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Misc (mostly mobile comm, IM, TM, etc)

Wan2tlk?: Everyday Text Messaging, Beki Grinter and Margery Eldridge
BibTex: grinterwan2tlk

This paper presents a study of British teenagers' everyday text messaging use. The study was conducted in Sept-Oct 2000 and used 10 15-16 y.o.'s, 5 boys and 5 girls. They collected 3 types of data: a pre-study questionaire, a self reported logging diary study, and discussion groups. (Ask Beki about her notation that the teens were "hesitant about being directly observed".)

For the purposes of analyzing the diary study, they defined a useful vocuabulary for discussing SMS messages. A conversation was any SMS event. You can further break down conversations into singles, those messages to which no response was sent, and threads. The study contained 223 conversations and an almost 50/50 split with 113 singles and 110 threads. They also categorized all conversations into 3 categories: Communication Coordinations, Planning Activities, Chatting and Other. (I think this might be slightly limiting, but would have to see the study data. Ancedotely, my IM conversations often drift back and forth between these categories. Are SMS conversations more compact or concise? Or were those identified as different conversations? Ask Beki...) Of these categories, Communication Coordinations were almost 1/4 of all conversations. They note that since teenagers share most communication resources with other family members (landline, computer,
etc), SMS was wholly the teens. The teens also used SMS to coordination future interactions in a different medium (face-to-face or actual phone conversations). Another useful metric defined in this paper is that for regular contacts, the # of people required to obtain 50% of an individual's conversations when ranked from most conversations to least. They categorized 12 types of abbreviations and acronyms with ad-hoc abbreviations being most prevalent (18%) and foreign letters (<1%) being the least used.

Going Wireless: Behavior & Practice of New Mobile Phone Users, Leysia Palen, Marilyn Salzman, and Ed Youngs
BibTex: palengoing

This study tracked 19 users who were new to digital mobile telephony (one was familiar with analog service). This was a qualitative user study over 6 weeks using a diary method. As an interesting variant, they used a voice mail diary system. Participants could call a voice mail number and leave a report of their mobile phone activities. (They were paid extra for this. $1/day). Three interviews were conducted: an initial "out of the box" interview, an interview after two weeks, and the third
after 4-6 weeks of ownership.

One of the central points of this paper is the differences in perceived uses and the actual uses. Most people thought they would use the phone for one thing, and one thing only (e.g. "safety", "business calls", etc.). However, after 4-6 weeks of use, most people found themselves using the phone in a variety of ways which had never been available to them before. Of particular note was how useful mobile telephony was to blue-collar workers. Business people tended to have access to a
secondary phone (i.e. an office phone), but blue collar workers tended to work in a dynamic environment in which they didn't have a stable, secondary phone. Participants also experienced a dramatic shift in their perceptions of social propriety of the use of mobile phones. Most participants were dramatically against driving while talking or using the phones in public, but changed those opinions after several weeks.

Integrating the Periphery and Context: A New Taxonomy of Telematics, Bill Buxton
BibTex: buxtonperiphery

One of the main issues with this paper is the sharp distinction Buxton draws between foreground and background. Is that really a black and white issue?

It introduces a system called "Portholes" which was essentially an early version of webcams distributed throughout PARC and EuroPARC. He presents this as an example of seamless transitions between background and foreground. The taxonomy defined in this paper is 2 axis with
Human/Human Communication (computer mediated communications) and Human/Computer Communication on one axis and Foreground or Background Interaction on the other axis. A big thrust of this paper is the
seamless transitions between these quadrants.

Question of trust? False negatives and positives?

Bringing Socio-cultural Contexts into Activities: A Localization Study of Mobile Text Messaging Use, Huatong Sun
BibTex: sunsociocultural

This paper posits a new framework for looking at technologies which bridge cultures: cultural usability which the author claims traditional usability theories ignore. I don't particularly agree with his hypotesis (I do think that traditional usability accounts for human differences such as physical abilities or cultures. He mentions a user study (presumably in progress) which is diary and
observationally based.

However the paper does have some useful points which bear further thought:

1) "Why is mobile text messaging so popular even though mobile phones are not a good tool for the task?" This could be a very interesting implication to the Deaf community. Why do Deaf kids use a phone instead of a pager (if they do?)?

2) Lookup Hall's "circuit of culture" - the 5 key processes an artifact goes through: representation, identity, production, consumption, and regulation.

3) He defines "frequent user" as someone who sends >5 messages a day.

In a "well, duh" finding, the author says his methods indicate that sms might be so popular because it allows people to stay connected thus fulfilling emotional needs. (Ling and Yttri prove this much more
effectively, but this is not necessarily a CS student's work).

Mobile Lifestyles, Robbie Blinkoff and Matt Barranca
BibTex: blinkofflifestyles

This is a "market report" from an ethnographic research firm. They apparently tried to define the main things people look for when they buy and/or use their mobile phones. Their major findings were:
1) Help me manage my relationships
2) Help me experience the unexpected
3) Help me make sense of mobile stress
The last point was by far their most interesting. They discovered that different age groups have different concepts of stress derived from their mobiles with middle school/teenagers having the least. Older adults feel "the issue of accountability to personal and professional relationships" is a major source of stress. THey hypothesize this is due to younger kids having no frame of reference (i.e. not being able to remember life w/o a mobile.). Adults remember when their work couldn't get to them at
home or on vacation, essentially.

Teen Use of Messaging Media, Shiano, Chen, Ginsberg, Gretarsdottir, Huddleson, and Isaacs
BibTex: schianoteenuse

This was a general survey done on teen messaging use which was a poster in CHI 2002. I've emailed for the full report. It was a combination of a survey (65 total, 23M,38F) and ethnographic interviews (13 total, 6M,7F) of teens in the Silicon Valley area. They also included an interesting task of mapping social relationships. So, major findings:

  1. Email - not a high use of email. Only a few messages in inbox. Checked once a night. No gender differences
  2. IM - 40% of young teens vs. 28% of 12th graders IM "all the time". Younger girls IM more than any other age group. Older teens said they had more direct access to friends (car, later curfews, etc) which cut down on IM use). IMing w/ 1-2 people at a time was common.
  3. Cell phones - Owned more by older teens (64% to 10%) While bought mainly for safety reasons by parents, teens used them more for direct private connections, and the hypercoordination allowed by them.
  4. Home phones - Most commonly used communication medium. Girls spend significantly more time on the phone. More "personal" than other forms of communication.

Social Networks: Close friends tended to contact each other via all media. IM alone was used for "acquaintances" and remote people.

Teens in general were more familiar than skilled with technology. Younger users more concerned with "coolness" and older teens with the utility.

Characterizing Instant Messaging from Recorded Logs Isaacs, Kamm, Schiano, Walendowski, and Whittaker
BibTex: isaacscharacterizingim

This was a short paper about IM use. It was based off a research IM client (Hubbub) and the authors logged and analyzed all messages sent by the clients. The result was that frequent IMers have longer, faster-paced interactions with shorter turns, more threading, and more multitasking than do infrequent users. (These were corporate users at AT&T labs.) Unsurprisingly, pairs who interact frequently have longer interactions than rare partners. Also, this study found that IM is used only occasionally to switch media (e.g. to phone, email, etc.).

Designing Sound Tools and Toys for Blind and Visually Impaired Children, Joanne McElligott and Lieselotte van Leeuwen
BibTex: mcelligottsound

This paper details the development of three experiences for blind and vi children, how to incorporate those design issues at the beginning of the process using inclusive design. The 3 scenarios are:

1) World Aloud - This is a surround sound game environment designed exclusively for blind/vi children. They designed a prototype which allowed children to move to sounds, catch moving sounds, place sounds,
and throw sounds. They found the children had few problems locating the sounds, but were far better at pointing to them then describing the location. The children had problems moving "into" a sound was
problematic, however.

2) Surrounding Self - This is a sound workstation designed to allow blind/vi children self expression through sound (DJ scratching, sound effects, voice editing, etc). They did a formative study and discovered the children were very highly motivated to play with such a system, and the technology was accessible. They suggest long-term research to discount the novelty factor and develop workbooks for
self-directed learning and play.

3) Monster Hospital - This was designed to explore how blind/vi children associated sounds with tactile sensations. Three sessions were conducted. The first asked children how monsters should sound (using sound equipment), the second asked them how monsters should feel (variety of materials), and the third asked them to build a monster using the two previous methods combined. They found that
equal attention was devoted to the audio and tactile components of the design and that the fabrics were integral to the children's vocalizations and expression of their monster.

Managing One's Social Network: Does Age Make a Difference? Hilary Smith, Yvonne Rogers, and Mark Brady
BibTex: smithsocialnetworks

This paper details the results of an ethnographic study about people's social networks. The authors used a two part process. The first step was getting various age groups (16-18, late twenties-early thirties, and post-50)(6 in each group) to map their social networks. They were given flipchart paper, colored pens, pencils, stickers etc. They made the map any way they wanted to, but were asked to indicate how they communicated with each person (letter, email, phone, SMS, IM). The maps were photographed and then taken home by the participants to enhance if necessary. The next week they were interviewed about their maps. The findings were:
1) Teens had the largest social networks, and exerted considerable effort keeping contacts up to date\
2) 25-35 y.o. used the most technologies and have contact details scattered over devices
3) Post-50 focused most on close friends and families. Much smaller networks, and are less likely to use newer technologies (IM, SMS).

A weakness of this paper is that it tends to ignore social reasons for these findings. For example, cost could be used to explain the findings in teenagers since they usually see their friends at school and don't have money to pay for lots of long distance phone calls or a mobile.

Mak-Messenger and Finger-Chat, Communications Technologies to Assist in the Teaching of Signed Languages to the Deaf and Hearing, James Ohene-Djan, Robert Zimmer, James Bassett-Cross, Andrew Mould, Ben Cosh

This paper details some very simple interfaces enabling deaf-hearing communication. Finger-chat is an IM client with a variety of languages. It can present the text in either English or pictoral fingerspelling. A server sends the strings, but the client can display multiple ways. Mak-Messenger is a sign-writing client which allows the user to "type" by selecting pictoral signs on the screen. The paper is very short and does not address that these are not in any form natural sign language. A serious problem is no evidence of user studies, or even user involvement in the design process. I can't imagine using such a system at all.

An Intelligent Tutoring System for Deaf Learners of Written English, Lisa N. Michaud, Kathleen F. McCoy, and Christopher A. Pennington
BibTex: michauddeaftutoring

Tutoring system made for correcting the written English of native or near-native signers. This was the beginning stages of this project, but the researchers obviously are well informed and v. knowledgable about the Deaf community and the issues within it.

The proposed system delves pretty deeply into the NLP world and the problems resulting from it. There is some work on the adaptive/intelligent portion of the system which would eventually customize the responses to the individual user and adapt with them. Another problem, which the authors note, is that they are unsure how much trouble the users would have with written English prompts that the system uses. I should look into more recent work and/or user studies on this.

User Sensitive Inclusive Design - in search of a new paradigm, Alan F. Newell and Peter Gregor
BibTex: sensitivenewell

Paper argues for "design for most" rather than "design for all". Makes the point that practical steps, even if they're small are more acceptable than paralysis resulting from trying to please everyone and solve all problems.

Mobile Communication Culture of Children and Teenagers in Finland, ???
BibTex: finlandmobile

qualitative research project from 1997–2001 regarding children and mobile technology
used interviews, journals, photographs, collages, drawings, sms logging
major trends:
  1. status symbol, showing off
  2. conscious appropriation of device, abolishing "business" aura of device
  3. both personal expression and standard equipment
  4. moral dilemma for ownership in young children
  5. technologization of life for teens

  1. Under 10: mobile comm. directed to families, difficult UI, child–like communication, looking after device
  2. 10-12: mobile fever, process of becoming independent, interest in device as expression/personalization.
  3. 13-15: construction and maintenance of social network, affective (emotive) communication
  4. 16-18: importance of defining personal space, natural part of life

Cultural ways of talking about children's relationship to technology:
  1. death of creativity and initiative
  2. irrevocable information society development; technological determinism
  3. technology hype, technology optimism => solve world's problems
  4. part of everyday life; merely communication device

Hyper–coordination via mobile phones in Norway, Rich Ling and Birgitte Yttri

micro-coordination: instrumental or functional use
hyper-coordination: expressive use of phone 1)emotional and social communication 2)mobile device and personalization

group interviews

interesting taxonomy of forms for interaction via mobile telephone

The Character, Functions, and Styles of Instant Messaging in the Workplace, Isaacs, Walendowski, Whittaker, Schiano and Kamm
BibTex: issaacscharacter

Studies IM in the workplace.

Primary use in workplace was for complex work discussions.
28% were simple, single pupose communications
31% about scheduling/coordination
Heavy users use IM to work together, faced paced interaction, many short turns, multithreading and multitasking common
Light users use IM to coordinate and schedule. fewer conversations per day, shorter, slower paced.

Prediction and Conversational Momentum in an Augmentative Communication System, Norman Alm, John Arnott, and Alan Newell

Paper discusses an AAC device that uses conversational patterns. Basically starts with the opening conversational pieces (bid for attention, verbal salute, identificaion, personal inquiry, and smalltalk) and closing conversational pieces (transition signals, exchange of phatic remarks, and exchange of farewells). Work on interface requiring minimal physical effort with device. Also allows for mood changes. Minimal user studies, some w/ non-impaired users.

Saying it all in 160 Characters:Four classes of SMS conversations, Louise Barkhuus and Anna Vallgarda

Instant Messaging and the Future of Language, Naomi S. Baron

Position piece on the use of CMC and how it is affecting the English language. Makes point of needing to teach strong fundamental skills, but not outlawing or condemming less formal, internet language without complete study. Understand difference between normative and creative uses of language. Other work suggests that when teens transition to college they shed some of their bad language anyway.

Electronic Mail for the Hearing Impaired and Its Potential for Other Disabilities, Barbara J. Wagreich

Interaction and Outeraction: Instant Messaging in Action, Nardi, Whittaker, and Bradner

Last modified 29 September 2005 at 10:37 am by Valerie Henderson