Number of co-authors:53
Number of publications with 3 favourite co-authors:Laurel Swan:12Abigail Sellen:7Nicolas Villar:4
Alex S. Taylor's 3 most productive colleagues in number of publications:Saul Greenberg:140Abigail Sellen:81Kristina Hook:58
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Alex S. Taylor
Personal Homepage: http://research.microsoft.com/~ast/
I joined MSR's Cambridge Lab in September 2004 as a member of the Socio-digital Systems Group (SDS).
Since joining, I've undertaken investigations into a range of routine aspects of everyday life - with a particular emphasis on life at home. For instance, I've shown what some might describe as an unhealthy preoccupation with hoarding, dirt, clutter and similar seemingly banal subject matter. Most recently, I have begun obsessing over robots and other curious ‘thinking' machines.
Much of this work has been considered alongside the design of computing technology. Rather than informing design directly, however, I've sought with varying success to open up the possibilities for different and hopefully new ways of interacting with technology. A further goal has been to reflect on the intersections between humans and machines, and wonder what the unceasing developments in science and technology might mean for being human.
Publications by Alex S. Taylor (bibliography)
Kuznetsov, Stacey, Taylor, Alex S., Regan, Tim, Villar, Nicolas and Paulos, Eric (2012): At the seams: DIYbio and opportunities for HCI. In: Proceedings of DIS12 Designing Interactive Systems 2012. pp. 258-267. Available online
DIYbio (Do It Yourself Biology) aims to 'open source', tinker and experiment with biology outside of professional settings. In this paper, we present the origins, practices, and challenges of DIYbio initiatives around the world. Our findings depict DIYbio as operating across intersections ('seams') between a range of stakeholders, materials and concerns. To map out the role of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) across these seams, we present design exercises (functional prototypes) that explore three areas for future work: internal collaboration tools within the DIYbio and professional community; mechanisms for external communication with stakeholders from the general public; and bio-electronic assemblies of organic and digital materials. In doing so, we hope to critically re-envision the role of HCI at the emerging intersection of biology, computation and DIY.
© All rights reserved Kuznetsov et al. and/or ACM Press
Kuznetsov, Stacey, Taylor, Alex S., Paulos, Eric, DiSalvo, Carl and Hirsch, Tad (2012): (DIY)biology and opportunities for HCI. In: Proceedings of DIS12 Designing Interactive Systems 2012. pp. 809-810. Available online
Over the past decade, a diverse community of biologists, artists, engineers and hobbyists has emerged to pursue biology projects outside of traditional laboratories. Though still in its nascent form, this DIYbio (Do It Yourself Biology) movement has given rise to a host of technical innovations and sharing mechanisms that enable hobbyists to experiment with organic materials. As these developments continue to expand science practice beyond professional settings and into hackspaces, art studios and private homes, HCI research is presented with a range of new opportunities and concerns. Our workshop will bring together a diverse group of designers and HCI researchers, as well as biologists, bioartists, and members of the DIYbio community to critically re-envision the role HCI might play at the intersection of biology, computation and DIY. This action-based one-day workshop will engage directly with DIYbio initiatives in the UK to explore the materials, practices and challenges of 'garage biology'. Drawing on presentations from DIYbio participants who work with organic materials, hands-on biology activities (such as extracting DNA), and structured discussions, we hope to address themes such as: opportunities and implications for integrating organic materials into interactive systems; technologies that support and hinder public engagement with science; and HCI's role in the public discourse around bioethics and biosafety.
© All rights reserved Kuznetsov et al. and/or ACM Press
Taylor, Alex S. (2011): Out there. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2011 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2011. pp. 685-694. Available online
"Out there" is increasingly becoming a topic of concern in HCI. Thanks to various clarion calls, researchers in the field are turning their attention to technology-mediated activities that are shaped less by Euro-American sensibilities and defined more by how they are culturally and geographically distinct. Fieldwork and ethnography researchers, for instance, are beginning to investigate ICT use at religious and spiritual sites, by the socially excluded and disenfranchised, and by people in developing regions. In this paper, I concentrate on the latter focus on development to reflect on HCI's disciplinary turn "out there". Specifically, I take the following three themes as common rhetorical devices in such work: (i) the network, (ii) difference and (iii) complexity. Through examples, I discuss how each of these themes has been mobilised. I then use materials from anthropology, science and technology studies, and to a lesser extent geography and postcolonial studies to complicate and in some cases question the interpretative frames that are being applied. Thus, my hope is that this paper is seen as a thought piece that deepens our thinking around HCI's efforts to look "out there" by paying critical attention to what is going on "in here".
© All rights reserved Taylor and/or his/her publisher
Rosner, Daniela K. and Taylor, Alex S. (2011): Antiquarian answers: book restoration as a resource for design. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2011 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2011. pp. 2665-2668. Available online
As technologies age, they experience wear and degradation, sometimes resulting in loss of functionality. In response, parts are replaced and software is updated. Yet restoration -- the process of returning something to a previous condition, often regardless of its instrumental value -"is a relatively rare practice with computational technologies. The aim of this paper is to enrich HCI design practices by considering the material qualities of restoration. We consider what makes a technology worth restoring and what constitutes the process of restoration by examining data collected from a three-month apprenticeship-based qualitative study of bookbinding. Building on relevant literatures, we offer antiquarian books -"long-established information technologies -- as a lens onto the ways values are enacted through material engagements. We conclude with a discussion of restoration's role in HCI.
© All rights reserved Rosner and Taylor and/or their publisher
Sundstrom, Petra, Taylor, Alex S. and O'Hara, Kenton (2011): Sketching in software and hardware Bluetooth as a design material. In: Proceedings of 13th Conference on Human-computer interaction with mobile devices and services 2011. pp. 405-414. Available online
In any design process, a medium's properties need to be considered. This is generally well established, yet still within interactive systems design, the properties of a technological medium are often glossed over. That is, technologies are often black-boxed without much thought given to how their distinctive material properties open up the design space. In this paper, we experiment with a technology to see what might be gained from intentionally and systematically investigating its properties. Specifically, we look upon Bluetooth from the perspective of being a design material and examine how its properties from that perspective can be used to shape design thinking. Using four example cases or "sketches", we show that Bluetooth's properties, often seen as constraints, can provide useful building blocks for designing interactive systems.
© All rights reserved Sundstrom et al. and/or ACM Press
Davidoff, Scott, Villar, Nicolas, Taylor, Alex S. and Izadi, Shahram (2011): Mechanical hijacking: how robots can accelerate UbiComp deployments. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Conference on Uniquitous Computing 2011. pp. 267-270. Available online
The complexities and costs of deploying Ubicomp applications seriously compromise our ability to evaluate such systems in the real world. To simplify Ubicomp deployment we introduce the robotic pseudopod (P.Pod), an actuator that acts on mechanical switches originally designed for human control only. P.Pods enable computational control of devices by hijacking their mechanical switches -- a term we refer to as mechanical hijacking. P.Pods offer simple, low-cost, non-destructive computational access to installed hardware, enabling functional, real world Ubicomp deployments. In this paper, we illustrate how three P.Pod primitives, built with the Lego MindStorm NXT toolkit, can implement mechanical hijacking, facilitating real world Ubicomp deployments which otherwise require extensive changes to existing hardware or infrastructure. Lastly, we demonstrate the simplicity of P.Pods by observing two middle school classes build working smart home applications in 4 hours.
© All rights reserved Davidoff et al. and/or ACM Press
Swan, Laurel, Tanase, Diana and Taylor, Alex S. (2010): Design's processional character. In: Proceedings of DIS10 Designing Interactive Systems 2010. pp. 65-74. Available online
In this paper, we examine the ideas behind and reactions to a prototype online tool designed, in-house, for an art college's interaction design department. The web-based prototype, the Digital Scrapbook, was initially intended as a tool for tutors to oversee their students' work. However, our ongoing discussions with the department's members indicate that it is more interesting to its target audience for a variety of other reasons, including its role in design inspiration; group representation and collaboration; and as a repository for documenting the creative process. We speculate on the reasons behind this by further reflecting on the reactions to the tool. We come to the conclusion that members of the department value the Digital Scrapbook because it is seen to reflect the processional character of design. That is, we suggest the system is seen as promising because it reveals the often messy, unintended and meandering routes design can follow. In closing, we suggest how we might support further ways of displaying design's processional character and discuss the broader implications of displaying collective processes.
© All rights reserved Swan et al. and/or their publisher
Marquardt, Nicolai, Taylor, Alex S., Villar, Nicolas and Greenberg, Saul (2010): Rethinking RFID: awareness and control for interaction with RFID systems. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2010 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2010. pp. 2307-2316. Available online
People now routinely carry radio frequency identification (RFID) tags -- in passports, driver's licenses, credit cards, and other identifying cards -- from which nearby RFID readers can access privacy-sensitive information. The problem is that people are often unaware of security and privacy risks associated with RFID, likely because the technology remains largely invisible and uncontrollable for the individual. To mitigate this problem, we introduce a collection of novel yet simple and inexpensive tag designs. Our tags provide reader awareness, where people get visual, audible, or tactile feedback as tags come into the range of RFID readers. Our tags also provide information control, where people can allow or disallow access to the information stored on the tag by how they touch, orient, move, press or illuminate the tag.
© All rights reserved Marquardt et al. and/or their publisher
Marquardt, Nicolai, Taylor, Alex S., Villar, Nicolas and Greenberg, Saul (2010): Visible and controllable RFID tags. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2010 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2010. pp. 3057-3062. Available online
Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags containing privacy-sensitive information are increasingly embedded into personal documents (e.g., passports and driver's licenses). The problem is that people are often unaware of the security and privacy risks associated with RFID, likely because the technology remains largely invisible and uncontrollable for the individual. To mitigate this problem, we developed a collection of novel yet simple and inexpensive alternative tag designs to make RFID visible and controllable. This video and demonstration illustrates these designs. For awareness, our tags provide visual, audible, or tactile feedback when in the range of an RFID reader. For control, people can allow or disallow access to the information on the tag by how they touch, orient, move, press, or illuminate the tag (for example, Figure 1 shows a tilt-sensitive RFID tag).
© All rights reserved Marquardt et al. and/or their publisher
Taylor, Alex S. (2009): Machine intelligence. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2009 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2009. pp. 2109-2118. Available online
Under certain conditions, we appear willing to see and interact with computing machines as though they exhibited intelligence, at least an intelligence of sorts. Using examples from AI and robotics research, as well as a selection of relevant art installations and anthropological fieldwork, this paper reflects on some of our interactions with the kinds of machines we seem ready to treat as intelligent. Broadly, it is suggested that ordinary, everyday ideas of intelligence are not fixed, but rather actively seen and enacted in the world. As such, intelligence does not just belong to the province of the human mind, but can emerge in quite different, unexpected forms in things. For HCI, it is proposed this opens up a new set of possibilities for design; examining the ways intelligence is seen and enacted gives rise to a very different way of thinking about the intersection between human and machine, and thus promotes some radically new types of interactions with computing machines.
© All rights reserved Taylor and/or ACM Press
Seitinger, Susanne, Taub, Daniel M. and Taylor, Alex S. (2009): Light bodies: exploring interactions with responsive lights. In: Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Tangible and Embedded Interaction 2009. pp. 113-120. Available online
"Light bodies" are mobile and portable, hand-held lights that respond to audio and vibration input. The motivation to build these devices is grounded in a historical reinterpretation of street lighting. Before fixed infrastructure illuminated cities at night, people carried lanterns with them to make their presence known. Using this as our starting point, we asked how we might engage people in more actively shaping the lightscapes which surround them. We prototyped a first iteration of sound and vibration responsive, LED-based coloured lights that we placed in three different settings including a choreographed dance performance, an outdoor public installation and an audio-visual event. We report on our experiences with these preliminary investigations.
© All rights reserved Seitinger et al. and/or their publisher
Durrant, Abigail, Taylor, Alex S., Frohlich, David, Sellen, Abigail and Uzzell, David (2009): Photo displays and intergenerational relationships in the family home. In: Proceedings of the HCI09 Conference on People and Computers XXIII 2009. pp. 10-19. Available online
In this paper we describe a design-orientated field study in which we deploy a novel digital display device to explore the potential integration of teenage and family photo displays at home, as well as the value of situated photo display technologies for intergenerational expression. This exploration is deemed timely given the contemporary take-up of digital capture devices by teenagers and the unprecedented volume of photographic content that teens generate. Findings support integration and the display of photos on a standalone device, as well as demonstrating the interventional efficacy of the design as a resource for provoking reflection on the research subject. We also draw upon the theoretical concept of Dialogism to understand how our design mediates intergenerational relationships and interaction aesthetics relating to the notion of 'constructive conflict'.
© All rights reserved Durrant et al. and/or their publisher
Lindley, Sian E., Banks, Richard, Harper, Richard, Jain, Anab, Regan, Tim, Sellen, Abigail and Taylor, Alex S. (2009): Resilience in the face of innovation: Household trials with BubbleBoard. In International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 67 (2) pp. 154-164. Available online
We present the results of a field trial in which a visual answer machine, the BubbleBoard, was deployed in five households. The aims of the trial were to create an improved answer machine, but also, and more interestingly, to encourage family members to appropriate it through the inclusion of open and playful design elements. Through making aspects of audio messages visible, BubbleBoard offered a number of improvements over existing answer machines. However, the new affordances associated with this were not appropriated by family members in the ways we had expected. We discuss possible reasons for this, and conclude that attempting to encourage appropriation through 'openness' in design may not be sufficient in the face of well-established social practices.
© All rights reserved Lindley et al. and/or Academic Press
Lindley, Sian E., Durrant, Abigail, Kirk, David and Taylor, Alex S. (2009): Collocated social practices surrounding photos. In International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 67 (12) pp. 995-1004. Available online
Ståhl, Anna, Hook, Kristina, Svensson, Martin, Taylor, Alex S. and Combetto, Marco (2009): Experiencing the Affective Diary. In Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 13 (5) pp. 365-378. Available online
Durrant, Abigail, Taylor, Alex S., Taylor, Stuart, Molloy, Mike, Sellen, Abigail, Frohlich, David M., Gosset, Phil and Swan, Laurel (2008): Speculative devices for photo display. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2008 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems April 5-10, 2008. pp. 2297-2302. Available online
In this paper, we describe three purposefully provocative, digital photo display technologies designed for home settings. The three devices have been built to provoke questions around how digital photographs might be seen and interacted with in novel ways. They are also intended for speculation about the expressive resources afforded by digital technologies for displaying photos. It is hoped interactions with the devices will help researchers and designers reflect on new design possibilities. The devices are also being deployed as part of ongoing home-oriented field research.
© All rights reserved Durrant et al. and/or ACM Press
Lindley, Sian E., Durrant, Abigail C., Kirk, David S. and Taylor, Alex S. (2008): Collocated social practices surrounding photos. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2008 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems April 5-10, 2008. pp. 3921-3924. Available online
Recent developments in technology mean that it is becoming increasingly possible to support collaboration around digital photos. This makes an exploration of the existing collocated social practices that are associated with photos both timely and relevant. This workshop will explore social practices in the areas of photowork, photo sharing and photo displays, with the aim of drawing together current research and considering how the findings might inform technology innovation.
© All rights reserved Lindley et al. and/or ACM Press
March, Wendy, Nafus, Dawn, Swan, Laurel and Taylor, Alex S. (2008): Night and darkness: interaction after dark. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2008 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems April 5-10, 2008. pp. 3985-3988. Available online
Many of us work and socialize late into the night, some increasingly so. However, most information technology is still designed in the daytime and largely to be used in the light. Little thought is given to its behavior in darkness, even if the technology itself can sense darkness, or sleep. The aim of the workshop outlined below is to examine night and darkness as a starting point for designing ubiquitous computing. We aim to explore if and how the behavior of our technology should change as night falls. The workshop will use the topics of darkness, safety, 'nighttime people' and nighttime activities to think about new design opportunities for interaction design and ubiquitous computing. Practicing what we preach, so to speak, the workshop participants will also critique their ideas and designs in the dark, in Florence.
© All rights reserved March et al. and/or ACM Press
Swan, Laurel and Taylor, Alex S. (2008): Photo displays in the home. In: Proceedings of DIS08 Designing Interactive Systems 2008. pp. 261-270. Available online
This paper examines an under explored area of digital photography, namely photo display. Using examples from a study undertaken with six families, we examine photo displays on mantelpieces, sideboards, and hallway walls, and in homeoffices. Using the examples, we make a case relating to the material properties of photo displays, suggesting that families routinely (and often unintentionally) express something of themselves in the ways they display their photos. The very ideas of family and home, we suggest, are tightly interwoven with the methods of photo display. This position is used to offer up some early design considerations for digital photo displays. We outline some basic properties that might be designed around and contend that the ideas of family and home impose constraints on which of these properties might be best combined and exploited. We also present three design concepts to illustrate how we have been developing this position.
© All rights reserved Swan and Taylor and/or ACM Press
Swan, Laurel, Taylor, Alex S. and Harper, Richard (2008): Making place for clutter and other ideas of home. In ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 15 (2) p. 9. Available online
In this article, we examine the containment of clutter in family homes and, from this, outline considerations for design. Selected materials from an ethnographically informed study of home life are used to detail the ways in which families contain their clutter in bowls and drawers. Clutter, within these containers, is found to be made up of a heterogeneous collection of things that, for all manner of reasons, hold an ambiguous status in the home. It is shown that bowls and drawers provide a "safe" site of containment for clutter, giving the miscellany of content the "space" to be properly dealt with and classified, or to be left unresolved. The shared but idiosyncratic practices families use to contain their clutter are seen to be one of the ways in which the home, or at least the idea of home, is collectively produced. It is also part of the means by which families come to make their homes distinct and unique. These findings are used to consider what it might mean to design for the home, and to do so in ways that are sensitive to the idiosyncratic systems of household organization. In conclusion, thought is given to how we design for people's ideas of home, and how we might build sites of uncertainty into homes, where physical as well as digital things might coalesce.
© All rights reserved Swan et al. and/or ACM Press
Taylor, Alex S., Wyche, Susan P. and Kaye, Joseph Jofish (2008): Pottering by design. In: Proceedings of the Fifth Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction 2008. pp. 363-372. Available online
The last decade of work in HCI has seen an increasing emphasis on the role of technology in the home, and a corresponding need for novel approaches for studying the needs, activities and relationships that constitute home life, so as to inform technology design. In this vein, we report on a particular aspect of home life in Britain: pottering. We investigate the ways in which pottering -- unplanned and serendipitous tidying, cleaning, gardening and minor home improvement -- can be used as a lens to understand the non-task-focused roles that technology may play in the home. We also describe the strategies we used to study this curious class of activities and hopefully illustrate how open, and sometimes opportunistic, approaches to research can have value.
© All rights reserved Taylor et al. and/or their publisher
Chen, Judy and Taylor, Alex S. (2008): entrigue: re-picturing the home. In: Proceedings of the Fifth Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction 2008. pp. 443-446. Available online
Despite the volume of work that has been done on awareness displays, little has been articulated about the ways in which people achieve, understand and maintain awareness in their everyday routines. We reexamine awareness through the design of entrigue, a simple, lightweight photo display that captures the comings and goings in a home. Initial experiences of the system in use indicate that it offers a way of defamiliarizing a space, allowing a household to playfully re-experience the home and the ways in which they moved through it. By drawing attention to the idiosyncratic ways in which people make sense of cues and routines in the home, our results suggest that awareness incorporates a sense of how one engages with the environment, and highlights the notion of intrapersonal awareness as an awareness one can explore of oneself in and through this engagement.
© All rights reserved Chen and Taylor and/or their publisher
Brown, Barry A. T., Taylor, Alex S., Izadi, Shahram, Sellen, Abigail, Kaye, Joseph Jofish and Eardley, Rachel (2007): Locating Family Values: A Field Trial of the Whereabouts Clock. In: Krumm, John, Abowd, Gregory D., Seneviratne, Aruna and Strang, Thomas (eds.) UbiComp 2007 Ubiquitous Computing - 9th International Conference September 16-19, 2007, Innsbruck, Austria. pp. 354-371. Available online
We report the results of a long-term, multi-site field trial of a situated awareness device for families called the “Whereabouts Clock”. The Clock displayed family members' current location as one of four privacy-preserving, deliberately coarse-grained categories (HOME , WORK , SCHOOL or ELSEWHERE) In use, the Clock supported not only family co-ordination but also more emotive aspects of family life such as reassurance, connectedness, identity and social touch. This emphasized aspects of family life frequently neglected in Ubicomp, such as the ways in which families' awareness of each others' activities contributes to a sense of a family's identity. We draw further on the results to differentiate between location as a technical aspect of awareness systems and what we characterize as “location-in-interaction”. Location-in-interaction is revealed as an emotional, accountable and even moral part of family life
© All rights reserved Brown et al. and/or Springer
Taylor, Alex S., Harper, Richard H. R., Swan, Laurel, Izadi, Shahram, Sellen, Abigail and Perry, Mark (2007): Homes that make us smart. In Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 11 (5) pp. 383-393. Available online
Taylor, Alex S., Swan, Laurel and Durrant, Abigail (2007): Designing Family Photo Displays. In: Proceedings of the Tenth European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 2007. pp. 79-98. Available online
We present efforts to explore the relatively underdeveloped area of digital photo display. Using examples from two empirical studies with family homes, we develop our results around three broad themes related to the display of photos and their arrangement. The first theme highlights the collaborative as well as individual work that goes into preparing photos for display. The second attends to the obligations families have to put particular photos on display. The third introduces the notion of curatorial control and the tensions that arise from one person controlling a home's photo displays. Drawing on these themes, we go on to describe how we have used a critical design approach to open up the possibilities for future display innovations. Three critical design proposals are presented as sketches to illustrate the development of our ideas to date.
© All rights reserved Taylor et al. and/or Springer
Taylor, Alex S., Swan, Laurel, Eardley, Rachel, Sellen, Abigail, Hodges, Steve and Wood, Kenneth R. (2006): Augmenting refrigerator magnets: why less is sometimes more. In: Proceedings of the Fourth Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction 2006. pp. 115-124. Available online
In this paper we present a number of augmented refrigerator magnet concepts. The concepts are shown to be derived from previous research into the everyday use of fridge surfaces. Three broadly encompassing practices have been addressed through the concepts: (i) organization/planning in households; (ii) reminding; and (iii) methods household members use to assign ownership to particular tasks, activities and artifacts. Particular emphasis is given to a design approach that aims to build on the simplicity of magnets so that each of the concepts offers a basic, simple to operate function. The concepts, and our use of what we call this less is more design sensibility are examined using a low-fidelity prototyping exercise. The results of this preliminary work suggest that the concepts have the potential to be easily incorporated into household routines and that the design of simple functioning devices lends itself to this.
© All rights reserved Taylor et al. and/or ACM Press
Sellen, Abigail, Harper, Richard, Eardley, Rachel, Izadi, Shahram, Regan, Tim, Taylor, Alex S. and Wood, Kenneth R. (2006): HomeNote: supporting situated messaging in the home. In: Proceedings of ACM CSCW06 Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 2006. pp. 383-392. Available online
In this paper we describe a field trial designed to investigate the potential of remote, situated messaging within the home. Five households used our "HomeNote" device for approximately a month. The results show a diversity of types of communication which highlight the role of messaging both to a household and to a place. It also shows the ways in which these kinds of messages enable subtle ways of requesting action, expressing affection, and marking identity in a household -- communication types which have received little attention in the research literature. These in turn point to new concepts for technology which we describe.
© All rights reserved Sellen et al. and/or ACM Press
Taylor, Alex S. and Swan, Laurel (2005): Artful systems in the home. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2005 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2005. pp. 641-650. Available online
In this paper we introduce the idea of organizing systems. Through a number of examples from an ongoing ethnographic study of family life, we suggest that organizing systems come about through the artful design and use of informational artifacts in the home, such as calendars, paper notes, to-do lists, etc. These systems are not only seen to organize household routines and schedules, but also, crucially, to shape the social relations between family members. Drawing attention to the material properties of informational artifacts and how assemblies of these artifacts come to make up organizing systems, we discuss some general implications for designing information technology for the home. Most importantly, we suggest that technologies must be designed to accommodate the rich and diverse ways in which people organize their homes, providing them with the resources to artfully construct their own systems rather than enforcing ones that are removed from their own experiences.
© All rights reserved Taylor and Swan and/or ACM Press
Swan, Laurel and Taylor, Alex S. (2005): Notes on fridge surfaces. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2005 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2005. pp. 1813-1816. Available online
Drawing on ongoing ethnographic investigations into home life, this paper presents detailed findings from a preliminary examination of refrigerator surfaces. The use and organization of items on fridge surfaces are shown to be closely tied to the material properties of both fridges and their surroundings. Emphasis is placed on the importance of fridge magnets as they are seen to contribute to a fluidity and reconfigurability that make fridge surfaces unique. Building on this, it is argued that the negotiation of family relations is afforded by the presented properties of the fridge and of magnets. To conclude, we introduce some general points to consider in designing interactive surfaces for the home.
© All rights reserved Swan and Taylor and/or ACM Press
Brush, A. J. Bernheim, Palen, Leysia, Swan, Laurel and Taylor, Alex S. (2005): Designs for home life. In: Proceedings of ACM CHI 2005 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2005. pp. 2035-2036. Available online
In this Special Interest Group (SIG) we intend to consider the increasingly popular area of interactive systems design for the home. Aiming to incorporate a wide range of perspectives, the SIG's participants will map out the growing number of research and development programs in the area. Particular emphasis will be given to how home life has been characterized in various programmatic visions and how the CHI community might best capitalize on these characterizations. The importance of an understanding of home life to inform design and future directions in this area will also be reflected on. This SIG is intended to appeal to a broad cross section of the CHI community, ranging from practitioners and developers to computer and social scientists.
© All rights reserved Brush et al. and/or ACM Press
Taylor, Alex S. and Swan, Laurel (2004): List making in the home. In: Proceedings of ACM CSCW04 Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work 2004. pp. 542-545. Available online
This paper presents research on the use of household lists. Drawing on an ethnographic study of mothers' work, it focuses on the centrality of paper lists in home- and child-care arrangements, and reveals that they provide a useful means for organizing the complex interrelations between a household's people, activities and tasks. However, paper lists are also shown to be poor at handling the separation, or classification, of these things. In conclusion, both these positive and negative aspects of list making are used to raise broad pointers for CSCW and system design.
© All rights reserved Taylor and Swan and/or ACM Press
Berg, Sara, Taylor, Alex S. and Harper, Richard H. R. (2003): Mobile phones for the next generation: device designs for teenagers. In: Cockton, Gilbert and Korhonen, Panu (eds.) Proceedings of the ACM CHI 2003 Human Factors in Computing Systems Conference April 5-10, 2003, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA. pp. 433-440.
Taylor, Alex S. and Harper, Richard H. R. (2003): The Gift of the Gab?: A Design Oriented Sociology of Young People's Use of Mobiles. In Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 12 (3) pp. 267-296.
This paper reports ethnographically informed observations of the use of mobile phones and text messaging services amongst young people. It offers a sociological explanation for the popularity of text messaging and for the sharing of mobile phones between co-proximate persons. Specifically, it reveals that young people use mobile phone content and the phones themselves to participate in the practices of gift exchange. By viewing mobile phone use in this way, the paper suggests a number of possibilities for future phone-based applications and supporting hardware.
© All rights reserved Taylor and Harper and/or Kluwer Academic Publishers
Taylor, Alex S. and Harper, Richard H. R. (2002): Age-old practices in the 'new world': a study of gift-giving between teenage mobile phone users. In: Terveen, Loren (ed.) Proceedings of the ACM CHI 2002 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Conference April 20-25, 2002, Minneapolis, Minnesota. pp. 439-446.
Newman, William M., Taylor, Alex S., Dance, Christopher R. and Taylor, Stuart A. (2000): Performance Targets, Models and Innovation in Interactive System Design. In: Proceedings of DIS00: Designing Interactive Systems: Processes, Practices, Methods, & Techniques 2000. pp. 381-387. Available online
This paper presents an approach to designing interactive systems that enables critical performance parameters to be identified and models of performance to be constructed. The methods described are intended to enable designers to improve the performance of systems, and the provision of performance targets is expected to encourage innovation in design. An example is quoted in which digital camera technology was applied to the support of authors using paper source documents, to enable them to capture source text more rapidly and thus increase their productivity, measured in terms of words per hour. A model of the capture task was constructed, and was used to set a target time for capturing short text segments. This target was presented to a design team, who responded with an innovative interface incorporating auto-completion. A prototype auto-completion tool demonstrated that the performance target could be met.
© All rights reserved Newman et al. and/or ACM Press
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