Paper about user's expectations when using LBS

Lately I am more and more returning to my earlier reading about location-awareness from 2 years back, maybe it's because I am writing journal papers and I need some connections with my work. This morning I re-read this paper from Journal of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing: User needs for location-aware mobile services by Eija Kaasinen (Pers Ubiquit Comput (2003) 7: 70–79). A paper I blogged about in 2004 I guess. The paper is interesting with regard to the user's expectations and usage of location-based services. Here some excerpts I found relevant. First about the goal:

We have carried out several empirical studies to study user attitudes, needs and preferences for location-aware services. We started with scenario evaluations in group interviews. The aim of this evaluation was to study broadly the attitudes of the potential users towards different personal navigation services (...)We have also evaluated with users different commercial location-aware services in Finland: Benefon Esc! used together with a Yellow Pages short message service (SMS), the user can get information on nearby services as well as their location, which the Benefon Esc! can display on the map screen. (...) Sonera Pointer services that utilised cell-based positioning. Pointer Bensa (Gasoline) gave information on the cheapest gasoline stations in the vicinity of the user. Pointer Opas (Guide) offered information about the district around the user...

Then some of the results:

criticism of new technology was brought up in many group interviews. A predestined and over-controlled environment was seen as dubious, and the interviewees did not accept the rational and purpose-oriented attitude to life that they identified in the scenarios. In addition, some of the scenarios, for instance proactive shopping and exhibition guides, were seen as going too far beyond the real needs of people. (...) Our interviews with potential users and the user evaluations of some of the first location-aware services point out that user expectations are high and that the users in Finland at the time of the evaluations trusted current service providers and policy-makers for issues related to privacy protection. This constitutes a good starting point for location-aware services. It did not occur to most users that they could be located when using location-aware services. This puts additional responsibility on the service providers and policy makers. (...) The users need seamless service chains that serve them throughout their mobile activity, e.g. planning, searching services, finding the route as well as visiting and storing information.

Why do I blog this? The article raises important concerns, especially about users' expectations and how they feel being tracked (or not feeling it!). However, I am quit skeptical about the last thing: I don't really think a seamless service is really possible and it's maybe better to design applications that take advantage of seams (Ã la Chalmers) or to educate users.

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