Abstract

In the early stages of designing domestic, ubiquitous computing applications, gaining users’ descriptions of how new technologies can shape their futures can be an effective way to collect credible design ideas and to understand users’ personal values and social settings. We present two kinds of tools for empowering users to verbalize their own needs with metaphoric expressions of technologies, 5Senses Cards and Technology Type cards. Those tools are suggested as aids for the user inquiries in the field aimed at needs identification. We tested those tools in 6 homes and found empirical evidences which suggest that 5Senses Cards could encourage users to explore ubiquitous computing application ideas in two different perspectives, augmenting the environment and extending their bodies to the environment. We also found that Technology Type Cards could help the users focus on the experience of technology that they would find desirable rather than on the technical mechanisms. The potential of our tools as icebreakers and the pitfalls in using metaphorical expressions of technologies are discussed.

Keywords:

Design Tool, Field Interview, User-Centered Design, Ubiquitous Computing, Smart Home

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Jun 16th, 12:00 AM

Tools for Effective Communication about Technologies of Domestic Ubiquitous Computing Systems in User-Centered Design

In the early stages of designing domestic, ubiquitous computing applications, gaining users’ descriptions of how new technologies can shape their futures can be an effective way to collect credible design ideas and to understand users’ personal values and social settings. We present two kinds of tools for empowering users to verbalize their own needs with metaphoric expressions of technologies, 5Senses Cards and Technology Type cards. Those tools are suggested as aids for the user inquiries in the field aimed at needs identification. We tested those tools in 6 homes and found empirical evidences which suggest that 5Senses Cards could encourage users to explore ubiquitous computing application ideas in two different perspectives, augmenting the environment and extending their bodies to the environment. We also found that Technology Type Cards could help the users focus on the experience of technology that they would find desirable rather than on the technical mechanisms. The potential of our tools as icebreakers and the pitfalls in using metaphorical expressions of technologies are discussed.

 

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