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

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Video in workplace ethnography

This paper looks at how video can be used effectively during ethnographic studies to understand distributed collaboration.

They indicate that video is good for because:
- permanent data source
- see hidden phenomena
- capture complex data (no need to focus)
- more controlled recorder bias
- allows group analysis
- watches what people say AND do
- allows review of observer's biases
- exposes causes and effects from process perspective

They also list some of its problems and give practical examples of how to layout conversation analysis tables. They indicate that video is for detailed analysis and should be paired with more typical observational techniques.

The above methods are used to analyze meetings that take place over a video-link. The following problems were found:
- video removes queues such as gestures
- can disassociate sound from visual feedback
- changes viewing angles (with many social effects)
- technical problems change turn-taking and flow
- changes behavior of local participants.

And just think how it will affect our mobile phone conversations if we all start using 3G video conferencing! =)

Ruhleder, K., & Jordan, B. (1997, 31 May- 3rd June). Capturing Complex, Distributed Activities: Video-Based Interaction Analysis as a Component of Workplace Ethnography. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the IFIP TC8 WG 8.2 - International Conference on Information Systems and Qualitative Research, Philadelphia, USA.

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Friday, June 24, 2005

New mobile group products and multitasking

Douglas Rushkoff has put out an interesting list of mobile group products coming out of New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program. This type of technology is just getting started.

Also, more on the stationary side of IM, as well as american mobile phone usage practices, an article by the LA times looks at how connected teens are getting and how accustomed they are to multitasking. Conclusion: management of multitasking on mobile devices is a good research area.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Is that a political ringtone you have?

I don't normally post recent news on this blog, but it is germane to remember practical applications, emergent effects, and flexible usage by design.

There's (another) political storm brewing in the Philippines and consequently an opportunity to use smart phones to bring down (another) president. I'm not sure about the credibility of the source, but the ideas for spreading rumors and making having a political opinion stylish among students is very thought provoking.

Some of the early smart phones viewed ringtones as part of the revenue stream. They could only be purchased online and users weren't allowed to create their own. Likewise some current telcos in the US are disabling bluetooth p2p services on their devices and forcing users to use paid, cellular or gprs based services instead. If allowed to proliferate, these types of p2p or locally customizable features become the tools of political activists.

Filipino Activists Mobilize to Expose Arroyo’s Corruption

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Behavioral impact of mobiles

This article talks about cultural differences in mobile phone use between Madrid, Paris and London. It's quite interesting to see how basically the same technology is used in different ways and how social norms develop to regulate device use.

"All socio-economic groups in London use wireless Bluetooth earpieces, while Parisians prefer hands-free systems that use a wire and can be tucked under a motorcycle helmet. In Madrid, almost nobody uses hands-free sets"

A mobile tale of three cities

Some other research papers by Dr Amparo Lasen are also available. (In particular the paper comparing the history of landline phones with mobile phones is interesting)

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Location Based Service Research

Nicolas Nova and colleagues have been doing some interesting research at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Switzerland. They're working on shared visualizations of spaces used by distributed groups via tablets and smart phones. Check out the pdf of their recent research.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Researchers in Mobile Community Areas

I've been compiling a list of researchers looking at designing mobile devices for collaboration by mobile groups. Here's some of the top players.

Edge Lab
Audioclouds at Glasgow. Dr. Stephen Brewster heads many of the projects related to wearables, mobile devices and audio spaces.
Prof. Silvia Giordano and colleagues in Italy are working on the MobileMAN project setting up ad-hoc networks with people as nodes.

If you'd like to add your research project page to the list, please mail me.

Mobile Discussion Lists

Mobile discussion lists are becoming increasingly common, allowing mobile groups to hold discussions. One of the latest offerings is Cellphedia. This is very similar to the mobile discussion list prototype we used in the recent paper posted below.

"Cellphedia is a thesis project created by me - Limor Garcia - a graduate student at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU.

I have created Cellphedia for the curious mobile phone community (which is almost all of us). It is an application that enables its users to send and receive up-to-date encyclopedia-type information amongst each other, on the go, through SMS. I call it: 'The first ubiquitous social encyclopedia'. "

Here's another article describing how it works.