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Title: Exploring the design, deployment and use of Hermes : a system: of situated digital interactive office door displays
Author: Fitton, Daniel
ISNI:       0000 0001 3467 7915
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2006
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This thesis explores the design, deployment and use of a system of interactive display-based ubicomp prototypes deployed outside office doors in the Computing Department at Lancaster University, referred to as the Hermes system. The Hermes system provided a groupware application supporting asynchronous messaging facilities, analogous to a digital form of Post-it notes, to help support awareness and coordination. Occupants of offices equipped with Hermes displays (display owners) were able to manually share personal context in the form of short textual messages (e.g. 'Gone for coffee' or 'Running 15 minutes late') or images. One novel aspect of the work on Hermes was longitudinal deployment outside of the lab which allowed exploration of adoption and use from door display owners. A key aim of the work on Hermes was the involvement of display owners in the design process in order to avoid purely technology-led design. This was done through the use of a questionnaire, a semi-structured interview, informal feedback and discussion with display owners during deployment. This user-centred approach generated valuable feedback to generate new requirements and features to help inform the design which would not otherwise have been available. Additionally, the Hermes prototypes acted as a form of technology probe: logging enabled the collection of usage data and deployment of a technically simple prototype helped inspire new design ideas and feedback from display owners. The design of the Hermes system and analysis of use focused primarily on the owners of door displays. In order for the user-centred and technology-probe based approach to be successful, owners were required to adopt the prototypes and use them as part of their daily routines. Therefore, crucial to the success of this approach during longitudinal deployment was refining the design and adding features to lower the cost of initial adoption and use. For example, adding features to help the prototype fit in which owners existing routines. Supporting adoption took precedence over areas such as design of the underlying system architecture and was the key metric when selecting features to implement from those suggested by owners or technically feasible. One particular challenge raised by the need to support adoption and maintain use during a longitudinal deployment was the requirement for high levels of reliability. This challenge was addressed numerous times and highlighted the need to help maintain a user's trust, for example, by providing notification of failure in order to avoid trust-damaging experiences of unreliability. The major contributions of his thesis are: 1) an exploration of the longitudinal deployment of a digital display-based ubicomp system providing asynchronous messaging within a university department, 2) an understanding of the adoption and appropriation of the system and 3) an understanding of the use of the system to share personal context in order to support awareness and coordination.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available