in their endeavours to design for subjective well-being.
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While society changes its focus from "well-fare" to "well-being," design becomes increasingly interested in the question whether it can design for happiness. In the present paper, we outline Experience Design, an approach which places pleasurable and meaningful moments at the center of all design efforts. We discuss reasons for focusing on experiences, and provide conceptual tools to help designers, such as a model of an artifact as explicitly consisting of both the material and the experiential. We suggest psychological needs as a way to understand and categorize experiences, and "experience patterns" as a tool to distill the "essence" of an experience for inscribing it into artifacts. Finally, we briefly reflect upon the morality implied by such experiential artifacts.
Preface. 1. Nature of Secrecy. 2. Individual Differences in Secret Keeping. 3. Explaining Why Secrecy is Linked to Problems. 4. Health Benefits of Revealing. 5. What is it About Revealing Secrets that is Beneficial? 6. Secrecy and Openness in Psychotherapy. 7. Explaining Why Openness May Not be Therapeutic: A Self-Presentational View of Psychotherapy. 8. Dilemmas to Revealing Secrets and the Role of the Confidant. 9. When to Reveal Personal Secrets in a Particular Relationship. Index.
Behavioral health intervention technology programs (e.g. computer, internet, or tablet) with a positive psychology focus (i.e. resilience training) can have a profound impact on behavioral and physical health. Such programs can increase access to evidence-based behavioral health training (e.g. stress management training) without the need to train clinicians in such approaches and can be confidentially used at a place and time of an individual's choosing without a need to go to a clinician's office, thus improving access to care of those who live remotely, are too busy, or may not want to seek care due to stigma. This paper describes the design considerations, features, and user-experience of a self-guided, computer-based multimedia stress management and resilience training program developed with support from NASA. Such a program may have significant relevance and implications for the broader population and the area of positive psychology.
Positive psychology was born in the twenty-first century and as such, has benefited from the substantial technological environment available to conduct research and advance psychological theory. Indeed, one of the first published studies of interventions stemming directly from the positive psychology movement (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005) made use of Internet advertising and dissemination to test the efficacy of these strategies. Positive psychologists have also contributed to research in this space. For example, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, an intellectual leader in positive psychology, was influential in the development of experience sampling (Csikszentmihalyi & Larson, 1987), a technique that has increased in use with the possibilities afforded by text messaging and mobile applications.
We describe experimental vignette methodology (EVM) as a way to address the dilemma of conducting experimental research that results in high levels of confidence regarding internal validity but is challenged by threats to external validity versus conducting nonexperimental research that usually maximizes external validity but whose conclusions are ambiguous regarding causal rela-tionships. EVM studies consist of presenting participants with carefully constructed and realistic scenarios to assess dependent variables including intentions, attitudes, and behaviors, thereby enhancing experimental realism and also allowing researchers to manipulate and control indepen-dent variables. We describe two major types of EVM aimed at assessing explicit (i.e., paper people studies) and implicit (i.e., policy capturing and conjoint analysis) processes and outcomes. We offer best practice recommendations regarding the design and implementation of EVM studies based on a multidisciplinary literature review, discuss substantive domains and topics that can benefit from implementing EVM, address knowledge gaps regarding EVM such as the need to increase realism and the number and diversity of participants, and address ways to overcome some of the negative perceptions about EVM by pointing to exemplary articles that have used EVM successfully. Keywords research design, experimental design, quasi-experimental design Understanding the direction and nature of causal relationships is the cornerstone of science (Shadish, Cook, & Campbell, 2002). While the majority of management research provides evidence regarding covariation between antecedent and outcome variables, covariation alone does not answer two important questions crucial for establishing causality: (a) Did the antecedent occur temporally