« March 2007 | Main | May 2007 »

April 27, 2007

Lit Review - Semi-Public Displays for Small, Co-located Groups

Semi-Public Displays for Small, Co-located Groups (Huang and Mynatt 2003)

This paper describes a semi-public display designed to support small group awareness. The authors discuss the advantages of scoping public displays for a small group, for example, small groups are more likely to have common interests and have a greater desire to remain aware of group member activities.

The author shared the public display space among 4 display modules: active portrait, attendance panel, reminders, and collaboration space. Reminders, mirrors help requests sent to the group listserv. The collaboration module links whiteboard space to help requests enabling lab users to make asynchronous comments on reminder system items. Active portrait provides a visualization of lab attendance using a group photo of lab members. Active portrait uses keyboard usage and instant messaging status to determine when users are in the lab, and slowly fades the photographs of lab members who haven’t been in the lab recently. Attendance panel is anonymous method for lab users to specify that they are attending events. Each event is represented as a flower, and lab users can change the state of a petal on the flower to represent whether they are attending an event or not. One can quickly glance at the ‘attendance flowers’ to determine if many lab users will be attending a specific event. Of these modules, attendance panel and reminder panel proved the most useful to lab users.


Huang, E. M. and E. D. Mynatt (2003). Semi-public displays for small, co-located groups. Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems. Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA, ACM Press.


This paper provides a useful emphasis on the difficulty of building displays for public spaces due to varying user interests, and hard to determine privacy constraints. The authors note that semi-public displays allow designers more easily understand their audience to build useful features. This also paper provides a nice cross section of example modules for a semi-public display; interestingly, the authors do not emphasize the importance of a modular public display. I can imagine how prospero could absorb some of the lessons from this study to build an adaptive public display, which changed its configuration based on the users surrounding it, and it’s situational context – providing benefits to both small and large groups.

Posted by bcx at 12:10 AM | Comments (0)

April 26, 2007

Lit Review - Engaging with a Situated Display via Picture Messaging

Engaging with a Situated Display via Picture Messaging (Martin, Penn et al. 2006)

This work in progress paper is not particularly insightful, but is a good tool for thinking about different ways that public displays can be interacted with. The authors describe Joe Blogg; a public display where users can contribute content by sending messages and images to it using their mobile phones. The apparent focus of Joe Blogg is asthetic, as the display is limited to the 3 most recently submitted photos, and the 3 most recently submitted SMS messages. By letting users submit content using SMS and MMS the system made it possible for people to send images to display regardless of their physical location – thus, it was possible for distal parties to influence the display’s content. The authors deployed the system in a lobby for one day, and were disappointed with the level of usage. It would be interesting to deploy their display in another space to better understand the role that sense of place plays in ones contribution to such a display. I can imagine that, there would have been more use if the system was deployed in an area where student milled around a lot, perhaps a lounge or break room.

Martin, K., A. Penn and L. Gavin (2006). Engaging with a situated display via picture messaging. CHI '06 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems. Montreal, Quebec, Canada, ACM Press.

Takeaway: This paper introduces us to a few dynamics: Aesthetic Vs Function, Local Vs Distal, Text Vs Image Vs Movie, and Place. It would be interesting to deploy this system for a longer period of time to determine if it would be used at all – or how it would be used over time – as well as how the aforementioned dynamics play out over time. I can imagine that its level of activity would vary greatly by time of day, day-of-the-week, season of the year, etc. It would be interesting to examine such a system for the trends of use that may arise over time.

Posted by bcx at 01:51 PM | Comments (0)

Lit Review - Augmenting the Social Space of an Academic Conference

Augmenting the Social Space of an Academic Conference (McCarthy, McDonald et al. 2004)

This paper describes the deployment of two proactive displays, AutoSpeakerID and Ticket2Talk, at an academic conference. AutoSpeakerID is a system that displays information about registered users who choose to ask a question after a presentation. For example, if I was a registered user of the system and chose to ask a question to the speaker, the display would show my name, Ben Congleton, and my affiliation, the University of Michigan. The second system deployed by the researchers was Ticket2Talk, T2T is similar to AutoSpeakerID, but is situated in a less formal space, and designed more to foster informal interactions among conference participants. For example, if a registered user was near a T2T display, the display would show their name, affiliation, picture, and a ‘ticket to talk’ (an image or URL that the user would pre-select on a topic that they wanted to talk about). The T2T system also maintained a history of recently displayed ‘tickets to talk’ and the user they were affiliated with. This provided people who were near the display with information about people who are in their environment, but who’s tickets were not ‘highlighted’ on the display.

The remainder of the paper discusses qualitative observations and survey response data collected during the system’s deployment. The authors found that both systems enhanced the feeling of community – this was mostly accomplished by helping conference attendees attach names to faces and affiliations, thus, improving awareness of people in one’s local social environment, but also the makeup of conference as a whole. The authors also discuss how the system managed privacy concerns and meshed with existing social practice. The authors found that by making conference attendees ‘jump through’ hoops to use the system, they mitigated privacy concerns by ensuring that users who made it through the registration process had bought into the system. They noted that while their system encountered problems meshing with existing social practice, it is highly probably that the novelty of the system affected some of these changes, and that this might not be a particularly valuable goal when attempting to augment an environment.

The authors conclude with some remarks about the benefits of providing awareness in social settings, and some observations about their proactive interaction model. Namely, a proactive interaction model is somewhat unfamiliar to the majority of users who are accustomed to direct interaction with the computation in their environment, as opposed to having the display ‘react’ to their presence in a more passive way. The authors conclude noting the importance of considering user privacy, methods for building social awareness, and noting the importance of exploring the design of ‘proactive interactions’.

McCarthy, J. F., D. W. McDonald, S. Soroczak, D. H. Nguyen and A. M. Rashid (2004). Augmenting the social space of an academic conference. Proceedings of the 2004 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work. Chicago, Illinois, USA, ACM Press.

Takeaways: Most of the findings were anecdotal, and specific to the T2T and AutoSpeakerID system. However, the authors do contribute by providing some insight into how social awareness can be facilitated using two types of proactive display, and provide some evidence that the design of proactive displays should be an interesting area for exploration. At the very least, this is an interesting field study of proactive displays in use.

Posted by bcx at 12:50 PM | Comments (0)

Lit Review - Jukola: Democratic Music Choice in a Public Space

Jukola: Democratic Music Choice in a Public Space (O'Hara, Lipson et al. 2004)

This paper describes the design and deployment of Jukola, a system for democratic music selection in a public space. The authors emphasize the importance of music on structuring social action, mood, and ones sense of place. The Jukola system gives users in the environment power over their musical environment. Jukola consists of a touch screen where users can nominate songs to be added to rotation, a series of PDAs where users of the space can vote on the next song to be played, and a website where remote users can contribute music to be added the central music library. Their system is interesting, but their most valuable contributions are found in their discussion of the one week deployment of Jukola in a local hot spot.

One of this paper’s key contributions is its discussion of the problems associated with using collaborative filtering to automatically determine the right music an environment. The authors focus on the role that ‘choice’ plays in music select. It is quite possible that this concept of ‘choice’ also applies when attempting to build other systems to affect ones environment, thus, it is important that we as designers remain aware of what becomes lost when preferences are passively collected and used. In Jukola’s case value was provided not just by the democratic selection of music, but also by engagement in the music selection process. The authors also mentioned political issues that occurred when control of the music was transitioned from the bar staff to the entire environment, for example, one employee attempted to bypass the voting system to ensure their choices were played. Most of the anecdotal field study results are focus on small observations, such as how the Jukola PDA served to foster collaboration among users sharing the same table, and how democratic music selection created a shared sense of identity for the restaurant. The authors also noted how over time some users adopted strategic voting where they would select the best option that had a chance to win -- the lesser of two evils, as opposed to selecting their personal favorite. In short, their study provided a lot of insight into the social dynamics surrounding the Jukola system; however, their most valuable contribution comes in identifying a genre of situations where it becomes more important for users to engage with rather than merely passively influence their environment.

O'Hara, K., M. Lipson, M. Jansen, A. Unger, H. Jeffries and P. Macer (2004). Jukola: democratic music choice in a public space. Proceedings of the 2004 conference on Designing interactive systems: processes, practices, methods, and techniques. Cambridge, MA, USA, ACM Press.

This paper provides a very interesting look at a system designed to promote democratic selection of music in a public place. The system is exceptionally interesting because A) It is democracy in a public place, B) it lets people select outside music, and C) the focus on letting people control their environment. If you were to replace 'modules' with 'music' in this scenario you'd pretty much have the basic idea behind Prospero. So the real question is, what's the difference between music and modules? Answer: A lot.

Posted by bcx at 03:04 AM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2007

BIP - building interactive plagrounds July 20-21, 2007, Florence/Italy is a contest for building interactive projects to put in public spaces. The focus of this contest is on 'art' and environment in interactive projects.

They claim, curiously, that they are looking for people who "are not scared by a drunk young audience"!!

Posted by bhattach at 09:51 PM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2007

Final Wrap

We are doing our final wrap-up for GROCS today. Has been an interesting project. The whole thing will be archived permanently by UMich.

Posted by phartzog at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)

New Modules Installed and more

I finished up a first cut at a magic bus module today, and then wrote a framework that lets you time-split modules. For example, it is now possible to build a list of modules, assign weights to these modules, and then have the prospero system rotate through this list of modules where each module is displayed for a time relative to it's weight. In this case I added this module to the main prospero display, so it now rotates between user contributed pictures from flickr and the bus schedule. Hopefully, this will increase the number of people looking at the display.

The next step would be figuring out how to dynamically assign these module weights based on who has identified themselves to the machine.

In other news, I lowered the image cache for the flickr module, so now when it prioritizes people who are in the room, there will be less lag between identifying yourself and seeing the pictures you have selected.

Posted by bcx at 01:10 AM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2007

Lit Review - Social Coordination around a Situated Display Appliance

Social Coordination around a Situated Display Appliance (O'Hara, Perry et al. 2003)

This paper describes the deployment of the RoomWizard system. The RoomWizard (RW) is a system for managing conference room reservations. It consists of a web-based reservation management system, and a small Internet appliance with a touch screen display that is installed near the door of RW enabled conference rooms. The RW door mounted display provides information about the current user of the conference room, the current use of the room, the room’s daily schedule, and has peripheral LED lights that glow red or green based on the whether the conference room is available or not. RW users could reserve rooms in advance using a web-based room reservation system, and in situ for impromptu meetings using the RW’s touch screen.

The authors focus their discussion on how RW is different from other situated displays in that its use is highly tied to its location. For example, RW only displays information about room reservations for the room it is situated near. It does not provide information about other rooms that are available (though it would seem that some utility would be added by this functionality), or information about ongoing events. The design of the RW provides different levels of engagement, for example, peripheral LEDs let users determine if a room is available at a distance (unless the current reservation is not actually in use), closer inspection of the RW display lets users determine who is currently using the room, the time their reservation ends, and why the room is reserved. The authors note that by providing context information about ongoing meetings users of the system were able to determine whether a meeting was interruptible, and its general importance. The authors also spend a lot of time discussing how the system was flexible and did not force users to adhere to any specific rules. For example, when entering text fields into the system to specify meeting members and purpose, users were not forced to enter their name in a specific format, or choose a meeting purpose from a category. By letting users enter anything into these text boxes, users could use these fields to display information about the importance level of the meeting, whether it and its member’s were private (As opposed to just information about who was attending and the meeting’s purpose).

The authors do a wonderful job of providing insights into the usage of RW in the company they studied. Although most of their insight was into the deployment of RW situated in the specific company they observed, there were a few takeaways. First, it is essential to consider context of use and situation when deploying displays. Second, systems should be designed to be flexible like the social systems surrounding their use. Third, the nature of situated displays means that many users may encounter them at different distances with differing levels of engagement, it is important to design for these “zones” when building displays.

O'Hara, K., M. Perry and S. Lewis (2003). Social coordination around a situated display appliance. Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems. Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA, ACM Press.

I'd put this in the top tier of the display papers I have read so far.

Posted by bcx at 04:51 PM | Comments (0)

Lit Review - Bubble Badge

The BubbleBadge: A Wearable Public Display (Falk and Bjork 1999)

The Bubble Badge (BB) is a wearable public display. This paper provides a brief overview of a prototype wearable public display, and then discusses some areas for future work. The BB project is not incredibly insightful, but it is one of the first papers to discuss the concept of a wearable public display. The authors describe BB as a small badge that is worn on one’s lapel, and a portable computer drives the content displayed on the small lapel display. The authors discuss how the BB has three dynamics: the wearer as the information provider, the viewer as information provider, and the environment as information provider. Each of these dynamics introduce interesting usage scenarios, for example, when the environment is the information provider the BB might display news updates broadcast wirelessly. There was really no more then a very short antidotal evaluation of the BB system.

There are two interesting features of this paper: A) public displays as a wearable device, and B) considering the role of information provider in the equation.

Falk, J. and S. Bjork (1999). The BubbleBadge: a wearable public display. CHI '99 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, ACM Press.

I wish there was a simple way to embed an image into these blog posts. In fact for a blog on public displays there is a huge dearth of images. In any case, Bubble Badge is an interesting concept from 1999. (Yea there were public display ideas back then, too)

Posted by bcx at 01:25 AM | Comments (1)

Lit Review - Notification Collage

The Notification Collage: Posting Information to Public and Personal Displays (Greenberg and Rounding 2001)

This paper describes the design, development, and implementation of the Notification Collage, a public designed to serve as a digital bulletin board and promote awareness between collocated and distal individuals. The notification collage, allowed users of a research lab to post notes, picture slide shows, web pages, movies and other content to a shared public display. The display was also used to display video of lab members who had webcams, thus users in the lab could see if their telecommuting lab mates were at their desks or not. Lab users who were not collocated and could not use the large shared display were able to view the contents of the shared display remotely using a client application. The client application was designed to run full screen on a peripheral monitor, or overlaid transparently on a user’s primary monitor.

The author’s focus their discussion on the role of environmental artifacts on awareness. For example, as previously mentioned the streaming video of users at their desks provided awareness information about distal users. Ephemeral slideshows, post-it notes, posted web pages, and activity logs served to provide personal content about each user, while providing context for Notification Collage inspired interactions. The authors also discuss 10 attributes of awareness, and which of these attributes can be supported through technology. Their discussion is largely antidotal, but insightful none the less, some of their comments are: people used the display for both synchronous and asynchronous interaction, some users felt there were privacy issues, artifacts posted on the display were normally self representative or used to initiate conversation, and the differences between one-to-one, overhead, & broadcast communication. They note that although the existing CSCW literature has touched upon the individual technologies used in their system, no other single system integrates these technologies in a form designed to foster awareness in small group settings.

The big takeaway from this paper is that information plays a role in awareness, and awareness can be provided by content on a public display. It is also important to understand how medium and context mediates how information is reached and reacted to.

Greenberg, S. and M. Rounding (2001). The notification collage: posting information to public and personal displays. Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems. Seattle, Washington, United States, ACM Press.

I don't know about you, but notification collage has always been one of my favorite HCI Systems. [I guess I am after all a Virginia Tech Notification Systems Lab Alumni]

Posted by bcx at 12:29 AM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2007

Urban Screens

Mirjam Struppek's Urban Screens project investigates "how the currently commercial use of outdoor screens can be broadened with cultural content". Quite interesting, especially the emphasis on the "public sphere" -- she is interested in "screens that support the idea of public space as space for creation and exchange of culture, strengthening a local economy and the formation of public sphere".

From the web page, it seems that they had a conference in 2005 apparently -- no mention of anything after that, though.

One comment that I have is that visual display related articles (such as this one) almost always seem to focus on urban spaces. But surely, even in rural areas, there are locations to which people congregate/converge, at certain times (e.g. they go to church; or, they go to sporting events, etc.) And on all these occasions public displays may be useful.

Posted by bhattach at 06:04 AM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2007

Lit Review - A who's who in public display research

So I've been reading a lot of ACM Public Display papers recently. Let me apologize in advance for only focusing on publications available in ACM's Guide, but in any case there are few names in research that have a lot of public display publications, and I wanted to highlight them and their current location here.

Elizabeth Churchill – “Plasma Posters, and many other Public Display focused research” Currently at Yahoo Research, has worked at FX-Palo Alto, and PARC.

Daniel M. Russell – “Blueboard and MERCBoard”
Currently at Google (I think), did his BlueBoard and MERCBoard research at IBM Almaden.

Harry Brignall & Yvonne Rogers – “Dynamo”
Work was done at the University of Sussex’s Interact Lab

Joe McCarthy – “Outcast and Groupcast and Public Reactive Displays”
Started out at Accenture, was at Intel Seattle for a little bit, tried a startup to do reactive public displays, currently at Nokia’s Research Lab in Palo Alto.

In short, the people that are publishing a lot of public display work are either in England or in Palo Alto.

Posted by bcx at 07:50 PM | Comments (0)

Lit Review- Subtle ice-breaking: encouraging socializing and interaction around a large public display

This paper is an earlier report of the Opinionizer system described by Brignull & Rogers 2003. The authors describe some observations from the first deployment of Opinionizer at CHI 2002. They note the ability for the Opinionizer to draw people in (a honey-pot effect). Once people are in this ‘space’ near the display they become more likely to interact with one another. For example, (they might have found that) people who were near the display were more likely to communicate with people they had not met before. Like the other Opinionizer paper, this paper is short on details, but provides an interesting look at how displays can influence sense of ‘place’ and provide contexts for lower effort, lower risk interaction. (However, the paper does not discuss the theoretical influence the display is having on the environment)


Rogers, Y. and H. Brignull (2002). Subtle ice-breaking: encouraging socializing and interaction around a large public display. CSCW'02 Workshop Proceedings, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

Posted by bcx at 06:57 PM | Comments (0)

Lit Review- The use patterns of large, interactive display surfaces

The use patterns of large, interactive display surfaces: Case studies of media design and use for BlueBoard and MERBoard (Russell, Trimble et al. 2004)

This paper discusses the design and deployment of BlueBoard and MERBoard (Mars Expedition Rover Board), two interactive displays deployed at IBM’s Almaden Research Lab and the NASA Ames Research Lab, respectively. I have already discussed the BlueBoard paper in some detail; to summarize, the BlueBoard display is a large public touch screen public display that has been deployed in an IBM Research lab. Users of the display could browse each other’s homepages, and use the display as a digital whiteboard. The researchers have published a preliminary evaluation of the display, finding that 3 important design considerations: (1) representation of a person who’s participating in a session at the BlueBoard, (2) providing adequate tools for use at the board (e.g., a whiteboard function, a map of the area, etc.) and (3) keeping personal information private while making location-based information available.

The MERBoard system is based on the original Blueboard display system, but greatly customized for the target audience and located in a less public space. While the Blueboard was primarily designed to support informal encounters in the hallway, the MERBoard was designed to be an integral part of NASA Mars Expedition Rover planning. Thus, MERBoard was designed as a rich collaborative system where users could display and annotate documents, share content from their laptops, and store this data in a MERBoard storage system. The MERBoard supported multiple users interacting with data on the display at once, public and private storage, and also maintained a rich version history of documents created on the display. Together this functionality helped the MERBoard effectively support extended work sessions.

This paper mentions some of the results from two largely antidotal evaluations; however, it does not provide a detailed picture of the actual use of these displays. Its primary contribution comes in the description of the two different systems, and in its emphasis on approaching the design of large interactive displays from a user centric perspective. It also provides a nice example of the differences between displays situated in hallways, and those in a location more central to accomplishing work (i.e. a meeting room).

Russell, D. M., J. P. Trimble and A. Dieberger (2004). The Use Patterns of Large, Interactive Display Surfaces: Case Studies of Media Design and Use for BlueBoard and MERBoard. Proceedings of the Proceedings of the 37th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS'04) - Track 4 - Volume 4, IEEE Computer Society.

The MERBoard is what I would call a semi-public, or small group display. Although, we current have stayed away from designing tools for collaborative work sessions, one can imagine a public display that would support multiple modes of interaction -- one of which would be similar to the interactions supported by MERBoard

Posted by bcx at 05:41 PM | Comments (0)

April 15, 2007

Lit Review - Social Aspects of Using Large Public Interactive Displays for Collaboration

Social Aspects of Using Large Public Interactive Displays for Collaboration (Russell, Drews et al. 2002)

This paper describes a short (110 minute) field study of the Blueboard display. The Blueboard display is a semi-public display built on top of a SmartBoard rear projection touch screen display. Users could identify themselves to BlueBoard using issued RFID tag badges. When a user swipes their badge the display will bring up their personal homepage, and also allow them to interact with the display, either by browsing web-pages, or using the display as a touch screen driven digital whiteboard. The SmartBoard touch screen had the limitation of only supporting one point of contact at a time, thus, the collaborative aspects of the system were normally governed by one user managing the display a time. Similar to other public display studies they found that users experienced ‘social learning through exposed interaction’. They also noted some of the social dynamics surrounding the display such as turn-taking, and the creation of interaction norms surrounding the use of the display. In addition to group level observations, the researchers also noted a few single user observations, for example, few users badged out of the system if they did not have a rich interaction, drawing is important – whiteboards are useful, text input might be necessary, and a few more antidotal observations. In short, this paper sheds little light upon the use of collaborative displays over time, and details some of the limitations of existing collaborative technologies (such as single touch – touch screens), however, the primary contribution of this paper is not in the evaluation, but in the actual Blueboard collaborative system.

Russell, D. M., C. Drews and A. Sue (2002). Social Aspects of Using Large Public Interactive Displays for Collaboration. Proceedings of the 4th international conference on Ubiquitous Computing. G\öteborg, Sweden, Springer-Verlag.


This paper doesn’t really provide very much insight into the social aspects of using a large screen display for collaboration, and seems somewhat of a misnomer.

Posted by bcx at 06:30 PM | Comments (0)

Lit review - Sharing Multimedia Content with Interactive Public Displays

Sharing Multimedia Content with Interactive Public Displays: A Case Study (Churchill, Nelson et al. 2004)

This paper presents a very detailed account of the deployment three “Plasma Posters” in the FX-PAL research lab. The authors do a really good job of describing the design of a public display system where users in the environment could send email to the displays and have the contents of the email, or the contents of what the email references (i.e. movies, images, web pages) displayed on 3 large public touch screen plasma displays in their research lab. They note that the deployment made very little difference to other communication genres used by the lab, i.e. the deployment of the Plasma Posters did not reduce the number of emails sent over the listserv, or reduce the usage of the office bulletin boards. They describe the successful adoption and usage patterns for their system, while providing insights into why their system succeeded: participatory design – giving users ownership, design for low effort of use – and in-line with existing practices, supporting flexible use, reliability, social context (tie posts to real users of the system), the list goes one. The authors conclude with a discussion of 2 other deployments of Plasma Poster systems noting the importance of “social setting as an interface”, as these deployments (A café and an office building) both required interface modifications, and changes in the governance of the display. The authors found that the way in which the display is used is as mitigated by the setting in which it is deployed as the actual interface of the display. The primary contribution of this paper towards our research is providing us with design guidelines, and ideas for the basic methodology to take when studying technology deployments over time.

Churchill, E. F., L. Nelson, L. Denoue, J. Helfman and P. Murphy (2004). Sharing multimedia content with interactive public displays: a case study. Proceedings of the 2004 conference on Designing interactive systems: processes, practices, methods, and techniques. Cambridge, MA, USA, ACM Press.

I would just like to say, that this particular study is the BEST public display study I have read so far. (That is not saying too much, considering I have read a lot of "system only" papers, and not to many evaluation papers so far, but it is still worth noting.)

Posted by bcx at 03:47 AM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2007

Lit Review - Enticing Users to Interact with a Public Display

Enticing People to Interact with Large Public Displays in Public Spaces (Brignull and Yvonne 2003)

This paper describes a public display system for public spaces. More specifically it describes a system designed for large groups as sort of a ‘game’ or icebreaker. For example, the display might show a picture of Bill Gates, people in the audience could interact with the display using a laptop to add a comment about Bill Gates to a large public display. The authors deployed this display in two public areas, and observed how people interacted with it. It is important to note that the “public” in context of this paper means large groups, for example in both deployments the display was placed in large conference rooms with over 100 people attending each event. This is quite different from the more common ‘small group’ form of ‘public’ where ‘public display’ is normally used to describe a display situated in a hallway or in another ‘public’, but lower traffic area.

The paper primarily focuses on describing observations from the two system deployments. The authors found that their display exhibited a “honey-pot” affect, perhaps referring to the fact that the display became more popular once other users were using it. For example, when someone was writing a comment to the display, the display drew more attention, and thus was more prominent in the public space. The authors propose a theoretical framework to describe the types of interaction people have with public displays: peripheral awareness interactions, focal awareness, and direction interaction activities. They discuss the transition from interaction state to interaction state, at an observational level, but it appears that the state transition is similar to the Legitimate Peripheral Participation model described by Jean Lave. [I am also quite sure that this particular transitory approach to participation can be found in all public systems.] The authors flesh out this theoretical framework by describing some “obvious” requirements for users to transition between stages of use, for example, to transition from focal awareness to interaction activity, users must understand how long an interaction takes and what steps are involved. The paper concludes with antidotal guidelines for the design of public displays in large public areas, such as where to locate them in a room to entice people to interact, while noting that the greatest boundary to interaction with a public display is overcoming the fear “social embarrassment” and that such systems should be designed to prevent self-consciousness. Adding anonymity would solve some of these problems, but limit the social benefits of the display, i.e. someone would no longer be able to use the results of your ‘comment’ to the display as an icebreaker. In short, this paper has an interesting look at what it takes to get someone to interact with a large public display, but, they lack a firm theoretical base, and it would seem that their same “theoretical” principles would apply to people singing karaoke (one moves from being peripherally aware of the singing, to watching it, to participating). In any case, it is interesting to see the parallels between “public games” such as karaoke and what can be done with a public display designed to foster conversation.

Brignull, H. and R. Yvonne (2003). Enticing people to interact with large public displays in public spaces. Interact.

Design Guidelines that affect us:

Posted by bcx at 09:54 PM | Comments (0)

Documentation for the project

We now have some basic documentation for Prospero: a system diagram, and a brief system-level description of what each file does.

This documentation reflects the state of Prospero as of late March/early April. However, since the code is a work in progress, there may be slight discrepancies. At some point in the future we will update the documentation. We also plan to document the actual code in more detail.

Posted by bhattach at 08:53 AM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2007

Lit Review: BYOD: Bring Your Own Device

BYOD: Bring Your Own Device. (Ballagas, Rohs et al. 2004)

The authors break down large displays into personal, semi-public, and public. Their categorization mirrors those found in other readings, this paper in particular focuses on large public displays. The authors list a series of design considerations for building large public displays, including such facets as serendipity, information security & privacy, and multi-user. The rest of their workshop paper discusses existing technologies for interacting with large public displays (primarily PDAs) and using camera phones to read digital codes as an interaction method for large displays. This workshop paper is expanded upon by Ballagas 2005 where he discusses two novel interaction techniques that do not require visual tagging. The value of this paper is in it’s design considerations, as they provide a good starting point for building large public displays, and help us as researchers understand the existing public display design space.

Ballagas, R., M. Rohs, et al. (2004). BYOD: Bring Your Own Device. Ubicomp 2004, Nottingham, UK.

Posted by bcx at 02:14 AM | Comments (0)

Lit Review - Attention Meter


This paper not only describes the importance of context-aware computing, but also provides a toolkit that could be integrated into future iterations of prospero.


Attention Meter: A Vision-based Input Toolkit for Interaction
Designers (Lee, Jang et al. 2006)

This paper describes using computer vision to determine the attention level of users. In particular, this paper describes the Attention Toolkit, a computer vision toolkit that allows developers to use video processing to determine how many people are looking at the camera, how close these people are to the camera, and can also calculate user attention scores based on head and eye movements. The demonstrated two example applications, where digital content reacted to reacted based on how many people were paying attention to it: Scream Market and TaiKer-KTV. The authors present a nominal evaluation of how easy it was for developers to use their tool to prototype “attention aware” applications. This paper, like many of the other papers we discussed presents an interesting system, which can serve as a starting point for future work. For example, as we develop future public displays, one can imagine the importance of making the display aware of it’s context, for example, is it a public display for one user, or a display for 10?

Lee, C.-H. J., C.-Y. I. Jang, et al. (2006). Attention meter: a vision-based input toolkit for interaction designers. CHI '06 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems. Montreal, Quebec, Canada, ACM Press.

Posted by bcx at 02:11 AM | Comments (0)

Pervasive computing and ...pervasive projection?

An interesting article about public pervasive computing:

"[This architecture] shows how the urban environment inspire researchers to explore the intersections between physical,social,and digital domains."

It seems that this is one of the rare system architectures that actually takes the surrounding physical space into account:

"The interesting point here is that it shows how system developers and HCI designers try to obtain a fundamental understanding of a physical space and how it impacts the social interactions taking place there prior to sketch any ideas about technologies. Achieving such a goal is often done by looking at architecural theorists [...]"

Also, this article about outdoor digital projection in urban environments is also of a good deal of related interest to Prospero, for obvious reasons.

Posted by bhattach at 12:24 AM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2007

Literature Review - Semi-Public Notification System (OE)

Dynamo and this paper were the most interesting public display papers I have read so far in my quest to build a comprehensive understanding of the STATE of the ART in terms of public displays. In their system, Online Enlightenment (OE), they do a great job of discussing the design considerations involved in their display, and some of the theory behind it. [This type of analysis has hardly been touched on in my other readings] -- Admittedly I am a little partial to this paper because the system was deployed in my lab, while I was at Virginia Tech, and I had my own LED on the system :-)

Enlightening a Co-located Community with a Semi-Public Notification System (Terrell and McCrickard 2006)

The authors describe the creation of a semi-public notification system (or public display). They emphasize the ability for public displays to shape the “place” in which they are deployed. They attempt to do this by creating a display that could be used with little buy in by members of a small community, in this case a computer science research lab. The display was designed with the help of participatory design, which emphasized the need for the display to not be interruptive, and still provide peripheral awareness of the availability and location of lab members. Interestingly privacy was not a concern for members of the lab, which might be an affect of the semi-public nature of the display. Lab member availability was determined by monitoring their online status using MSN messenger, this technique was not perfect, but the network effect of having all lab members adopt MSN messenger aided its adoption.

The end product was a small display located in the common area of a lab, where a colored LED represented each lab member’s availability. For example, when a lab member was available the LED near their picture would glow green. When the lab member was away their LED was orange, and when they were offline the LED was off. Each LED was labeled with the name and a caricature of the lab member it represented. To evaluate the display, researchers deployed the display in the research lab for 4 months and gathered survey data based on its usage. There evaluation results are mostly antidotal, there were cases where the display helped bridge the gap between people in the lab, and people who were available online, and there were cases where the display helped a lab user track down the rest of his lab group who had just gone to lunch. The evaluation is not the strong point of this paper, but all in all it provides a good overview of some of the social factors that affect semi-public displays, while providing some design guidelines, and antidotes about the deployment of such a display.

Terrell, G. B. and D. S. McCrickard (2006). Enlightening a co-located community with a semi-public notification system. Proceedings of the 2006 20th anniversary conference on Computer supported cooperative work. Banff, Alberta, Canada, ACM Press.

Posted by bcx at 02:55 AM | Comments (0)

Literature Review - Sweep Point & Shoot

Sweep and Point & Shoot: Phonecam-Based Interactions for Large Public Displays (Ballagas, Rohs et al. 2005)

This paper introduces 2 novel interaction techniques for large screen displays using cell phones: point & shoot and sweep. In the point and shoot condition users could use the viewfinder on their camera to interact with specific display elements on the large screen display. On the sweep condition users could use their phones as mice, through software that was able to determine motion using the phone’s video camera. The researchers evaluated these novel interaction technique by having users complete a series of tasks using the two new interaction techniques, and a standard in phone joystick as seen on the Nokia 6600. The authors found no significant difference between the point & shoot method and joystick interaction methods; however, they the sweep method was significantly slower then either of these two methods. In essence, this paper introduces and evaluates two novel methods of interacting with large screen displays using cell phones; however, most of there findings are of little interest because of the limitations of existing mobile phone technology, for example the authors note a few critical problems that limited the usability of their novel techniques, it will be interesting to see follow up studies once faster mobile phone processors are available.

Ballagas, R., M. Rohs, et al. (2005). Sweep and point and shoot: phonecam-based interactions for large public displays. CHI '05 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems. Portland, OR, USA, ACM Press.

Posted by bcx at 02:07 AM | Comments (0)

April 10, 2007

Joe McCarthy's inteRRelativity application: thinking along similar lines as we are.

Ben just made me and Paul aware of the interesting website for inteRRelativity, developed by Joe McCarthy, which seems to share some of the underlying premises and goals that we have also been interested in.

Posted by bhattach at 02:07 AM | Comments (0)

April 09, 2007

Some Tech Updates

Over the weekend I re-wrote the basic prospero server to use ruby mongrel instead of ruby webrick. I haven't quite learned how to use benchmark in ruby yet, so I can't tell you the actual speed increase, but it definitely feels a lot faster. (And is more stable as well).

In other news (if I can embed images you can see the graph of work done on prospero this semester below:


Posted by bcx at 10:25 PM | Comments (0)

Literature Review - Auction Mechanisms for Public Displays

This paper is an example of the direction we fear public displays will be going. It presents a model for optimizing advertising impressions based on identifying people using their Bluetooth devices. The basic concept is pretty intuitive, identify people using their Bluetooth devices, keep track of which advertisements they have been exposed to, and then optimize the advertisement display so that most of the people in the environment see a new ad.

Auction Mechanisms for Efficient Advertisement on Public Displays (Payne, David et al. 2006)

The authors describe auction mechanisms for optimizing advertisement selection on public displays. They discuss how they can passively identify people who are near the display by scanning for Bluetooth devices. Once people near the display are identified they can determine if particular users have seen an advertisement before, and use that knowledge to display the advertisement that has been seen the less by the community of users around the display. Their contribution is a novel method of passively identifying users near the display (Bluetooth scanning), and developing auction mechanisms to optimize the display of ads based on people near the display. They show empirically that showing ads based on knowledge of the target audiences viewing experience is far more effective then randomly display ads, or displaying ads using a simple round robin technique. Their findings are pretty obvious, but this paper is one of the first to discuss any auction mechanisms for public displays.

Payne, T., E. David, et al. (2006). Auction Mechanisms for Efficient Advertisement Selection on Public Displays. Proceedings of European Conference on Artificial Intelligence.

Posted by bcx at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

Literature Review- UniCast, OutCast & GroupCast

UniCast, OutCast & GroupCast (McCarthy, Costa et al. 2001)

The authors discuss the deployment of peripheral displays in three workplace contexts, within an office (unicast), outside an office (outcast), and in a common area (groupcast). Of these contexts, the groupcast context is of the most direct relevance to building public displays (It should be noted that the authors describe a modular system of data sources in unicast, where users can customize their display using a series of modules, each with it’s own preferences – which is later used to power the content displayed on the Groupcast system). The Groupcast system uses an existing employee tracking framework to display the location of employees, and displays content on the public display based on who is near the display, and the individual preferences of users who are near the display. For example, if two users are near the display, the display will display content specified by one of the two users in their personal preferences with the goal of facilitating communication between the individuals. This paper lacks a worthwhile evaluation, as neither GroupCast nor OutCast were evaluated, and most of the evaluation of unicast was regulated to what modules different users were interested in. However, this paper is one of the early papers on using user preferences to drive public displays when users are near them, so it is worth noting this idea if nothing else.

McCarthy, J. F., T. J. Costa, et al. (2001). UniCast, OutCast & GroupCast: Three Steps Toward Ubiquitous, Peripheral Displays. Proceedings of the 3rd international conference on Ubiquitous Computing. Atlanta, Georgia, USA, Springer-Verlag.


Posted by bcx at 09:04 PM | Comments (0)

Literature Review - Dynamo

This is the first of many papers on public displays that I will be reading in the coming weeks in the attempt to build a public display bibliography.

Dynamo (Izadi, Brignull et al. 2003):

Dynamo is a shared multi-user interactive surface. This paper discusses the dynamo system and observations made during its deployment for 10 days in a High School common area. The Dynamo display is a shared surface that can be accessed by multiple mice and keyboards at the same time, and allows user to share and display media. For example, a user could connect their USB drive to the Dynamo display, and display an image stored on the drive, or connect to a website and display media using a web-browser. The display supports varying levels of interaction, for example, users can watch the content on the display, share content on the display, or register with the display to gain additional functionality. In addition to discussing the Dynamo display, the authors perform an ethnographic study of the adoption of the dynamo display, and provide some guidelines for public display designers including: interactive displays should be integrated into the existing environment, displays should support flexible arrangement of content, displays should support many functions so that they can be appropriated by their users, and display should provide mechanisms that support gradual buy-in. [This paper also has a nice paragraph discussing the difficulty of deploying displays in a space with the goal of enhancing community]

Links for more information:
http://www.ux-design.net/dynamo-interactive.com/


Izadi, S., H. Brignull, et al. (2003). Dynamo: a public interactive surface supporting the cooperative sharing and exchange of media. Proceedings of the 16th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology. Vancouver, Canada, ACM Press.


Posted by bcx at 08:16 PM | Comments (0)

April 06, 2007

My First Post - some updates

I spent some time tonight adding some of the recommendations from the design review.

1. Design Lab 1 members can now announce themselves to prospero when they log in to the prospero.netherweb.com site and are physically in the lab. [We know the IP addresses assigned to both wired and wireless machines in the lab so this works for both people using the machines in the lab, and their own laptops]

2. I fixed that incredibly annoying flickering image issue with the list of recent users.

The next step is to really dig into the flickr slideshow module and fix a few of the memory issues. [And adding some of the recommendations from the design review, such as prioritizing images of people in the room who are using the system, and incorporating some advertising for prospero]

I believe Paul is working on documentation how to make your own module, and Sayan is working on documenting the system at a high level, so there should be some interesting stuff to read soon.

Posted by bcx at 12:35 AM | Comments (1)