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An Exploratory Survey of Video Chat Usage During Major Life Events

Michael Massimi and Carman Neustaedter


Video chat programs for home and personal use (e.g., Skype) are becoming increasingly popular for doing more than simply conversing with a remote friend or family member. This creates a need to understand the broader use of video chat that moves “beyond talking heads.” In this paper, we investigate one emergent scenario: major life events where video chat is used to connect remote participants to a ritual gathering (e.g., a wedding, a funeral). To explore this scenario, we conducted an online survey with 87 people who reported on their usage of video chat for viewing or sharing major life events. Our results show that major life events, as an example of a burgeoning set of video chat scenarios, bring unique socio-technical contexts and challenges. We find differences between local and remote group sizes, environments, atmosphere, and emotionality. We discuss these situations and suggest design opportunities for improving the design of video chat to better support shared experiences of major life events.


Publication typeInproceedings
Published inProc. DIS 2014
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