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Designing Hybrid Gifts

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Dunford Chair in Computer Science

Hyosun Kwon


William Preston

Matt Adams

Ju Row Farr

Nick Tandavanitj

Alice Angus

Giles Lane


Hybrid gifting combines physical artefacts and experiences with digital interactivity to generate new kinds of gifts. Our review details how gifting is a complex social phenomenon and how digital gifting is less engaging than physical gifting for both givers and receivers. Employing a Research Through Design approach, we developed a portfolio of four hybrid gifting experiences: an augmented advent calendar; edible music tracks; personalized museum tours; and a narrated city walk. Our reflection addresses three concepts: hybrid wrapping where physical gifts become wrapped in digital media and vice versa; the importance of effortful interactions that are visible and pleasurable; and the need to consider social obligation, including opportunities for acknowledgement and reciprocation, dealing with embarrassment, and recognizing the distinction between giving and sharing. Our concepts provide guidance to practitioners who wish to design future gifting experiences while helping HCI researchers engage with the concept of gifting in a nuanced way.


Koleva, B., Spence, J., Benford, S., Kwon, H., Schnädelbach, H., Thorn, E., …Lane, G. (2020). Designing Hybrid Gifts. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 27(5), 1–33.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 2, 2020
Online Publication Date Aug 3, 2020
Publication Date Aug 3, 2020
Deposit Date Jul 10, 2020
Publicly Available Date Aug 3, 2020
Journal ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction
Electronic ISSN 1557-7325
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 27
Issue 5
Article Number 37
Pages 1–33
Keywords Human-Computer Interaction, Gifting, Gift, Digital Gifting, Hybrid, Social Computing, Augmented Reality, Locative Media Audio, Tangible and Embedded Interaction, User Experience Design, Trajectories, Obligation, Embarrassment, Research Through Design
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