OCE Design Guidelines

Opportunistic Collective Experiences (OCEs) are social experiences powered by computer programs that create shared, interactional spaces from situations that arise out of happenstance as people go about their daily, physical environments. These spaces link seemingly independent, distributed contexts, and the unique properties of these spaces provide grounding for directly engaging in shared experiences or activities at a distance.

We believe social experience designers can use the OCE Design Guidelines to design specific situations and activities within these spaces that promote a sense of co-experiencing and social closeness. The guidelines steer interactions towards activating psychologically-motivated mechanisms about shared experiences and interdependent activities that promote these social connectedness outcomes.

As an example of an OCE that enacts the design guidelines, consider Half Half Photo, an OCE in which two friends are invited to take two halves of a single photo that connects their activities across their situations (see above photo, left). Half Half Photo effectively promotes shared experiences by leveraging the "shared attention to stimuli" and "embodied mimicry" social-psychology mechanisms. Specifically, users share similar situations that provide a shared context for interacting and afford similar actions across situations (e.g., rainy days with puddles to stomp in). This allows them to engage in similar embodied actions (e.g., stomping in a puddle) reflected at the boundary of the photo halves (e.g., both friends’ ``puddle feet’’ are mimicking each other side-by-side in the final photo), which serves as a visual reminder of their co-experiencing.

In contrast, consider the example on the right side of the above figure, that doesn’t use the design guidelines for promoting socially connecting shared experiences. Despite identifying a shared situation (e.g., rainy day) that provided a shared context for interacting, the OCE did not scaffold interactions around shared object affordances available in the situation (e.g., no instructions on what to attend to within the situation) or prompt people to engage in joint actions (e.g., no instructions beyond asking people to take a photo of their environment). Beyond telling participants they were sharing similar situations, the OCE participation results did not promote awareness of the shared aspects of their individual situations. Finally, participants’ contributed photos in this OCE are not part of a larger interdependent activity, such as building towards a shared digital artifact.



  • None

Ph.D. Students

  • Ryan Louie

Masters and Undergraduate Students

  • None