Tangible Video Analysis

In this research we investigate how we can utilise tangible objects to analyse field study videos of how people use technologies. Methods of ‘tangible video analysis’ are especially useful for designers, as they provide an easy way into employing video to understand interaction with technology, and to experiment with new design ideas.

From overview to detail

To turn video into ‘design material’ has been a research effort over many years, ever since we invented the Video Card Game (2000) and later the Video Action Wall (2004). Where we initially strived to create overviews of large amounts of video in a grounded theory fashion, these past two years we have been inspired by our interaction analysis colleagues to go into detail with shorter video sequences.

Tangible transcripts

Where interaction analysis (of conversations) typically bank on detailed transcripts of what happens in the video, we experiment with various objects to create a bodily engagement with the material. Our work builds on Jordan and Henderson’s seminal paper on Interaction Analysis Labs (1995) and their list of foci for analysis – such as how people participate and take turns, how people organise their activities in time, how they occupy space, etc.

Crown forklift trucks

We collaborate with the Design Research Group at Crown Equipment Corporation to develop and validate these methods. Crown is a US manufacturer of forklift trucks used in warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and outdoors. And as truck operators seldom talk to their machines, traditional conversation analysis methods fall short here! In 2013 we engaged the cohort of IT Product Design students in a course on Tangible_Video_Analysis.


Jacob Buur (E-Mail)

Agnese Caglio (E-Mail)

Buur, J and Caglio, A. (forthcoming). Toy Truck Analysis of Spatial Organisation. Proceedings of Participatory Innovation Conference PIN-C 2015, The Hague, Netherlands

Buur, J; Caglio, A. and Jensen, L.C. (2014). Human Actions Made Tangible: Analysing the Temporal Organisation of Activities. Proceedings of Designing Interactive Systems DIS 2014, Vancouver, Canada

Buur, J., Beuthel, M. and Caglio, A. (2013) ‘Designerly’ Analysis of Participation Structures. Nordic Design Research Conference, Copenhagen-Malmö

Buur, J; Jensen, MV; Djajadiningrat, T: Hands-Only Scenarios and Video Action Walls – novel methods for tangible user interaction design. Designing Interactive Systems, DIS 2004, Boston

Buur, J. & Soendergaard, A. 2000. Video card game: An augmented environment for User Centred Design discussions. DARE 2000, Proceedings of Designing Augmented Reality Systems, New York: ACM, pp. 63-9.

Buur, J., Binder, T. & Brandt, E. 2000. Taking video beyond ‘hard data’ in user centred design. Proceedings of Participatory Design Conference (PDC ’00), New York, USA.

Jordan, B. and Henderson, A. (1995) Interaction Analysis: Foundations and Practice. Journal of the Learning Sciences, vol. 4, No. 1, 39-103.