Exploring social interaction with a tangible music interface

Anna Xambó*, Eva Hornecker, Paul Marshall, Sergi Jordà, Chris Dobbyn, Robin Laney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


This article presents a video-based field study of the Reactable, a tabletop tangible user interface (TUI) for music performance, in a hands-on science centre. The goal was to investigate visitors' social interactions in a public setting. We describe liminality and cross-group interaction, both synchronous with fluid transitions and overlaps in use between groups and asynchronous. Our findings indicate the importance of: (i) facilitating smooth transitions and overlaps between groups and (ii) supporting not only synchronous but also asynchronous group interaction. We discuss the lessons learned on how best to enable liminal situations in the design of interactive tabletops and TUIs for social interaction and particularly collaborative tangible music in public museum settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-270
Number of pages23
JournalInteracting with Computers
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • Collaboration
  • Field study
  • Interactive tabletops
  • Liminality
  • Public settings
  • Social interaction
  • Tangible music
  • Tangible user interfaces


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