We find that the research field today lacks in adequate terminology to discuss how spatial connectedness and the experience of proximity and activity benefit and support social connectedness in mediated and virtual work collaboration. Spatial connectedness indicates that architectural design is as important in mediated environments as in real spaces for human interaction. In architecture, spatial features such as proximity, visibility and layout may stimulate interaction and collaboration [9]. Architectural design equally creates spatial dividers, walls and barriers by e.g. geographically separating offices or domestic environments, seeking to harbour privacy, security, but also (social) exclusion and loneliness [10, 11, 12]. Equally, in shared mediated spaces, the individual experience of presence is negotiated as part of a process to establish trust and confirmation from the remote party/parties [13, 14, 15]. An ongoing construction of a sense of place is informed by a series of spatial and social cues, i.e. ‘reality tests’ carried out by participants, who seek fast, consistent and reliable confirmation that the interaction can be trusted and understood [8] – in which case they can temporarily agree to suspend their judgment in favour of a ‘willing suspension of disbelief’. In a broader context, social connectedness is a layered construct that describes how people relate and connect with one another in society and social groups [12]. Of relevance is that social connectedness develops over time through ‘interaction rituals’ (regular moments of contact and shared activities), provided that grounding (social cues) and correct social dynamics are in place. The linking factor between spatial and social connectedness is the ambition to design mediated spaces that support and enhance trust-building processes and secure this common ground and interaction rituals. The above results in new challenges and opportunities for HCI researchers with interests ranging from direct and live representations in virtual space (not least facilitated by new visualization and interaction techniques) to subtler interaction that supports an awareness of persons’ or objects’ remote (inter)actions.

In the workshop we seek to explore from a user experience perspective what the important issues are in designing and evaluating these merged environments and new interactions. Specifically, we seek contributions that address theory, methodology and practice (case studies) in the areas of: 1) the design of spaces (physical, virtual and mixed with sensor and actuator technology), how the design of such spaces is supporting and merged with 2) interactions with objects, others and other spaces and the intended goals with these interactions in terms of UX, 3) case studies providing insight in the created UX and 4) what technical implementations are used to realize this. We are specifically interested in applications of mainstream technology because these often better support in-situ and long term studies from which we can learn most in terms of UX and the value provided in our everyday work. For example, our own work focuses on spatial and social connectedness design in mediated communication that seamlessly supports merging of spaces, objects therein, people and activities performed in such mediated communication environments. UX concepts such as spatial and social connectedness are key experiences which we hypothesize creates value in terms of overall well-being, relatedness, identity, social support, and more control over work events.

Workshop activities

This one-day workshop seeks to attract 20-25 participants. Position papers (max 4 pages) are accepted from a wide range of disciplines, e.g. interaction researcher and designers, architects, WebRTC-developers, IoT service innovators. Participants are asked to share experiences, user studies and evaluations from collaborative practices that relate to the following: seamless integration of space, social dynamics and shared activity (in virtual space facilitated real-time communication standards (e.g. WebRTC), advanced sensor technology, visualization and interaction techniques, alongside other tools approaching the market).

All papers that are submitted will be read and commented on by a reviewing committee selected, invited and coordinated by the workshop organizers.

Participants who are interested in this workshop are requested to: (1) Submit a short paper (4 pages) addressing a relevant topic in relation to the call; (2) Participate in a video-meeting with the workshop organisers, if the paper is accepted for workshop participation; (3) Upload additional information on the workshop website (e.g. photos, videos, links, other publications or design experiences). (4) Partake in two preparatory video-meetings for planning and community building, where brief presentations by all participants will ensure that everyone is acquainted with everyone’s work.

After the workshop, the organisers will summarize the outcome and formulate a Post-Workshop Statement and Invitation to continued collaboration, which provides an outline of the topics or issues for a potential co-authored article, based on the outcome of the workshop. Within a month after the workshop, the organisers will then invite all interested participants to continue discussions in view of preparing a co-authored paper, based on the insights that the workshop has generated. It is expected that a majority of participants, although not all, will want to continue the collaboration. In this phase, the organisers will take the role as editors asking the participants to contribute as follows: (1) Participate in at least two of six mediated mini-seminars that the organisers will host in the SharedSpaces virtual meeting space, addressing different topics; (2) Write draft texts sections and submit relevant references, following interests and expertise; (3) Volunteer to proof-read and provide feedback at later stages of the co-authoring process.

The editorial group will use own resources to edit the article and a draft version of the article is planned to be ready for submission by September 2016.

Position paper format and submission

The complete workshop proposal as submitted to CSCW2016 is available from: Where did my Office go? Is it in the Cloud!? – Workshop on Spatial and Social Connectedness in Virtual and Mediated Environments

The workshop will take place at CSCW2016 on Saturday, February 27th, 2016.

The template to be used for the 4 page position paper (references do not count in these 4 pages) is the SIGCHI Extended Abstracts Format (2016) available from:

Position papers are due by: January 16th, 2016 (00:00 CET)

Author notification: January 20th, 2016

Papers are submitted as PDF files by e-mail to both workshop organizers: