Investigating Physical Interaction With Digital Data Through the Materialization of Email Handling

Authors: Juntae Kim, James A Self, Young-Woo Park

Interacting with Computers, iwab003, 06 March 2021

Paper link

Abstract: Adopting a re-materialization approach, we designed and implemented an everyday interactive artifact that enables an individual to monitor and establish the reconfirmation time of email data. This device represents a new means of handling and interacting with email. To investigate the value of the materialization of email data through a daily interactive object, Maili, we conducted a 1-month field study with five participants in their work environments. The results showed that applying physicality to email handling helped to increase accessibility to and interest in the data, as well as in the reconfirmation function of email. Results also indicated the value of combining non-digital (the tray) with digital functions. By presenting the process of using the dematerialized data, our findings offer new insights into how we can materialize digital information in everyday tangible artifacts.

Research highlights
- Design and implementation of a device called ‘Maili’ that can manage emails with physical interactions

- Understanding design process toward email data materialization
- Findings from a month-long in-field study of the device in an office environment
- Considerations for designing future everyday artifacts materializing digital data