Combining Configurable Interaction Anticipation Challenges and Volitional Aspects in the Analysis of Digital Posthumous Communication Systems

Fabrício Horácio Sales Pereira, Raquel Oliveira Prates, Cristiano Maciel, Vinícius Carvalho Pereira


Digital posthumous communication systems are those that allow users to create messages that will only be sent to the intended recipients after their deaths. In these systems users have to express their wishes through configuration settings which will only take effect in the future, when the user is no longer available. In this paper, we propose a methodology that allows us to analyze posthumous communication systems and focuses on users’ decisions and how users can understand their future impact at the moment when they are making such decisions. To do so, we have combined the Semiotic Inspection Method (SIM) with the Configuration for Interaction Anticipation Challenges and recommendations on volitional aspects in digital legacy systems. Such analytical lenses were used to inspect three digital posthumous communication systems: If I Die, Se Eu Morrer Primeiro and Dead Man's Switch. The result of our analysis is a thorough account of the decisions designers have made available to users, as well as how they convey what the impact of these decisions will be when they come into effect. Our discussion of these systems and of the challenges identified contributes to the research and development of digital legacy systems in general. The methodology described is a relevant contribution to research on digital legacy and on digital posthumous communication, and also supports the consolidation of the challenges and recommendations used in this analysis.


Digital Legacy; Interaction Anticipation; Configuration Settings; Volitional Aspects; Semiotic Inspection Method

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