Blended Interactions Studio

I founded the Blended Interactions Studio with funding support from New York Council on the Arts, Rochester Institute of Technology and VisitRochester. This studio funded 18 RIT students and represents a group of academic/professional practitioners, and international advisors, who specialize in ethnographic research, multi-media arts, product design, information architecture and software development for the research of mobile augmented reality technologies. We created mixed-reality software solutions for heritage locations. Our studio provided interactive mobile experience using geo-location, storytelling, augmented reality, game design and user-data collecting methods to experiment with, and understand the relationship between, the mobile device and the traveler before, during and after visits.


The Blended Interaction design studio is inspired by the close integration of physical and digital spaces in room environments and collaborative spaces [1, 2, 3]. The Information Sciences and Technologies Department RIT, created  seminar courses to research and teach user experience design in the blended interactions and digital tourism domains [4, 5]. Our goal is to design novel, location-based interactions, with special emphasis on context, location, history, and personalization of the UX before, during and after visits [6, 7]. Our research explores how we:

  1. implement novel augmentations to supplement educational components of digital storytelling,
  2. design interactions from geo-fences or location-based events for blended interactions, and
  3. create personalized souvenirs that represent the user’s unique visit.

STUDIO Projects

  1. School Children Designing Mobile UX
  2. Mobile Experiences for Tourism
  3. Evaluating Mobile UX for Tourism
  4. Performing Augmented Reality

[1]     Benyon, D. (2012) Presence in Blended Spaces. Interacting with Computers, 24, 4 (2012), 219-226.
[2]     Benyon, D., Mival, O., Ayan, S. (2012). Designing Blended Spaces. In Proc. BCHCI 2012. ACM Press (2012), 398-403.
[3]     Jetter, H-C, Geyer, F., Schwarz, T., Reiterer, H. Blended Interaction – Toward a Framework for the Design of Interactive Spaces In Proc. Designing Collaborative interactive Spaces. AVI Workshop, Capri, May.
[4]     O’Keefe, B., Benyon, D., Mival, O. Mobile Experiences for Tourism: Genesee Country Village Museum. In Extended Abstracts. CHI 2013 Blend13 Workshop. ACM Press (2013).
[5]     O’Keefe, B., Slutsky, B., Iuliucci, N., Nalbandian, A., Thanedar, A., Mokey, S., & Mival, O. Mobile Experiences for Tourism: Brick City Tours. Extended Abstracts, CHI 2013 Work-in-Progress. ACM Press (2013).
[6]     Uriely, N. The tourist experience: Conceptual Developments, Annals of Tourism Research, 32, 1 (2005), 199-216.
[7]     Quigley, A. From GUI to UUI: User Interfaces for Ubiquitous Computing, In Book Ubiquitous Computing Fundamentals: Chapman & Hall/CRC, 2009.

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