Understanding Situated Social Interactions in Public Places

Posted: November 29th, 2005 | No Comments »

Understanding Situated Social Interactions in Public Places, Jeni Paay and Jesper Kjeldskov. In this paper, the others talk about the understanding of the user’s context, situated interactions, and the interplay between the two required to design contex-aware mobile information systems supporting sociality. They present a conceptual framework of situated social interactions in public and illustrate this framework with mobile context-aware prototypes.

The challenge for context-aware systems is to take into consideration the user’s physical and social context in a way that makes sense and is useful. There is a need to better understand the user’s physical and social context, their situated social interactions, the role of human activity within the built environment and the interplay between context and user actions.

Dourish and Situated Interactions
Recent research approaches into context-aware computing have focused on recurrent patterns of everyday life and the relation between interactions of people and technology and the social settings in which these interactions take place. Dourish regards context as a central concept in social analyses of interaction and says that social and cultural factors affect how the user makes decisions about actions and interprets a system. He regards the operational situation of context-aware technology as “varied” with context being particular to each occasion of activity or action, requiring mobile and ubiquitous systems to be more responsive to the different social settings in which they might be used. Better modeling of people in context is the best way towards more human-centred design of mobile and pervasive computing systems.

Design Ideas Emerging from their Framework

  • Suggesting system based on context, past and shared experiences
  • Indexing direction for way finding to familiar places
  • Representing current activities within close proximity: interesting idea to allow a certain level of interaction between the group and others, either by proximity or by watching. One way is to represent current activities of others within close proximity.
  • Supporting meeting up by communication about places, activities and time

The focus of the evaluation is not as much on the usability of the design but rather on the usefulness of the underlying design ideas above.