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Sensing Their Presence

When emerging adults move out of their parents’ homes for the first time, their needs for togetherness and connection evolve, as do their parents’. In co-located homes, people often experience togetherness passively by sensing one another’s presence in their environment. However, when no longer living together, methods of experiencing togetherness change. Thus, we conducted an interview and co-design study with 16 pairs of parents and emerging adults that explores this concept across distance. The study uncovered differences in the connection needs of emerging adults and their parents, including their goals in connecting, the amount of communication they needed, and their needs for privacy and transparency. We additionally found that passive connecting factors included ambient sounds of the home, visual shared experiences and traces of one another in the home, ambient home smellscapes and smell memories, touching left-behind objects or gifted objects, and the taste of family recipes and the ambience of family mealtimes. We discuss suggestions for designing for passive co-presence based on this new knowledge.

For more info:

Hanieh Shakeri, Denise Y. Geiskkovitch, Radhika Garg, and Carman Neustaedter. 2023. Sensing Their Presence: How Emerging Adults And Their Parents Connect After Moving Apart. In Proceedings of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '23). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 676, 1–18.

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