Improving everyday experiences using awareness and rich communication
Abstract (Summary)This licentiate thesis presents ubiquitous systems for human communication and awareness from the perspectives of improving our everyday life experiences and relieving our scarcest resource, ourselves. The thesis also presents different methods of designing such systems with the user needs in focus. The goal of this work is to construct systems which support the user with context-based information and functionality that simplifies the user's tasks. The applied nature of this thesis is indicated by the three prototypes, which has been developed and evaluated. The first prototype provided spectators of sport-events with added information about the contestants and hence improved the experience of the event. The second prototype supported nurses in elderly care with their tasks by making organization and information gathering less time consuming and thus leaving more time for talking to the patients. Finally, the third prototype realized a system for ubiquitous human communication. The third prototype utilizes an algorithm for selecting and using media resources in the environment. This algorithm decouples several difficult problems and can be used to combine leading research in different areas of awareness together to create accurate resource selection. The motivation for creating prototypes has been to get experience from using systems which empower users and to find methods for satisfying user needs. Involving users early in the design process can help satisfy user needs. Hence, it is important to find methods and strategies for involving users, especially as not everyone can see the opportunities a new technology has to offer. In this thesis four methods and strategies are described and tested. These are paper prototypes, wizard of oz studies, questionnaires and real prototypes which were developed and then evaluated. These methods are compared and some of the findings are being discussed in this thesis. The evaluation of the prototypes and the user-studies show that it is possible to improve everyday life experiences using a combination of ubiquitous, pervasive, wearable and context-aware computing. A majority of all the users who answered the questionnaire for the first prototype answered that the system improved their experience of the sport event. The nurses who used the second prototype were positively surprised over how the technology could save both time and create a better group awareness. Most of the users who participated in the user-study for the third prototype were positive to using a mix of media resources to get richer communication, they were also in favour of using resources in the environment to save money and improve quality. The main results in this thesis are valuable insights into user opinions of ubiquitous systems, methods for involving users in the design process, and several design rules which can serve as a guideline for designing future ubiquitous systems.
School:Luleå tekniska universitet
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:01/01/2006