Context Awareness

Your constantly-updated definition of Context Awareness and collection of videos and articles

What is Context Awareness?

Context awareness is a criterion in UX design that focuses on the users’ context of use. Context-aware UX adapts to the social, emotional and physical environment of the user.

Show Hide video transcript
  1. Transcript loading…

Therefore, designers can use sensor-based data from devices—including location, time, activity, environment, etc.—to adapt their designs to the user's real-time context and provide an optimized experience. This is critical in mobile User Experience (UX) design.

Other Factors in Context Awareness

Smart devices have also expanded the possible contexts of use beyond smartphones and desktops. For example, smart thermostats and smart homes might adjust their behaviors to the time of day or whether a person is home.

Factors such as location or time of day might also affect the layout of a design. Some applications will use location data to detect when a person is driving and adopt a minimalist design to not distract the driver.

Context awareness should also be sensitive to the user's emotional state. High-stress environments use formal and calming colors, layouts and tones of voice. Entertainment interfaces might be more playful, colorful and whimsical.

Learn More About Context Awareness

Take our course: Mobile UX Design: The Beginner's Guide.

Literature on Context Awareness

Here’s the entire UX literature on Context Awareness by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:

Learn more about Context Awareness

Take a deep dive into Context Awareness with our course Mobile UX Design: The Beginner's Guide .

In the “Build Your Portfolio” project, you’ll find a series of practical exercises that will give you first-hand experience with the methods we cover. You will build on your project in each lesson so once you have completed the course you will have a thorough case study for your portfolio.

Mobile User Experience Design: Introduction, has been built on evidence-based research and practice. It is taught by the CEO of, Frank Spillers, author, speaker and internationally respected Senior Usability practitioner.

All open-source articles on Context Awareness

Please check the value and try again.

Open Access—Link to us!

We believe in Open Access and the democratization of knowledge. Unfortunately, world-class educational materials such as this page are normally hidden behind paywalls or in expensive textbooks.

If you want this to change, , link to us, or join us to help us democratize design knowledge!

Share Knowledge, Get Respect!

Share on:

or copy link

Cite according to academic standards

Simply copy and paste the text below into your bibliographic reference list, onto your blog, or anywhere else. You can also just hyperlink to this page.

Interaction Design Foundation - IxDF. (2017, February 9). What is Context Awareness?. Interaction Design Foundation - IxDF.

New to UX Design? We’re Giving You a Free ebook!

The Basics of User Experience Design

Download our free ebook The Basics of User Experience Design to learn about core concepts of UX design.

In 9 chapters, we’ll cover: conducting user interviews, design thinking, interaction design, mobile UX design, usability, UX research, and many more!

A valid email address is required.
313,284 designers enjoy our newsletter—sure you don’t want to receive it?