Location awareness and rendezvousing

Dearman, D., Hawkey, K. and Inkpen, K.M. Rendezvousing with location-aware devices: Enhancing social coordination. Interacting with Computers 17, 5 (2005), 542-566. A very interesting paper directly connected to my current research about the influence of location-awareness on collaboration. It examines how location awareness impacts social coordination when rendezvousing.

This paper presents a field study investigating the use of mobile location-aware devices for rendezvous activities. Participants took part in one of three mobile device conditions (a mobile phone, a location-aware handheld, or both a mobile phone and a location-aware handheld) and completed three rendezvousing scenarios. The results reveal key differences in communication patterns between the mediums, as well as the potential strengths and limitations of location-aware devices for social coordination. (...) close observation of the behavioural and communication differences demonstrates that the technology available significantly altered how the participants’ managed their social coordination

Results about the functions of location-awareness were quite pertinent too (as in my case, they also found detrimental effects of it):

Having access to location-awareness information has obvious benefits. Users can make more informed decisions and have a stronger sense of ambient virtual co-presence. The participants in our study made extensive use of location-awareness information as a background communication channel to monitor their partner’s location (as well as their own) in an unobtrusive manner. (...) we observed instances where location-awareness information was extremely beneficial and other instances where it was detrimental. It was beneficial because participants could see their partner’s location and track their progress in an unobtrusive manner. This arguably provided the waiting partner with enough information to wait contently. However, when their partner appeared to be lost or not making progress, it was very disconcerting to the waiting partner because they did not have enough information to determine what the problem was. This uncertainty was strong enough in some cases to actually draw the waiting partner away from the rendezvous location.

Why do I blog this? this goes straight to my literature review.