Human Actions Made Tangible: Analysing the Temporal Organisation of Activities

Jacob Buur, Agnese Caglio, Lars Christian Jensen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


With designers increasingly moving beyond button pushing and flat-screen interaction towards tangible and embodied interaction, techniques for user studies need to develop as well. While ethnographic video studies and ethnomethod-ological analyses are becoming standard in many interaction design projects, it remains a challenge to investigate in detail how people interact with all of their body. Analysis of full-body movement is time consuming, notation techniques are rare, and findings are difficult to share between members of a design team. In this paper we propose tangible video analysis, a method developed to engage people from different backgrounds in collaboratively analysing videos with the help of physical objects. We will present one of these tools, Action Scrabble, for analysing temporal organisation of human actions. We work with a case of skilled forklift truck driving. By backtracking our design research experiments, we will unfold how and why the tangible tool succeeds in engaging designers with varied analysis experience to collaboratively focus on human action structures – and even find video analysis fun!
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDIS 2014 - Proceedings of the 2014 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Designing Interactive Systems
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date2014
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-2902-6
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event2014 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems - Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 21. Jun 201425. Jun 2014


Conference2014 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems


  • Collaboration
  • Objects
  • Participatory design
  • Tangibles
  • Toolkits
  • Video
  • Video analysis

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