Public space systems: designing for privacy?

Linda Little*, Pam Briggs, Lynne Coventry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Technological systems for use in public places need to be designed so people can use them efficiently, effectively, safely and with satisfaction. A component factor in satisfaction is perceived privacy. Current guidelines aimed at improving accessibility may impact users perceptions of privacy. The aim of this study was to explore whether different screen sizes affect users' perceptions of privacy. Also, if partitioning around screens influences privacy perceptions. An opportunity sample of 60 participants took part in the study. The results that revealed 12″ screens were perceived as more private by users than 15 and 17″ screens. Adding privacy partitions improved user's perceptions of privacy on the 12 and 15″ screens but not on the 17″. These findings provide evidence that slight changes in the physical design of systems can increase users' perceived levels of privacy and therefore satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-268
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Human Computer Studies
Issue number1-2
Early online date31 May 2005
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Privacy
  • Technology use
  • Screen size
  • Public systems
  • Personal space
  • Accessibility


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