Communicating Meaning in Context-Aware System Design
Bauer, Jared Scott
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Computers play an increasingly personal role in our daily lives. Rather than interacting with computers primarily at work or for specialized tasks, computers are now present in virtually all our daily activities. The increased prevalence of technology in our lives has encouraged a rethinking of how technology is designed and developed. Where the focus of human-computer interaction was once on improving efficiency, there is growing awareness that the focus should shift to the user’s relationship with technology. This shift has also emphasized the importance of understanding the situated nature of meaning and meaning making. This reorientation toward our relationship with technology and meaning-making leaves open an important question, “how can the user’s meaning be conveyed to the technologies we design?” In my dissertation, I explored this question in three ways. First, I empirically study the practices of context-aware system designers. Second, I conducted a lab study investigating how individuals create context-specific music recommendations. Finally, building off the findings from the lab study, I designed, developed, and evaluated a novel interface type that helps users personalize context-aware music recommendations. Findings from this dissertation illustrate strategies that users draw on in meaning-making, as well as the mismatches between these strategies and the metadata systems rely on to respond. Furthermore, this dissertation contributes insight into the design of systems that enable users to negotiate the relationship between their meaning and context.
- Information science