The Lovers’ Box


SiDE is seeking to achieve a deeper understanding of the potential of digital technologies to truly “connect” people. We hope that such an understanding will better inform digital technologies and address the full richness of human experience, including the experience of being in love and our desire to express feelings of love to our partners. PhD student Anja Thieme’s Lovers’ Box was part of an exploration of how romantically involved couples used a specially designed digital artefact with which they could embed personal audio and video messages. By adopting perspectives from social psychology and interaction design, her study examined the role of reflection through the use of this non-traditional digital artefact that acts as a site for enduring attachments of personal emotional significance. She discovered that the Lovers’ Box became meaningful to participants, and that they perceived it as a keepsake or digital storybook of their meaningful experiences, experienced it as an enjoyable shared hobby with their partner, and saw it as providing them a snapshot into the beloved partner’s mind and thoughts. The study indicates possibilities for digital connectivity that take better account of the form of the devices and the true nature of relationships.

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Anja Thieme

Patrick Olivier

A full description of The Lover’s Box study and the project’s results has recently been published in the paper: Designing for Reflection on Personal Experience, International Journal of Human Computer Studies, Volume 69, Issue 5, May 2011, Pages 283-297.