Publication: DJ's Perspectives on Interaction and Awareness in Nightclubs

Several researchers have recently proposed technology for crowd-and-DJ interactions in nightclub environments. However, these attempts have not always met with success. In order to design better technologies and systems in this area, it is important to start with an understanding of how nightclub interaction currently happens. To build this understanding, we carried out an interview study focusing on DJ-audience interactions. We interviewed eleven DJs from several different cities, and asked them to discuss the ways that they interact with the audience, and the ways that they maintain and use awareness of the audience. We found that DJs gather a wide variety of information about their audiences, and that this information is important to them as they plan and shape the evening's musical experience. DJs are adept at gathering visual information about the audience, despite poor lighting conditions and a heavy workload of selecting and mixing music. Despite the difficulties, DJs took a dim view of technology designed to let crowds exert more control over the music. This study is one of the first to look closely at the interactive relationship between the DJ and the nightclub audience through the lens of HCI, and our findings provide a number of guidelines for the design of new DJ-focused nightclub technologies.




Carrie Gates Sriram Subramanian
University of Bristol
Carl Gutwin
University of Saskatchewan


Gates, C., Subramanian, S., Gutwin, C. 2006. DJ's Perspectives on Interaction and Awareness in Nightclubs. In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS'06), 70-79.


@inproceedings {44-djs-perspectives-on-interaction,
author= {Carrie Gates and Sriram Subramanian and Carl Gutwin},
title= {DJ's Perspectives on Interaction and Awareness in Nightclubs},
booktitle= {Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS'06)},
year= {2006},
pages= {70-79}