Walking: A Grounded Theory of Social Engagement and Experience

Stavros Asimakopoulos1 and Alan Dix2

1Academy for Digital Entertainment, NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands
2HCI Centre, University of Birmingham, UK

Interacting with Computers.

Although growing numbers of researchers are studying the role of social engagement in ubiquitous technologies and applications, few frameworks have been proposed that attend to the lived experience of the individual and social dynamic within which it is intimately enmeshed. We present empirical insights using grounded theory from data gathered during a 102-day walk of the second author around Wales. This study inductively developed a substantive social engagement framework of the Walking experience that appears to be simple and flexible. The main aim of this paper is to present the developed framework, where even apparently 'solitary' walking is set within a rich technical and social matrix. The primary characteristics of this framework, namely accuracy of social judgements, accountability of decisions and actions, enhancing self-esteem, and satisfying intrinsic motivation goals, are in line with social user experience and show promise of being useful in ubiquitous technologies, regardless of user activity.

Keywords: field studies; social navigation; grounded theory; walking experience; user experience; social engagement


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Figure 1. Walker/participant-researcher roles and research process.


Figure 4. Spheres of social connections and technology use.




Alan Dix 30/8/2017