Eat This Book: User-centered research and software design using the information diet metaphor to examine media consumption and design an ambient technology display for stashes of to-be-read ebooks
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There are widespread concerns about how changes in media and technologies are affecting people's media habits. Clay Johnson (2012) proposes using the metaphor of an "information diet" to consider this as a health issue, to which insights from the realm of food and diet can be usefully applied. This thesis describes using the information diet metaphor in a user-centered design investigation of the domain of media consumption. Qualitative research interviews with 10 subjects provide evidence about both the validity and the limits of the information diet metaphor. The general utility of using metaphor in the research phase of design is also discussed. Insights from the domain of food diets are considered to help people gain more control of their media consumption. Numerous functional gaps, missing affordances, and unmet needs that face today's media consumers are identified. Change strategies from the realm of food that may be applied to media consumption are also identified. A model of media stashing is derived from the interviews. Qualities of paper books which are missing from ebooks are identified, and the impact of those missing qualities on stashing functionality is examined. An ambient display of a digital "to-be-read" shelf which delivers previously-unavailable stashing functionality for readers of ebooks is explored through design-based research with prototypes. Numerous design considerations for such slow technology solutions are identified. Prototype code is available as an open-source project on GitHub.