Designing and evaluating mobile multimedia user experiences in public urban places : Making sense of the field

Seeburger, Jan, Foth, Marcus, & Tjondronegoro, Dian W. (2012) Designing and evaluating mobile multimedia user experiences in public urban places : Making sense of the field. In Tjondronegoro, Dian W. (Ed.) Mobile Multimedia - User and Technology Perspectives. InTech, Rijeka, Croatia, pp. 117-132.

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The majority of the world’s population now lives in cities (United Nations, 2008) resulting in an urban densification requiring people to live in closer proximity and share urban infrastructure such as streets, public transport, and parks within cities. However, “physical closeness does not mean social closeness” (Wellman, 2001, p. 234). Whereas it is a common practice to greet and chat with people you cross paths with in smaller villages, urban life is mainly anonymous and does not automatically come with a sense of community per se. Wellman (2001, p. 228) defines community “as networks of interpersonal ties that provide sociability, support, information, a sense of belonging and social identity.”

While on the move or during leisure time, urban dwellers use their interactive information communication technology (ICT) devices to connect to their spatially distributed community while in an anonymous space. Putnam (1995) argues that available technology privatises and individualises the leisure time of urban dwellers. Furthermore, ICT is sometimes used to build a “cocoon” while in public to avoid direct contact with collocated people (Mainwaring et al., 2005; Bassoli et al., 2007; Crawford, 2008). Instead of using ICT devices to seclude oneself from the surrounding urban environment and the collocated people within, such devices could also be utilised to engage urban dwellers more with the urban environment and the urban dwellers within.

Urban sociologists found that “what attracts people most, it would appear, is other people” (Whyte, 1980, p. 19) and “people and human activity are the greatest object of attention and interest” (Gehl, 1987, p. 31). On the other hand, sociologist Erving Goffman describes the concept of civil inattention, acknowledging strangers’ presence while in public but not interacting with them (Goffman, 1966). With this in mind, it appears that there is a contradiction between how people are using ICT in urban public places and for what reasons and how people use public urban places and how they behave and react to other collocated people. On the other hand there is an opportunity to employ ICT to create and influence experiences of people collocated in public urban places.

The widespread use of location aware mobile devices equipped with Internet access is creating networked localities, a digital layer of geo-coded information on top of the physical world (Gordon & de Souza e Silva, 2011). is an example of a location based 118 Mobile Multimedia – User and Technology Perspectives social network (LBSN) that enables urban dwellers to virtually check-in into places at which they are physically present in an urban space. Users compete over ‘mayorships’ of places with Foursquare friends as well as strangers and can share recommendations about the space.

The research field of Urban Informatics is interested in these kinds of digital urban multimedia augmentations and how such augmentations, mediated through technology, can create or influence the UX of public urban places. “Urban informatics is the study, design, and practice of urban experiences across different urban contexts that are created by new opportunities of real-time, ubiquitous technology and the augmentation that mediates the physical and digital layers of people networks and urban infrastructures” (Foth et al., 2011, p. 4). One possibility to augment the urban space is to enable citizens to digitally interact with spaces and urban dwellers collocated in the past, present, and future. “Adding digital layer to the existing physical and social layers could facilitate new forms of interaction that reshape urban life” (Kjeldskov & Paay, 2006, p. 60).

This methodological chapter investigates how the design of UX through such digital placebased mobile multimedia augmentations can be guided and evaluated. First, we describe three different applications that aim to create and influence the urban UX through mobile mediated interactions. Based on a review of literature, we describe how our integrated framework for designing and evaluating urban informatics experiences has been constructed. We conclude the chapter with a reflective discussion on the proposed framework.

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ID Code: 48177
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: User Experience, Urban Informatics, Mobile Mediated Interactions
DOI: 10.5772/39050
ISBN: 9789533079080
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > DISTRIBUTED COMPUTING (080500) > Mobile Technologies (080502)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > DISTRIBUTED COMPUTING (080500) > Ubiquitous Computing (080504)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > INFORMATION SYSTEMS (080600) > Computer-Human Interaction (080602)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Institutes > Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 The authors and InTechOpen.
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Deposited On: 23 Jan 2012 01:02
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2015 00:30

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