Theme – New York

For my bachelor project I built an interactive shop window with the theme “New York”. I choose this theme because I think its a challenging topic and I do have a direct comparison to the shopping window from Jelmoli.
My shop window will not be related to the one from Jelmoli and I do not get support, requirements or guidelines from Jelmoli.

One thing I wanted to achieve with this shop window is to bring New York closer to the person in front of it. To achieve this I will use different technologies. It is important to me that I will attract the user. When shoppers pass by they should stop and start playing with it. The setup should be very playful and therefore target a younger audience.

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Shopping windows needs a theme

During the research part I talked to Sasha Wohlgemuth from Jelmoli about shop windows. One important aspect, he told me, was that a shop window only has the reason to bring the people into the shop. To accomplish this difficult task, a shop window needs to display a message and a lifestyle. This theme of the shop window will also be used in the shop it self to make the connection between the shopping window and the shop. Emotions are very important. If the shop window can reach a persons attention, he or she is more likely to enter the shop.


Here is an example of the current Jelmoli theme: MY STYLE IS…. New York
Its a good example to show less information and products but still reach the shoppers attention.

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Context Inquiry (PDF)

Through the method of observing, interviewing and user centred gesture design I looked at gestures. What gestures could be used to interact with an application? What gesture would make sense when interacting with a digital system. What gesture are acceptable in public space? How would people use an interactive shop window and what gestures to interact with it? What would the user rate as acceptable in public space? How do people behave in front of shop window and what are the key attractor that pedestrians stop and look at shop windows? What is important for shop window designers?


Through observing and interviewing different professionals and pedestrians I tried to find out what is important for them and what they expect from a shop window.



Trough the methodology of observing shoppers and their behaviour in front of shopping windows as well as trying different gestures in public space I gained a deeper aknowledge of my desired user group.

Knowing that some gestures in public space are not acceptable is important when designing gestural interaction. Most gestures we can use for interactive shopping windows need to be easy to learn as the person who will use such a system doesn‘t want to learn it first.

It‘s important, that a shopping window uses a catching entry point. The more unique a shopping window is, the more people will look at it closer.

Having the possibility for users to look at the object in a more detailed way will increase the possibility that the user will buy something. Offering a order or buy option in the shopping window can make it possible to sell products even when the shop is closed.

What gesture can be performed in public

I created a three color rating system to analyse a small set of gestures. Answering questions like: what hand or finger position would people use or how much would they move their bodies in a public place, resulted in a rating from green to red for each gesture.

Green: Totally acceptable and fine to use and perform in public space

Orange: OK, but it depends on the situation. Mostly only OK if an interactive system gets controlled with it.

Red: Not OK. People do not like to perform it because its offensive or makes them look silly

One Foot
Performed wile walking, playing, dancing
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Acceptable Gestures in Public Space

Using gestures to control a digital system in public can be very uncomfortable for many people. Especially if the gestures involve huge movements. Because gestures mean different things depending on the situation or location a person is in, I want to only focus on gestures for users in front of the shop window.

To see what gestures are acceptable in a public space, I let a person perform certain gestures in front of a shop window in a busy street. I wanted to know what action were fine for her and what she thought were not acceptable gestures for a public space. In the test there was no interactive system that actually reacted to her gestures. However the test focused on the defining the users comfort level with body movements in public spaces. From my observations I created the theory that users are more likely to use the system in the public space if they have a certain comfort level while moving around. My thought is also that acting in front of a system that delivers actual feedback would rise the comfort level tremendously.

Many shop window reflect the sunlight. Its a common gesture for window shopper to raise the hand to the forhead and go very close to the window to see more of its content.
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Shopping Sequence

In my research I looked at peoples shopping behaviour. As a use case I used a book store. I was investigating how shoppers behave and how much time they spend on certain taks in a shop. To do this I followed a person and stopped the time on how long each task takes. This is not a representive statistic as only one person was observed.

Behaviour of People in Front of Shopping Windows

How do people behave in front of a shop‘s window? How do people stand there and what are they actually doing? And is it possible for us to distinguish a window shopper without interest to buy something from one that we might be able to entice to do so?

served and photographed pedestrians walking through the shopping street. Many people of different ages were walking along the windows. Some very slow, others very busy. A small number of stops at certain windows to look at them. While the shoppers looked at the window, they were only focusing on it. They didn’t move when other people passed them. Usually they stood still or pointed at certain objects if somebody was with them. Also if a shop offered outside display items people would often take it in their hands. It also seemed that this may have engaged them to enter the store.

One important part for the attraction of a shop‘s window is it‘s location. At places where people wait, many look closely in the windows. Such places are next to a tram station or next to a pedestrian crossing. More remote shops get less attraction.

Some people just stand in front of the shop window without moving.
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Research Shopping Windows

Since the 19th century when shop windows became popular window shopping evolved into a common phenomena in our culture. It is inexpensive, engaging and enjoyable. Window shopper walk from window to window in a shopping district or shopping-mall to pass time, get inspired, compare products, etc. Not always is the window shopper actually interested in buying something. However the shop owner has a big interest in captivating the customer and engage them to spend money in his store.

The latest trend in shop window design is interaction. Technologies such as touch screens or camera tracked movements with projections are used to engage shoppers to stop at the window. Future trends will lead to window shopping with an actual purchase.
Here are a few examples of interactive shop windows:
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Daily Gestures to Controll Applications

Our gesture lexicon has many different gestures for different situations. Some of these gestures are the same all over the world, some are totally different depending on the cultural background of the user.

In a few example I want to show different gestures and what they mean for our culture here in Switzerland. These examples are all gestures that could be used to control an application.

Gesture: YES

If someone shakes the head up and down it means that this person agrees to something.
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