Barriers for Bridging Interpersonal Gaps: Three Inspirational Design Patterns for Increasing Collocated Social Interaction
ACM Press, New York
Positive face-to-face social encounters between strangers can strengthen the sense of community in modern urban environments. However, it is not always easy to initiate friendly encounters due to various inhibiting social norms. We present three inspirational design patterns for reducing inhibitions to interact with unfamiliar others. These abstractions are based on a broad design space review of concepts, encompassing examples across a range of scales, fields, media and forms. Each inspirational pattern is formulated as a response to a different challenge to initiating social interaction but all share an underlying similarity in offering varieties of barriers and filters that paradoxically also separate people. The patterns are "Closer Through Not Seeing"; "Closer Through Not Touching"; and "Minimize Encounter Duration". We believe these patterns can support designers, in understanding, articulating, and generating approaches to creating embodied interventions and systems that enable unacquainted people to interact.