From “anytime, anywhere” to “here and now”: place and time restrictions in mobile narratives to enhance situated engagement of mobile users
Wiesner, Kevin (2009) From “anytime, anywhere” to “here and now”: place and time restrictions in mobile narratives to enhance situated engagement of mobile users. Other thesis, Technical University of Munich.
The usage of the mobile Internet has increased tremendously within the last couple of years, and thereby the vision of accessing information anytime, anywhere has become more realistic and a dominant design principle for providing content. However, this study challenges this paradigm of unlimited and unrestricted access, and explores the question whether constraints and restrictions can positively influence the motivation and enticement of mobile users to engage with location-specific content. Restrictions, such as a particular time or location that gives a user access to content, may be used to foster participation and engagement, as well as to support content production and to enhance the user’s experience.
In order to explore this, a Mobile Narrative and a Narrative Map have been created. For the former, the access to individual chapters of the story was restricted. Authors can specify constraints, such as a location or time, which need to be met by the reader if they want to read the story. This concept allows creative writers of the story to exploit the fact that the reader’s context is known, by intensifying the user experience and integrating this knowledge into the writing process. The latter, the Narrative Map, provides users with extracts from stories or information snippets about authors at relevant locations. In both concepts, a feedback channel was also integrated, on which location, time, and size constraints were imposed.
In a user-centred design process involving authors and potential readers, those concepts have been implemented, followed by an evaluation comprising four user studies. The results show that restrictions and constraints can indeed lead to more enticing and engaging user experiences, and restricted contribution opportunities can lead to a higher motivation to participate as well as to an improved quality of submissions. These findings are relevant for future developments in the area of mobile narratives and creative writing, as well as for common mobile services that aim for enticing user experiences.
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