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Ralph Ammer
Neil Churcher
Ralph Ammer
Massimo Banzi
Jenn Bove
Erez Kikin-Gil
Ruth Kikin-Gil
Simona Maschi
Tristam Sparks
Thomas Stovicek
Family Scrapbook
at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea
Increasingly, people are moving away from their families, with whom they lose touch over the years. Not only do people communicate less, but also the quality of their communication suffers. When family members talk to each other, they concentrate on catching up, rarely reaching a meaningful conversation.

In my design endeavors, I was not striving to quantitatively increase the number of conversations between family members. Each family has their own communication rhythm, based on the imperatives of their daily realities. In the remote family, there is “just enough” communication. But could communication, when it happens, be richer? Could people relate more to what the other person is talking about?

My thesis goal has been to support “good quality” communication, by using vehicles such as photos, online presence and online status messages. All these vehicles are information rich, they tell the daily story of one person, and they require minimal effort, gradually forging an uninterrupted link between families. This way, when conversation does happen, family members can go back to their previous knowledge of each other’s lives and connect better.

All these tools are already in use but they fail to bring together the remote family. They lack immediacy (web photo albums and web blogs), they imply a social effort (an email is more than a photo holder, it also needs to be written) and they are decentralized (different family members use different tools). In the online world, there is no specialized tool that aggregates all these vehicles to help remote families communicate in a non-verbal, effortless way.
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