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Mobile Community Design
Research and design information for mobile community developers.

Monday, May 31, 2004

Avatars for SMS

This paper presents a few ideas concerning use of avatars on mobile devices. A serious question is whether the information depicted by the avatar is important enough to justify taking up significant screen space from the message itself. Emoticons have probably been so successful in part because they are compact.

Expressive Messaging on Mobile Platforms, 2001, 2 pg.
Jussi Karlgren, Panu Korhonen, Janet Galore, Mark Tierney, Chad Redmon,
Juha Hemánus, Peter Lönnqvist, Jarmo Laaksolahti1
[Full-text pdf]

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Mobile HCI 2004

Deadline extended to 7 June 2004:
Call for Participation: Mobile HCI 2004

Site: http://www.handheldusability.com/mobilehci2004

Design for Convergent Media is a full day Workshop for the Mobile HCI
2004 conference in Glasgow, Scotland. The workshop will be held on 13
September 2004.

The workshop intends to explore and analyse crucial issues in the design
of the interaction in scenarios of ubiquitous communication. Mobile
telephone handsets, still and video cameras, music play, walkie talkie
features, and television programming will all be considered.

Theme and Interest of Topic
The recent developments in communication technologies (3G, iTV,
broadband, etc) will strongly enhance and extend communication
possibilities in ubiquitous contexts. In this sense, convergent media is
becoming one of the main relevant HCI issues. Therefore, new design
approaches, HF (Human Factors) studies, behavioural theories and
evaluation techniques must arise in order to be able to design
interactive mobile products that provide the user with a positive

Development of a HF research agenda for this specific issue, to identify
and extend the research community in this topic. Moreover, to sensitise
designers to the unique interaction design issues for convergent
communication scenarios (learning models, interface evaluation, etc.).

Duration and Organization
The workshop is designed for one full day of activity with relevant
theoretical discussion, ending with a poster design session. After the
presentations and discussion, participants will be invited to choose a
format of interactive service for ubiquitous contexts and hypothesise a
suitable scenario of use that will enhance users' interactive experience
with several devices. Each team will be asked to summarize its findings
with a poster presentation.

Agenda and Schedule
The workshops will run from 9am until 5pm on Monday 13th September (the
only workshop day).
Duration Activity
1:30 Introductions & Paper presentations
0:30 Project discussion & break into groups
1:00 Participatory design and paper prototyping
1:00 User testing and redesign
1:00 Group presentations
1:00 Documentation and Poster preparation
1:00 Poster presentations and group discussion

Expected Outcomes
This workshop will evaluate the evolution of HCI for convergent media
and discuss new challenges for the industry in this field. Posters will
summarize findings from groups’ works. Results of the Workshop will also
be made available on the Workshop’s Web site.

Authors’ Names, Affiliations and Backgrounds
Full bios are on http://www.handheldusability.com/mobilehci2004

Dr. Anxo Cereijo Roibás
Senior lecturer, School of Computing & Mathematical Sciences
University of Brighton. Professor of Interaction Design and Multimedia
Faculty of Design, Politecnico di Milano University

Scott Weiss
Principal, Usable Products Company
Chair, Usability SIG of the New York Software Industry Association
Author, “Handheld Usability” (Wiley: 2002)

Deadline for submissions: 7 June 2004
Site: http://www.handheldusability.com/mobilehci2004

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Wearable sensors for avalanche victims

This paper addresses the need for wearable sensing technologies for locating victims of avalanches. They look at the effectiveness of various wireless technologies and the importance of various kinds of information. There is a lack of understanding of first-person perspective of the victim, as well as usability evaluations by rescuers. There is also questions about what technologies are socially and physically appropriate for wearing during a fun sporting activity. The sensing technologies could be useful for other wearable applications or to facilitate knowledge between other types of groups. It's commendable that the device is being designed to withstand harsh conditions as many mobile are less than reliable when something unfortunate happens.

Applying wearable sensors to avalanche rescue, 2003, 9 pgs
Florian Michahellesa, Peter Mattera, Albrecht Schmidt, Bernt Schielea
[Full-text pdf]

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Mobile space, time and context

This is a theoretical paper on mobility which proposes a taxonomy of mobility, consisting of spatial, temporal and contextual aspects. There's some interesting discussion of how mobile devices change the use of time and the perception of time. Another idea listed is to plot technologies on a graph with axes of unobtrusive to intrusive and ephemeral to persistent.

Mobility: An extended perspective, 2002
Masao Kakihara, Carsten Sorensen
[Full-text pdf]

Friday, May 14, 2004

Social networks and computer-mediated communities

I really hate web-based presentation style slide-shows because they never provide the context of the original conversation and they require way too many slow page loads. Why don't people post long scrolling pages with lots of explanatory text as befits a browser interface and a remote audience?

With that said, here's a slideshow of a wide overview of relevant issues for computer-mediated community design. It touches on graph theory, small-world networks, reputation, human social networks and behavior management. The conclusions are perhaps a bit rash given the data to back them up, but you can decide for yourself.

SMALL WORLDS: Competitive and Cooperative Structures in Online Worlds, 2003
Raph Koster
Slides html (IE only)
Thanks to JayS for the tip.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Design trends for mobiles

This research paper has more of an industry slant to it, but it brings up the perspective of the designer/practitioner which is so often forgot by academics. The author also reintroduces the topic of designing mobile devices for those with disabilities. Mobile devices are interesting because they are used in so many different contexts and in combination with other devices. Even those of us without significant physical disabilities will be significantly impaired part of the time anyhow. We'll have car keys in one hand and the phone in the other. Or be blinded by bright sun while texting. Or have wet slippery hands from the rain while we try and grab that ringing phone. Designing for accessibility provides greater usage flexibility for everyone.

Designing the next generation of mobile communication, 2001, 3 pg
Christina James
[Full-text pdf]

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Portable Effects Museum Exhibit

where are you GOING today?
what did you LEAVE behind?
what things did you BRING?
how do you WEAR these things while youíre in motion?
where do you PARK them when you stop?
do you think you may have FORGOTTEN the most important thing?

A Museum Exhibit for Capturing Visitors' Insights about Nomadic Design Practice
Portable Effects

I particularly like the use of low-fidelity (in this case paper) prototypes of the exhibit prior to development. Too often we see the end product without seeing what went into it.

Ta to Phil Agre for link