Social Interaction Design in Cultural Context: A Case Study of a Traditional Social Activity
Ko-Hsun Huang, Yi-Shin Deng


With the growth and development of information and communication technology, relationships, communities and cultures have been dramatically affected, especially as a result of the increasing accessibility and speed of communication platforms. However, as people incorporate these emerging technologies into their social interactions, there results a tendency to lose touch with social nuances, cultural values, and the characteristics of traditional society. In this study, it is argued that social activities are inherently embodied in a cultural context. Therefore, a field study of tea drinking, as a traditional social activity in Taiwan, is presented with the purpose of revealing the abundant cultural features of this activity. Because these features merge with and influence people's social lives, developing a deeper understanding of this relationship could serve to enrich computer-mediated communication or interaction designs in the future. In this study, multiple user experience research methods are applied in exploring Taiwan's tea drinking customs, and, based on the findings, an enhanced cultural model is proposed to show the cultural significance of this activity. In addition, several design implications for software related to social interaction and cultural inheritance are offered. It is concluded that the cultural characteristics of a society should be a key issue in developing interaction designs.

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