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

Monday, August 23, 2004

Representation of self-reported information usage during mobile field studies

We have just had a paper accepted for the Australian HCI conference OzChi.
I'm looking into when I can post a pre-print here.

This paper presents two representations of data arising out of an exploratory diary study of mobile behaviour. They were developed as user centred tools for analysing and communicating situated, self-reported data and understanding environmentally immersed actions of mobile users. The Information Flow Chart (IFC) focuses on use of environmental information and decision making. The Contextual Information Map (CIM) depicts spatial activity data. The representations were used to help understand navigation behaviour during the study. Based on this experience, we believe they can assist efficient analysis and presentation of contextual information and develop into useful tools for developers of mobile technologies.

The complete reference:
Axup, J., Bidwell, N. and Viller, S. (2004). "Representation of self-reported information usage during mobile field studies: Pilots & Orienteers 2" Accepted, To be presented at OzCHI 2004: SUPPORTING COMMUNITY INTERACTION: POSSIBILITIES AND CHALLENGES, Wollongong Australia.

Wireless World

I'm in the process of reading a collection of research (in hardcopy) on the topic of social and interactional issues with the use of mobile technologies. It's called Wireless World, and I highly recommend chapter 7 by Alexandria Weilenmann and Catrine Larsson on the topic of group usage of mobile phones. Through the use of ethnographic studies, they are showing some fascinating group interaction norms, such as loaning phones, turn-taking and public display of discussions. Very informative for designing mobile devices for groups.

Brown, B., Green, N. and Harper, R. (2002). Wireless world : social and interactional aspects of the mobile age. London ; New York, Springer.

Review of the book: pdf

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Mobile Histories CFP

Mobile Histories
A special issue of Southern Review

Call for papers

Southern Review is publishing a special issue on histories of mobile communication in July 2005.

We are calling for papers which aim to provide longer-term perspectives on the emergence of mobile communications, or which describe and explain the cultural, economic and political dimensions of mobile communications
through specific historical contexts.

We encourage proposals for papers concerned with:

* The emergence of mobile telephony as a new medium;
* The development of legal, regulatory, ethical systems and software
for managing mobile content and applications;
* The evolving relations between mobile telephony and other media,
including fixed line telephony, television, and the Internet;
* Comparative studies of mobile communications in different cultural
and social contexts;
* Longer-term social, political and cultural consequences of mobile
* History of mobile telephony design, software and system architecture

Further information
1. The deadline for paper proposals will be 31 October 2004. Please
email a brief outline of your paper to either jthomas@swin.edu.au or
2. The deadline for submitted articles will be 15 April 2005. Please
email your paper to either jthomas@swin.edu.au or g.goggin@uq.edu.au
3. The maximum length of articles will be 6,000 words. Please follow
the style guide at http://www.informit.com.au/library

About Southern Review
Southern Review is an interdisciplinary journal focusing on the
connections between communication and politics. Since its inception in
1963, Southern Review has been interested in communication and cultural
technologies - their histories, producers, policies and texts. It
welcomes articles that connect these areas either to arenas of
legislative or parliamentary politics or to broader negotiations of

Sample articles from the current volume of Southern Review can be
at http://www.informit.com.au/library

Gerard Goggin and Julian Thomas

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Understanding technology used by families

'Technology probes' are pieces of prototype technology with simple, fully-functional features, designed to be unfinished and open-ended in use. They collect data on their usage and are intended to get users thinking about novel kinds of technologies that could be of use. Technology probes are good at:

a) examining in-context usage of a product before it is finished,
b) provoking new design ideas from in-context usage,
c) understanding implementation issues and circumstances separate from the technology which affect it's usage,
d) viewing long term usage and adaption to and of the product,
e) and determining how particular social contexts affect usage.

Two different types of tech probes are investigated: one is a pubic, short-messaging service for families, the other focuses on sharing short video snapshots between family members.

This is an interesting technique for understanding in-context device usage and the social reasons behind technology usage.

Technology Probes: Inspiring Design for and with Families, 2003
Hilary Hutchinson et al.
[Full-text pdf]

Monday, August 02, 2004

Bluetooth wearables concepts

This is from last year, but Motorola's been playing around with some "more intelligent than usual" wearable designs. They're all linked via bluetooth, and they've actually considered input technologies to some degree. The HMD has gotten past the "I'm a cyborg" aesthetic and the watch has got a big enough display to start doing some interesting things. Handwriting recognition would of course be an issue, as is the interface for saving written text for a variety of purposes. Data input while walking isn't really solved here unless you want to do it by voice recognition with the usual accuracy and privacy issues.

Phone Scoop

Ta to David L for the tip

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Interactive play between traveling children

This paper explores how children and young adults interact and conceive of the road. They intend to use ethnography and technology probes to explore this space. In particular, they introduce the idea of a peer-to-peer technology probe which can capture "phrases" of photos, scanned images, or audio and send them to other children in passing cars and capture data on usage to inform design. This is similar in some ways to Doctorow's notion of the community of music traders on the freeway using peer-to-peer to trade songs (see his latest book).

Using Ethnography or Technology Probe: Understanding Children’s future use of Roadside Interaction, 2004
Daniel Normark Vesterlind
[Full-text pdf]