Jofish Kaye

Senior Research Scientist & Ethnographer, Nokia

Jofish Kaye

Over half of the grandparents in North America live over 200 miles from their grandchildren, but today's communication tools fail for the young and old. In this talk Jofish Kaye discusses a large-scale qualitative study of families in the San Francisco Bay Area, and talks about the implications of that study for video-based communication in the future. In particular he describes Family Story Play and StoryVisit developed in conjunction with Sesame Workshop designed for children ages 3-5 and their adult loved ones. His results show that connected reading can dramatically improve distant family members' sense of family togetherness, and suggest some interesting directions for future work around technology, video-chat, and love.

Family rituals, such as reading stories to children at bedtime are a common means of establishing and maintaining communications between generations. Technology that incorporates video with audio channels coupled with stories and child-centered icons can establish, improve and help maintain relations across multiple generations. The telephone, alone, isn't as effective.  A combination of these elements produced dialog between three to five-year-olds that lasted eight to ten minutes compared with two to three minutes of simple talks by telephone. New family rituals established with these methods help a culture maintain its cohesiveness despite the diasporic nature of family.


Jofish Kaye joined Stanford Design School as Consulting Assistant Professor after two years of coaching Liberation Technology and one of coaching Cross-Cultural Design. He is a Senior Research Scientist & Ethnographer at Nokia Research Labs North America, where he studies how people and technologies work together. He brings with him a PhD in Information Science from Cornell University where he studied the evaluation of technologies in human-computer interaction, with particular emphasis on hard-to-measure topics including intimacy, love, and horoscopes. He also has a Masters degree from the MIT Media Lab for his work on computerized smell output and smart kitchens, and a BS, also from MIT, in Brain & Cognitive Science, which he mainly acquired by taking design classes all over the Institute.


This free podcast is from our Emerging Communications series.

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  • Series producer: Sathyaish Chakravarthy

Photo: Stanford Design School