The book Face-To-Face Communication Over the Internet by Kappas and Kramer provides a few concepts of relevance to anyone who designs products, systems or services which involve interpersonal communications at a distance. Some design-relevant highlights include:
Chapter 5 suggests that various aspects of person-to-person communication such as involvement, presence and emotional engagement can be progressively degraded by increasing time delay (time lag) in the video/audio communication channels.
Chapter 6 suggests that adding higher fidelity channels of communication such as video can decrease the quality of communication in the case of socially anxious individuals. Possibly for the majority of people, some abstraction in the communication channel can be beneficial towards communication effectiveness and emotional appropriateness.
Chapter 7 which defines the concept of “presence” describes how communication of emotion is often more determined by the time invested in building up the social relationship with the individual over the internet rather than by the number or fidelity of the communication channels.
Chapter 10 describes conceptual approaches such as the “Bielefeld Model of Communication” and the “body posture models of non-verbal communication” which can prove of relevance to many designers.