top of page

When People Vanish:
A Study to Investigate How Human Presence Changes the Scenario Speculation

object selection.jpg

Designers have used everyday photos as stimuli to speculate alternative scenarios about the future. Many studies have developed diverse ways of re-designing roles of an actor to stimulate scenario speculation; however, a lack of understanding of how the presence of an actor influences the scenario speculation process. Therefore, this work conducted a study that investigates how everyday photos with and without human actors affect people to speculate possible scenarios. We recruited 29 crowd workers from Amazon Mechanical Turk to generate 80 scenarios for two groups of photos (i.e., with-actor and non-actor photos). We analysed these scenarios and found that with-actor photos led people to speculate consistent scenarios around human actors and their activities. By contrast, non-actor photos allowed people to speculate the scenarios flexibly and diversely. These insights suggest a new design opportunity of using non-actor photos as potential materials to encourage people to generate diverse scenarios.


  • Crowdsourcing

  • Thematic Analysis

Results & Contribution: 

  • Identify non-actor and with-actor visual prompts can be two different stimulas during creative design tasks. 

  • [to be updated]

Collaborators & Acknowledgement: 

Rung-Huei Liang (supervisor), Lin-Lin Chen (supervisor), Yi-Ching (Janet) Huang (researcher), Jane Yung-Jen Hsu (researcher).  


Yu-Ting Cheng and Janet Yi-Ching Huang. 2021. When People Vanish: A Study to Investigate How Human Presence Changes the Scenario Speculation. In Companion Publication of the 2021 Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW '21). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 27–31.


The following presents a brief introduction and research photos of the project. More details can be seen in my publication or contact me for further information.

bottom of page