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Presence in blended spaces

Benyon, David


David Benyon


Mixed reality technologies have been around for over ten years but it is only with the proliferation of smart phones and tablet (computers) that mixed and augmented reality interaction is reaching the mass market. There are now enough examples of mixed reality interactions that we can begin to abstract principles of design and principles of user experience (UX) for these new spaces of interaction. In this paper I develop the notion of mixed reality as a blendedspace. Mixed reality is a blend of a physical space and a digital space. The term ‘blend’ here is borrowed from blending theory which is a theory of cognition that highlights the importance of cross domain mappings and conceptual integration to our thought process that are grounded in physically-based spatial schemas. The concept of a blendedspace is developed by recognizing that physical space and digital space can both be described in terms of the objects and agents who inhabit the space, the structure of the objects’ relationships (the topology of the space) and the changes that take place in the space (the volatility, or dynamics of the space). The blendedspace will be more effective if the physical and digital spaces have some recognizable and understandable correspondences. The issue of presence in this blendedspace is then discussed and it is suggested that traditional definitions of presence are inadequate to describe the experiences that blendedspaces offer. Presence is considered as interaction between the self and the content of the medium within which the self exists, and place is this medium. Blendedspaces mean that people have an extended presence; from their physical location into digital worlds.


Benyon, D. (2012). Presence in blended spaces. Interacting with Computers, 24, 219-226.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2012-07
Deposit Date May 29, 2012
Publicly Available Date May 16, 2017
Print ISSN 0953-5438
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Pages 219-226
Keywords Presence; User Experience; Interaction; Blending Theory;
Blended Spaces;
Public URL
Publisher URL


Presence in blended spaces (226 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in Interacting with Computers following peer review. The version of record David Benyon, Presence in blended spaces, Interacting with Computers, Volume 24, Issue 4, 2012, Pages 219-226, ISSN 0953-5438,
is available online at: (

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