Linda Kraft

Human Magic

Bringing the essence of human connections to remote collaboration.

What makes collaborative work so strong and feel so good that it's so hard to replicate remotely? It's the human factor. Through a rapid, intensive exploratory process with our clients, we were able to gather insights about users and invite them to create a new term, with a new purpose and a new way of thinking about remote collaborative work. We coined this term "human magic", which describes what is missing in remote collaboration and what would usually connect us when we work together in a shared physical space. We felt this magic when collaborating within our team, but also our interviewees described this 'thing' that they felt when heads get aligned and this feeling of connection, passion and joy starts to emerge.

After we built this framework around human magic, we were able to project our vision on the current remote work setup and started reimagining audio-video interactions during collaborative meetings. We suggested reimagining how work should be done. We envision collaboration to become much more of an immersive experience. Shifting our focus from efficiency and productivity, to well-being, joy and using our senses. Away from the single stream of audio and back to real communication.

Team: Ruoyun Wang, Romy Koppert, Alex Widua

Context: Student project in 2020

We explored how our senses and bodily capabilities are limited by current online communication and experimented with small things like reorienting the frame and view to allow us to show each other our body language, desk and notes.

The placement of the camera plays a huge role in how we perceive people during remote work.

Different camera placements allowed us to actually look people in the eye again and come a bit closer to this concept of real human interactions.

Then we explored splitting up the direction of audio and video of multiple participants to allow us to have more face-to-face interactions. We were impressed by how well this little experiment had already worked.

We imagine that actual eye contact should become the new norm in online communication. Eye contact can create intimacy and trust which is a base for a natural conversation.

When we express ourselves, our body language follows. The frame we are locked in should not cut off your body language.

We are removing the filter that prevented intimacy and making conversations and interactions more realistic. We should be able to come physically closer together in conversations.

We envision that we can bring back the value of the direction of input and output collaboration. Separating audio by using spatial audio sources will allow us to make sense of the conversation, the way it naturally happens.

We reimagine remote collaboration so that our communication can flow again, our human magic can flow again.

Colophon – Linda Kraft © 2022