LAIX-score : a design framework for live audience interaction management systems

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Volume Title
School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Doctoral thesis (monograph) | Defence date: 2017-05-18
Degree programme
Aalto University publication series DOCTORAL DISSERTATIONS, 61/2017
This study focuses on computer-supported live audience interaction. In conventional lectures audience interacts explicitly with the performer for example by waving hand and asking question directly or clapping hands. For decades, non digital audience response systems have enabled simple multiple option audience interaction patterns. Modern mobile personal computing devices, digital projectors, wireless networks and real time software platforms enable creation of new kinds of interaction patterns that can significantly increase the amount of audience interaction during events. Audience interaction can make events for example more engaging and productive. This research presents a design framework for computer-supported live audience interaction called the LAIX-score. LAIX stands for Live Audience Interac(X)tion and the “score” refers to the musical notation language. Musical notation has been an inspiration for the development of the framework and illustrates how LAIX-score is intended as generic and practical framework for coordinating live audience interaction similarly as musical notation is generic and practical framework for coordinating musical performances. However, while musical notation is important inspiration, it is not the core reference for the LAIX-score. LAIX-score core references are the live audio mixing and live light control frameworks, which are technologyenabled frameworks for supporting and producing live performances. The LAIX-score framework is composed of five core elements: Interaction activities, interface channels, state control matrix, temporal management of interactions and participant’s identity management. These five core elements compose a concrete and comprehensive framework that can be directly applied in the design of live audience interaction management system and in the development of live audience interaction production practices. The research is a constructive and practice-led in the wild research (Chapter 2) that borrows aspects from design research, artistic research and human-computer interaction research. The LAIX-score framework is based on three core requirements identified during a five years of practice-led domain exploration (Chapter 3). (Requirement 1) Live audience interaction must support different kinds of interaction patterns. Hence, the framework should acknowledge that live audience interaction is more than questions and answers (Q&A) and poll type interaction patterns. (Requirement 2) Live audience interaction must support different roles. Hence, the role configuration in live audience interaction can include several different performer, audience and orchestrator roles. (Requirement 3) Live audience interaction framework must also support different kinds and parallel functions live audience interaction function. Hence, in the same event production live audience interaction may be used for example for audience activation, workshop facilitation, participatory decision making and catalyzing social networking, and these functions may take place concurrently. None of the existing live audience interaction systems satisfy all of the core requirements. This is explained in more detail in Section 4.2. Lack of adequate designs that meets the above mentioned criterias justifies the development of a new design framework. The LAIX-score (Chapter 5) follows a two dimensional matrix type control framework, which is called state control matrix. Also the core references, live audio mixing and live light control (Sections 4.3 –4.5), have similar control framework. Rows in the state control matrix are called as interaction activities. Columns in the state control matrix are interface channels, which is the system equivalent for supporting different roles and user interfaces (requirement 2). The matrix is used for visibility control of the interaction activities. The visibility of interaction activities can be manipulated independently in each interface channel. The matrix form satisfies the three core requirements. The first requirement is satisfied since the matrix format is agnostic to what kind of interactions are controlled in the system. The second requirement is satisfied since the matrix format allows introduction of new roles and there is fundamentally no fixed number for rows. The third requirement is satisfied since multiple interaction activities can be active in any channel and each interaction activity state can be controlled independently. The core framework is implemented as a functional live audience interaction management system called Presemo (version 4) (Chapter 6). The evaluation of the design of Presemo reveals more detailed fivetier structure for the control of interaction activities . The interaction activity control levels in LAIX-score design framework are (1.) creation and deletion, (2.) state control matrix, (3.) interaction pattern specific control, (4.) content management and (5.) presentation management. Presemo is limited implementation of the framework since the basic version supports only four interface channels. Presemo is a commercial level system and it has been utilized in thousands of live audience interaction situations and we have used it to produce more than 100 live audience interaction productions. The research investigates four case studies in more detail (Chapter 7). These four case studies are produced in different environments and this way demonstrate the generic qualities of Presemo and the LAIX-score design framework. One of the case study production focuses on professional event productions, another in application of Presemo in University context, third one focuses on use of live audience interaction in large scale computer-supported workshops and fourth one presents use of live audience interaction techniques in a pervasive adventure designed for K 12 students. The case studies validate the three core requirements and identifies 11 new additional requirements for the LAIX-score matrix. The case studies also reveal a more detailed interface channel structure. The revised LAIX-score design framework divides interface channels in three groups: organizer channels, audience channels and screen channels. Organizer channels combines performer and orchestrator roles, since these are roles that have some kind of control over interaction activities. Audience interface channels can be divided in groups. Screen channels are public channels whereas organizer and audience channels are personal channels. The 11 new requirements are further elaborated as two new core elements of the LAIX-score framework (Chapter 8): temporal management and identity management. Temporal management is divided in three parts; the functional cue list realizes the future temporal management, state control matrix realizes the real time management, and the production log realizes the management of past events. Identity management core element can be visualized as a table that lists all identities on one axis and different identity parameters on another axis. The study has identified six different types of identity attribute categories: identifiers, group membership, access rights, privacy settings, other identity and profile parameters and score attributes used for gamification. Identity attributes and privacy settings are used to manage identity parameters in order to achieve privacy and anonymity, which are important characteristics for most live audience interaction productions. Case studies have shown also that gamification is an important feature for live audience interaction. The core objective of the research is to create a framework for live audience interaction that could be generic and practical. As uch, the study is directly relevant extensive case reference of a live audience interaction system researchers and live audience interaction producers. The framework is adequately described so that any developer can utilize it in their own live audience interaction system designs. Methodologically the research has some areas of improvements mainly due to challenges in organizing data collection in demanding production environments (Section 9.3). These problems are common for in the wild research. The strengths of this research are extensive coverage of the live audience interaction domain and concrete validation of the framework as a production level implemented software system. While we have been developing the LAIX-score framework we have also identified several other research topics for live audience interaction (explained in Section 10.3) that are beyond the scope of the LAIX-score framework. There are for example several issues related to human and organizational factors of live audience interaction that are not covered in the LAIX-score framework, which is designed for the development of the computer system and production practices. These other research topics demonstrate how live audience interaction domain is still emerging domain with many interesting research possibilities. During the study, we have been involved in commercial development of live audience interaction. The business and marketing development (Section 10.4) will most probably be the driving force for the development of new interaction patterns, live audience interaction production formats, professional practices and generally new applications for live audience interaction. The further business and marketing development will define how organizations can adopt live audience interaction techniques and integrate them in to their communication and participation processes. The study proposes that standards organization would start defining protocols for live audience interaction. Details of wider adoption will ultimately define what kind of further research is relevant and feasible in the live audience interaction domain. The five core elements of the LAIX-score are integrated to each other and together they compose a comprehensive framework that can be used as design guideline for generic live audience interaction system (LAIMS). A LAIMS that is based on LAIX-score can host modularly different kinds of interaction patterns (Section 10.2). Modular approach can be also called s interaction agnostic approach. The modular approach may have several implications: modular approach makes development of new interaction patterns easier, support event productions that host different live audience interaction approaches, support sustainable system evolution and establishment of management practices for live audience interaction productions.
Supervising professor
Helke, Susanna, Prof., Aalto University, Department of Film, Television and Scenography, Finland
live audience interaction production, live audience interaction control, LAIX score, Presemo
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