Understanding the Role of Context in Creating Enjoyable Co-Located Interactions

Szu Yu (Cyn) Liu, Brian A. Smith, Rajan Vaish, Andrés Monroy-Hernández

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


In recent years, public discourse has blamed digital technologies for making people feel "alone together,'' distracting us from engaging with one another, even when we are interacting in-person. We argue that in order to design technologies that foster and augment co-located interactions, we need to first understand the context in which enjoyable co-located socialization takes place. We address this gap by surveying and interviewing over 1,000 U.S.-based participants to understand what, where, with whom, how, and why people enjoy spending time in-person. Our findings suggest that people enjoy engaging in everyday activities with individuals with whom they have strong social ties because it helps enable nonverbal cues, facilitate spontaneity, support authenticity, encourage undivided attention, and leverage the physicality of their bodies and the environment. We conclude by providing a set of recommendations for designers interested in creating co-located technologies that encourage social engagement and relationship building.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number131
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW1
StatePublished - Apr 7 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications


  • co-located interaction
  • co-located technology
  • enjoyment
  • in-person
  • social


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