The Playful Potential of Digital Commensality: Learning from Spontaneous Playful Remote Dining Practices

Khawla Alhasan*, Eleonora Ceccaldi, Alexandra Covaci, Maurizio Mancini, Ferran Altarriba Bertran, G. Huisman, M. Lemke, Chee Siang Ang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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With one-person households being increasingly common and Covid-19 lockdown policies forcing people to stay home, remote dining has become common practice for many, who take it as an opportunity to connect with others in times of loneliness. Sharing meals online, also known as digital commensality, is a rich form of interaction, where people leverage technology to achieve a sense of connectedness and belonging while eating. In this paper, we look at digital commensality and we explore its inherent playful potential with the aim to inspire the design of engaging technologies that can support, enhance and augment this form of interaction. For this, we used a situated play design approach to document and analyze the behavior of 36 people (including pairs of friends and strangers) sharing meals online. Our analysis surfaced a set of play potentials of remote dining - i.e., playful things people already do and enjoy spontaneously while sharing meals online. We present those play potentials as inspirational material: they can motivate and enrich the design of future digital commensality technologies by responding to people's desire for playful and social interaction with, through, and around food.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Subtitle of host publicationCHI PLAY
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - New Orleans, New Orleans, United States
Duration: 30 Apr 20225 May 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)


ConferenceACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Abbreviated titleCHI
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Human Food Interaction
  • Playfulness
  • Commensality
  • HFI
  • Computer Mediated Communication
  • Games/Play
  • Empirical study
  • Interaction Design
  • Digital Commensality
  • Augmented Reality


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