Skip to main content

Third Wave HCI: Methods, Domains and Concepts

Article Category

Article available in the folowing languages:

Towards next-generation human-computer interaction

Computers pervade all aspects of daily life and culture, enabling people to experience and engage in the world in new ways. An EU initiative explored this interface between users and computers.

Digital Economy

The so-called third-wave human-computer interaction (HCI) is ushering in experience-oriented technologies across life and work. It recognises that people no longer use computers only or mainly to tackle problems or attain objectives. Computers must be understood as an integral part of private lives, values, histories and social circumstances. In this context, the EU-funded THIRDWAVEHCI (Third wave HCI: Methods, domains and concepts) project set out to advance third-wave HCI and demonstrate how it can address environmental and societal issues. Project partners developed five novel computational devices. A field trial was conducted involving the deployment of customised mobile devices. Short messages appear on the device screen every few seconds that supply facts about a surrounding area. Obtained from public and private datasets, topics range from National Health Service statistics to average house prices and the amount of nearby pubs. The THIRDWAVEHCI team manufactured over 100 prototypes and distributed them to participants in the Greater London area who used them for up to two months. It commissioned 60 short documentary films to record the general public's reactions and gather informal feedback from participants. Researchers also produced a suite of electromechanically extended sensors that supply resources for environmental home awareness. These 66 manufactured devices sense and display a home's ambient light, temperature and wind. They studied them for up to a year in 20 volunteer households. Energy-saving initiatives were carried out at a local street and a community to record household energy use via devices. Energy demand decreased thanks to daily monitoring. Another 28 prototype devices were built to engage community groups involved in local energy conservation and to highlight the way people talk about environmental issues. The devices were given to community volunteers. Overall, the devices have been seen by over a million people in major exhibitions worldwide. By introducing devices that render data more transparent and empowering, THIRDWAVEHCI makes a serious case for third-wave HCI.


Human-computer interaction, third-wave HCI, THIRDWAVEHCI, computational devices

Discover other articles in the same domain of application