Abstract

This article discusses a specific category of information systems known as Ambient Information Systems. These systems present information in a non-intrusive manner, acting mostly on the periphery of our attention, following Mark Weiser’s concept of calm technology. The major concern that drives the development of these systems can be summarized in two aspects: first, as pervasive computing increases, ordinary objects are becoming capable of processing and displaying data, thus the consumption of information will occur in many different contexts, which may contribute to an information overload, generating stress. The second aspect is that Design plays a major role in developing better ways to deal with this information overload. For a long time designers have been studying how to design communication systems that drive our attention, but little research has been done in exploring how to design communication systems that act upon the periphery of our attention. In this article four Ambient Information Systems are discussed, highlighting their characteristics and limitations. As a conclusion, the author proposes an agenda of topics that should be tackled to advance future research on this subject.

Keywords:

Pervasive Computing, Interaction Design, Information Design, Preattentive Processing

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Jul 7th, 12:00 AM

Designing for the Periphery of our Attention: a Study on Ambient Information Systems

This article discusses a specific category of information systems known as Ambient Information Systems. These systems present information in a non-intrusive manner, acting mostly on the periphery of our attention, following Mark Weiser’s concept of calm technology. The major concern that drives the development of these systems can be summarized in two aspects: first, as pervasive computing increases, ordinary objects are becoming capable of processing and displaying data, thus the consumption of information will occur in many different contexts, which may contribute to an information overload, generating stress. The second aspect is that Design plays a major role in developing better ways to deal with this information overload. For a long time designers have been studying how to design communication systems that drive our attention, but little research has been done in exploring how to design communication systems that act upon the periphery of our attention. In this article four Ambient Information Systems are discussed, highlighting their characteristics and limitations. As a conclusion, the author proposes an agenda of topics that should be tackled to advance future research on this subject.

 

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