Location-awareness sharing and affordances in the subway

Two recent articles about location-based platforms caught my eyes Seeburger, J., & Schroeter, R. (2009, Nov 23-27). Disposable Maps: Ad hoc Location Sharing. In J. Kjeldskov, J. Paay & S. Viller (Eds.), Proceedings OZCHI 2009 (pp. 377-380). Melbourne, VIC: The University of Melbourne.

"The gathering of people in everyday life is intertwined with travelling to negotiated locations. As a result, mobile phones are often used to rearrange meetings when one or more participants are late or cannot make it on time. Our research is based on the hypothesis that the provision of location data can enhance the experience of people who are meeting each other in different locations. This paper presents work-in-progress on a novel approach to share one’s location data in real-time which is visualised on a web-based map in a privacy conscious way. Disposable Maps allows users to select contacts from their phone’s address book who then receive up-to-date location data. The utilisation of peer-to-peer notifications and the application of unique URLs for location storage and presentation enable location sharing whilst ensuring users’ location privacy. In contrast to other location sharing services like Google Latitude, Disposable Maps enables ad hoc location sharing to actively selected location receivers for a fixed period of time in a specific given situation. We present first insights from an initial application user test and show future work on the approach of disposable information allocation."

(Thanks Antonio!)

Belloni, Nicolas and Holmquist, Lars Erik and Tholander, Jakob (2009)See you on the subway: exploring mobile social software. In: In Proceedings of the 27th international Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 4-9 April 2009, Boston, USA.

"This project explores the social possibilities of mobile technology in transitional spaces such as public transport. Based on a cultural probes study of Stockholm subway commuters, we designed a location- based friend finder that displays only people in the same train as the user. (...) The interviews showed that the users did not always have an obvious idea for what actions to take once they realized that a friend was on the same train (...) This points to the complexity a social situation like this and the multitude of social layers that comes into play for designers of social services. In this case, it seems like the user didn‟t feel close enough to his work colleague for taking contact at this particular moment. (...) Adding the possibility to call the person or send a text message could be one of functionalities improving the user experience."

Why do I blog this? Collecting material for current projects about location-based services. Both papers describe relevant studies about the user experience of location-awareness and the complexity of building social applications on top of it.