The Book

Interacting with Presence: HCI and the sense of presence in computer-mediated environments

Giuseppe Riva, John Waterworth, Dianne Murray

Our experience of using and interacting with the newest computer information technologies is profoundly affected by the extent to which we feel ourselves to be really ‘present’ in the computer-mediated world that the technology makes available to us. This feeling, which is described as 'Presence’, is the “feeling of being inside the mediated world”. It is a crucial and increasingly necessary element in both design and usage of many recent and developing interactive technologies. In the same way that ‘feeling present’, or consciously ‘being there’, in the physical world around us is based upon perception, physical action and activity in that world, so the feeling of presence in a technologically-mediated environment is a function of the possibilities for interaction. Unlike the physical world, the extent to which presence is experienced in an interactive context can be manipulated by design. For example, by linking the display of appropriate information directly to movements of the body of the interacting person, the illusion of flying, or swimming underwater, or walking in a wide variety or seemingly-real places – all actually generated by the technology.

Interacting with Presence provides an introduction and overview of the increasingly important topic of mediated presence or tele-presence – which is the compelling illusion of being physically located in a computer-generated or augmented world. This timely edited volume presents a range of theoretic perspectives and empirical evidence casting new light on understanding and designing for presence in interaction. Because of its experiential impact on the user, presence is emerging as a key concept for understanding and predicting developments in diverse areas such as interactive entertainment, gaming, psychotherapy, education, scientific visualization, sports training and rehabilitation, and many more.