Dearman, D., Kellar, M., and Truong, K. N. An examination of daily information needs and sharing opportunities. In Proceedings of the 2008 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work (New York, NY, USA, 2008), CSCW ’08, ACM, pp. 679–688. [PDF]
The main argument of this work is that context-sensitive information needs can be supported by individuals in the social network. The authors support the idea that many contextual needs require specialized knowledge that is often not available on the Internet.
Under this assumption they conducted a 4-weeks diary study in which a diverse group of participants recorded the information they needed or that they wanted to share. They collected 1290 entries that were analyzed using grounded theory affinity analysis. They grouped the needs into 9 main categories with relative subcategories. Participants were able to satisfy their needs 45.3% of the time. Participants satisfied their information need by asking someone, going to a location where the information was available, look the answer on the web and user other methods suchg as the GPS, paper documents, trial and error and other media.
By looking qualitatively at the answers they observed some interesting facts: The timeliness of the information was a key factor and also the trust relationship with the source of the answer was an higly quoted variable that participants took into account.
Heimonen, T. Information needs and practices of active mobile internet users. In Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Mobile Technology, Application & Systems (New York, NY, USA, 2009), Mobility ’09, ACM, pp. 50:1–50:8. [PDF]
The authors of this paper looked at the effect of dataplan on smartphones have on mobile information needs and poractices. The authors used a diary study with 8 participants over the course of two weeks. Participants were filling a web form where they were asked to answer a certain number of questions (where / when / what / how / did you find what you were looking for?). They used a strict definition of information needs: need for a piece of informationthat you cannot recall from memory or that is not immediately available to you and that you would likely spend few minutes attempting to solve it while mobile.
They classified with simple coding the information needs into 15 topical categories. They divided the needs into utilitarian (pragmatic) and hedonic (entertainment). Most of the needs, 45%, were addressed immediately. The majority of the users answered the needs through web search. Interestingly, they also found that the contributing reasonto the information need is not easily attributable to any environmental factor (33% of the times).
The paper also presents some nice implications for design, such as the use of communal knowledge to solve mobile search needs. Also, they suggested several techniques to take advantage of the user’s interaction to predict mobile information needs.
B. Schilit, N. Adams, and R. Want, “Context-aware computing applications,” in WMCSA ’94: Proceedings of the 1994 First Workshop on Mobile Computing Systems and Applications, (Washington, DC, USA), pp. 85–90, IEEE Computer Society, 1994. [PDF]
This paper describes software that reacts to an individual’s changing context. According to the authors, three important aspects of context are: where you are, who you are with, and what resources are nearby. Context includes different aspects of the physical environment around the user.
To investigate these topics they developed ParcTab, a small hand-held devices that uses infrared based cellular network for communication. The Tab acts as a graphics terminal and most of applications run on remote hosts.
Using this experimental environment, they describe four interaction mechanism:
- Proximate Selection, the located-objects that are nearby are emphasized or otherwise made easier to choose.
- Automatic Contextual Reconfiguration is the process of adding new components, removing existing components or altering the connections between components.
- Contextual Information and Commands happens when contextual information can produce different results accodring to the context in which they are issued.
- Context-Triggered Actions are sets of rules that specify how contex-aware systems should adapt.
A. Zimmermann, A. Lorenz, and R. Oppermann, “An operational definition of context,” in CONTEXT’07: Proceedings of the 6th international and interdisciplinary conference on Modeling and using context, (Berlin, Heidelberg), pp. 558–571, Springer-Verlag, 2007. [PDF]
This paper presents a summary of theoretical definitions of context that were developed in the past in the field of computer science. The authors’ argument presented in the paper is that most of the definitions that were proposed in the past were indirect definitions that used synonyms or that were either too general or incomplete.
By summarizing previous work, the authors presented an operational definition of context that could be used to characterize the situation of anentity. According to the authors, elements for the description of this context information fall into five categories:
Also, according to the authors something is context because of the way it is used in interpretation, not due to its inherent properties. When interacting and communicating in everyday life, the perception of situations, as well as the interpretation of the context is a major part. Therefore, the author presents some operational additive to the general definition: context transitions, variation of approximation, change of focus, shift of attention, shared contexts, the establishment of relations, the adjustment of shared contexts, and the exploiting of relationships.
N. A. Bradley and M. D. Dunlop, “Toward a multidisciplinary model of context to support context-aware computing,” Hum.-Comput. Interact., vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 403–446, 2005. [PDF]
This paper presents a comprehensive literature review of multidisciplinary research on context. The primary aim of the authors was that of reviewing and merging theories of context within linguistic, computer science, and psychology to propose a multidisciplinary model of context that would facilitare application developers.
The authors find out that contextual interactions appered to comprise the cross-disciplinary component for understanding and using principles of context. From a liguistic perspective it is the interaction between two people, within computer science it is the user-application interaction (combined with possible interactions with other people and objects=, and within psychology it is the internal and external interactions. Last, contextual interactions should be considered also though the notion of embodiment, as described by Dourish (2001).
Maslow, A. H. A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review, 50, 370-396. 1943. [HTML]
This is a seminal paper by which Maslow first introduced the hierarchy of human needs. While reading the paper I highlighted a couple of interesting ideas:
- Any motivated behavior must be understood to be a channel through which many basic needs maby be expressed or satisfied.
- Classification of motivations myst ve based upon goals rather than upon istigating;
- Motivations are only one class of determinants of behavior. While behavior is almost always motivated, it is amolst always biologically, culturally and situationally determined as well.
- the present theory should be considered as a program for future research;
- a cause for reversal of the hierarchy is that when a need has been satisfied for a long time this need might become underevaluated.
- another partial eplanation of apparent reversals is seen in the fact that there are many determinant in behavior other than the need and desires (e.g. marthyrs).
- most members ofour society who are normal are partially satisfied in all their basic need and partially unsatisfied in all their basic needs ate the same time.
- our needs emerge only when more prepotent needs have been gratified. When a need is faily well satisfied the next prepotent (‘higher’) need emerge, in turn to dominate the conscious life and to serve as the center of organization of behavior, since gratified needs are not active motivators.
[a more extensive review here]
S. Tamminen, A. Oulasvirta, K. Toiskallio, and A. Kankainen, “Understanding mobile contexts,” Personal Ubiquitous Comput., no. 8, pp. 135–143, 2004. [PDF]
This paper describes an ethmomethodologically inspired study of 25 participants in Helsinki. The authors were interested in understanding the challenges that ubiquitous computing has to face because of the changing context of the user. The authors wrote their implications thinking about phisical devices mor than thinking about services.
Starting from the definition of context in the HCI field, the authors describe how scholars did not agree on a single definition of context. Their starting point was that contexts are always determined by their specific use situations in relation with the motives, plans, other poeple, mobile computers, and the like. They believe that by explicating the actions and resources by which people go about, they can gain insight on how mobile contexts get done and the extent by which these can be modeled and recognized by ubiquitous devices. The authors organized a group of 25 participants that they shadowed and interviewed during the course of 3 days.
Their storyline was divided into travel episodes consisting of temporally organized action patterns depicting a meaningul journey between two places. A special emphasis was given to finding nodal events, where an action transformed the present context into another recognizable context (e.g., reading the newspaper on the metro).
They describe 5 characteristics of mobile contexts: 1) situational acts within planned ones, actions performed in ad-hoc manner during the journey. Plans do not simply determine action (Suchman). 2) claiming personal an group spaces, users create space around themselves for the actions they are about to take. 3) social solutions to problem sin navigation, seeking help through the social channel. 4) temporal tensions, situations where time becomes problematic in relation to the action at hand and where, at the same time, the temporal aspect of a situation is actively used to orient action. 5) multitasking, social conventions might reduce some cognitive load.