Caring About Sharing: Couples’ Practices in Single User Device Access

Maia Jacobs, Henriette Cramer, Louise Barkhuus

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Most devices today are developed adhering to a one-user paradigm. Yet within households, couples are often sharing devices and accounts. In this paper we take an in-depth look at sharing practices and preferences of cohabiting couples, and discuss the nuances of existing practices surrounding accounts and devices. We present a qualitative interview and diary study with ten couples, consisting of 20 individual interviews, and individual 8-day diaries. Dichotomous access models do not reflect the sharing practices of our couples; in which intent, access, and utilization all characterized sharing behaviors. We present a detailed description of the intentional and unintentional sharing practices our participants used in their day to day interactions and discuss the different challenges that particularly one type of content pose in terms of issues of privacy. We discuss implications for accounts and devices based on the ways in which content was shared and hidden among collocated couples. We provide a structured account of these sharing practices to inform the design of multi-user settings within future technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGROUP '16 Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Supporting Group Work
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication dateNov 2016
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-4276-6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • - Device Sharing
  • - Cohabiting Couples
  • - Account Usage
  • - Privacy Challenges
  • - Qualitative Study


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