Landscapes, Long Tails and Digital Materialities: Implications for Mobile HCI Research

Landscapes, Long Tails and Digital Materialities: Implications for Mobile HCI Research

Mikael Wiberg (Uppsala University, Sweden)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/jmhci.2012010103
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Abstract

Mobile HCI is changing. From being about, for example, UI design for small devices, interaction via limited input modalities, and design for small screens, these important aspects of mobile HCI are now heavily interwoven in complex arrangements of computational devices, platforms and services. With a point of departure taken in these processes of current development, this paper sets out to describe and envision a research agenda for mobile HCI carefully crafted out in relation to three specific and recent developments in this field. More specifically, these strands of developments include the formation of new interaction landscapes, the long tail of interaction, and digital materialities. This paper presents the background of each followed by examples illustrating how these three manifest themselves in practice. With a point of departure taken in these three cornerstones a research agenda is presented followed by a discussion on the implications of this agenda for mobile HCI research.
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Introduction: Ubiquitous Mobile Use

The world is changing, and so are our computational landscapes. As to illustrate this development we notice how “social media”, only 5 years was something altogether different than from what it is today. Back in 2006 the social networking service Facebook was just released, but only two years later it had around 500 million users (Nazir et al., 2008) and is now rapidly increasing towards 900 million users. Further on, about 10 years ago we had a discussion in the field of mobile HCI on the development of the mobile web (WAP) vs. the development of the Internet (e.g., Anantharam, 2002; Buchanan et al., 2001; Chittaro & Cin, 2002). Today, the Internet, social media and mobile devices are heavily intertwined both technically as well as in practice. From being about UI design for small mobile devices, limited input modalities (e.g., Paelke et al., 2004) and small screens (e.g., Qiu et al., 2004), these important aspects of mobile HCI are now interwoven in complex arrangements of devices, platforms and services. As such, the field of mobile HCI is literary re-forming. Today there are around 5 billion mobile phones in the world, and phenomena such as smart mobs (Reingold, 2002) and mobile twitter revolutions are now part of our everyday mobile life.

Mobile technologies and its use are truly ubiquitous today and are as such following the Weiserian vision of how these technologies would “weave themselves into the fabrics of our everyday lives…” (Weiser, 1991).

With this development the field of mobile HCI is also changing and with that comes calls for new research agendas capable of addressing the current developments in this area. This paper sets out to address this need.

In similar lines of development other calls for updated research agendas has recently been published. One of these recent examples includes the experiential computing research agenda proposed by Yoo (2010) in which Yoo argues that there is a need for the IS – Information Systems discipline to acknowledge trends such as the wide adoption of the iPod and the ubiquitous use of camera phones and accordingly adjust their research agenda to incorporate phenomenological approaches to everyday computing. Another example and call for an updated research agenda is proposed by Tilson et al. (2010) in which it is argued that digital convergence calls for a research agenda focused on “digital infrastructures” as to address the current developments in the field.

This paper specifically sets out to present and describe a number of cases leading in the direction of the need for an updated research agenda for mobile HCI. More specifically, the aim is to illustrate this need through a walkthrough of a number of cases that illustrate the current development of new interaction landscapes, the long tail of interaction, and digital materialities. In this paper I present the background for each of these three strands of development a research agenda is presented followed by a discussion on the implications of this agenda for mobile HCI research.

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