9 May 2009

Design and ethnography at a ubiquitous computing conference

Be the first to share

UbiComp 2008
One of the sessions at UbiComp 2008, the Tenth International Conference on Ubiquitous computing (Seoul, Korea), was devoted to design and ethnography.

The four papers are all in the proceedings, but (except for the first one) you will need an ACM membership to download them.

The Heterogenous Home
* Ryan Aipperspach, University of California, Berkeley
* Ben Hooker, Intel Research Berkley
* Allison Woodruff, Intel Research Berkeley
Due to several recent trends, the domestic environment has become more homogeneous and undifferentiated. Drawing on concepts from environmental psychology, we critique these trends. We propose heterogeneity as a new framework for domestic design, and we present design sketches that illustrate how ubiquitous computing technologies can interact with the domestic environment to create a more varied and restorative environment. This work speaks to a number of core issues in ubiquitous computing, such as how the increased presence of devices impacts quality of life, the desirability or undesirability of ubiquitous temporal and spatial availability of devices, and the advantages and disadvantages of device convergence (“”all-in-one”” devices) versus device proliferation (single application devices).

Plastic: A Metaphor for Integrated Technologies
* Tye Rattenbury, People and Practices Research Group
* Dawn Nafus, People and Practices Research Group
* Ken Anderson, People and Practices Research Group
Ubiquitous computing research has recently focused on ‘busyness’ in American households. While these projects have generated important insights into coordination and communication, we think they overlook the more spontaneous and opportunistic activities that surround and support the scheduled ones. Using data from our mixed-methods study of notebook and ultra-mobile PC use, we argue for a different perspective based on a metaphor of ‘plastic’. ‘Plastic’ captures the way technologies, specifically computers, have integrated into the heterogeneous rhythms of daily life. Plastic technologies harmonize with and support daily life by filling opportunistic gaps, shrinking and expanding until interrupted, not demanding conscious coordination, supporting multitasking, and by deferring to external contingencies.

Getting to Green: Understanding Resource Consumption in the Home
* Marshini Chetty, Georgia Institute of Technology
* David Tran, Georgia Institute of Technology
* Rebecca E. Grinter, Georgia Institute of Technology
Rising global energy demands, increasing costs and limited natural resources mean that householders are more conscious about managing their domestic resource consumption. Yet, the question of what tools Ubicomp researchers can create for residential resource management remains open. To begin to address this omission, we present a qualitative study of 15 households and their current management practices around the water, electricity and natural gas systems in the home. We find that in-the-moment resource consumption is mostly invisible to householders and that they desire more real-time information to help them save money, keep their homes comfortable and be environmentally friendly. Designing for domestic sustainability therefore turns on improving the visibility of resource production and consumption costs as well as supporting both individuals and collectives in behavior change. Domestic sustainability also highlights the caveat of potentially creating a green divide by making resource management available only to those who can afford the technologies to support being green. Finally, we suggest that the Ubicomp community can contribute to the domestic and broader sustainability agenda by incorporating green values in designs and highlight the challenge of collecting data on being green.

Designing Sociable IT for Public Use
* Steinar Kristoffersen, Østfold University College
* Ingunn Bratteberg, Mamut ASA
Service providers increasingly use self-service systems, such as kiosk and automata that offer faster and more flexible service. Most of us are familiar with appliances for buying and validating tickets, purchasing soft drinks or getting the newspaper. We book tables in restaurants and hire cars using hotel lobby kiosks. Unfortunately, many such systems confuse and annoy their users. Thus, information technology design for the public space poses distinct challenges. Yet, it is relatively unmapped within our field. Based on an ethnographic study of the purchase and validation of ticketless travel for an airport train, this paper shows how such systems need an extended framework of usability principles, which goes beyond well-known interaction design guidelines.

Be the first to share
25 April 2016
How city design is adapting to older populations
As cities experience a demographic shift, the need for age-friendly design is becoming ever more critical. From almshouses to driverless cars, the future of urban housing and mobility may just be shaped for and by …
24 April 2016
[Book] The Politics of Design
The Politics of Design: A (Not so) Global Manual for Visual Communication By Ruben Pater BIS Publishers May 2015 Many designs that appear in today’s society will circulate and encounter audiences of many different cultures and languages. With communication …
21 April 2016
The product design of IoT
As more and more ‘Internet of Things’ products come into the market, most, if not all will come with significant challenges. The key to overcoming any obstacles, writes Joe Johnston, VP Experience Innovation for Universal …
14 April 2016
Anthropology is not only undersold, it’s misunderstood
Dr. John Sherry, Director of Business Innovation Research at Intel, says in an long profile on Epicpeople that anthropology is not only undersold, but also misunderstood: People too often talk about ethnography as a tool for …
12 April 2016
The latest on innovation in Energy Efficient Buildings: annual round-up of EU Commission projects
Every year, the Energy-efficient Buildings (EeB) Public Private Partnership (PPP) publishes the EeB PPP project review - a round-up of energy-efficiency projects that have been co-funded by two European Commission schemes. This year, the print …
8 April 2016
On the need for ethnography in user experience design
Michael Thomas of Ford Motor Company argues in a thoughtful personal piece that User Experience design is greatly enhanced by establishing classical ethnographic methods as foundational for defining the domain of design intervention. How can UX …
2 April 2016
A selection of Interaction 16 videos
In this post we highlight a number of Interaction 16 conference videos especially relevant to the Putting People First readers. They are grouped thematically. Algorithm-inspired design Crowds, algorithms and computations: The new materials of design - Matthew …
1 April 2016
Financial Times: the inflation enigma requires ethnographic analysis
Gillian Tett is the Financial Times' US Managing Editor, a very frequent writer, and an anthropologist. Her column this week unconventionally argues for on-the-ground ethnographic research on people's expectations on inflation: What we need is not …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

12 April 2016
The latest on innovation in Energy Efficient Buildings: annual round-up of EU Commission projects

Every year, the Energy-efficient Buildings (EeB) Public Private Partnership (PPP) publishes the EeB PPP project review – a round-up of energy-efficiency projects that have been co-funded by two European Commission schemes. This year, the print and digital booklet design was done by Experientia, in particular by our talented visual and interaction designer Dohun Jang. Experientia […]

8 March 2016
Behavioral modeling – Shaping cultural change and behavioral evolution

One of the things we do here at Experientia that really sets us apart from other UX agencies is behavioral modeling. Our cognitive and behavioral models go beyond the standard customer journeys and personas (both useful tools, and often preliminary steps to behavioral modeling) to create frameworks that can be used to make people more […]

1 March 2016
Singapore’s main newspaper on Experientia’s design with the elderly

Arti Mulchand reports in the Straits Times, Singapore’s main newspaper, on Experientia’s “Design for Ageing Gracefully” project: Putting faces to end-users early in the design process is changing the way designers and organisations are approaching products aimed at Singapore’s growing elderly demographic. Experientia’s ethnographic study, which was commissioned by DesignSingapore Council in a collaboration with […]

18 January 2016
Experientia website completely reshaped

Experientia is pleased to announce that we’ve started 2016 with a brand new website. Experientia’s now officially 10 years old, and we decided that the best way to celebrate is by building a new website that showcases our growth – with new projects, new people in the staff, and two new locations in Lausanne and […]

1 January 2016
For when things get personal…
13 October 2015
Experientia report: Design for ageing gracefully

Design for Ageing Gracefully Rethinking Health and Wellness for the Elderly: Public Services Asian Insights & Design Innovation, DesignSingapore Council October 2015

See all articles