Busy families’ awareness needs

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Abstract

This work examines how awareness systems, a class of technologies that support sustained and effortless communication between individuals and groups, can support family communication. Going beyond the evaluation of specific design concepts, this paper reports on three studies that aimed to answer the following research questions: (a) Do families want to be aware of each other through the day? Or, would they perhaps rather not know more about each other's activities and whereabouts than they already do? (b) If they do wish to have some awareness, what should they be aware of? The research involved in-depth interviews with 20 participants, a field trial of an awareness system connecting five "busy" parents with their children and a survey of 69 participants conducted over the web. Triangulation of the results of the three studies leads to the following conclusions: (a) Some busy parents want to automatically exchange awareness information during the day while others do not. (b) Availability of partner for coordinating family activities, daily activities in new family situations, activity, and location information of dependent children are salient awareness information needs for this group. (c) Awareness information needs to vary with contexts, suggesting the need for flexible mechanisms to manage the sharing of such information.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-153
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Human-Computer Studies
Volume67
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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