End user programming of awareness systems : addressing cognitive and social challenges for interaction with aware environments

G. Metaxas

    Research output: ThesisPhd Thesis 1 (Research TU/e / Graduation TU/e)

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    The thesis is put forward that social intelligence in awareness systems emerges from end-Users themselves through the mechanisms that support them in the development and maintenance of such systems. For this intelligence to emerge three challenges have to be addressed, namely the challenge of appropriate awareness abstractions, the challenge of supportive interactive tools, and the challenge of infrastructure. The thesis argues that in order to advance towards social intelligent awareness systems, we should be able to interpret and predict the success or failure of such systems in relationship to their communicational objectives and their implications for the social interactions they support. The FN-AAR (Focus-Nimbus Aspects Attributes Resources) model is introduced as a formal model which by capturing the general characteristics of the awareness-systems domain allows predictions about socially salient patterns pertaining to human communication and brings clarity to the discussion around relevant concepts such as social translucency, symmetry, and deception. The thesis recognizes that harnessing the benefits of context awareness can be problematic for end-users and other affected individuals, who may not always be able to anticipate, understand or appreciate system function, and who may so feel their own sense of autonomy and privacy threatened. It introduces a set of tools and mechanisms that support end-user control, system intelligibility and accountability. This is achieved by minimizing the cognitive effort needed to handle the increased complexity of such systems and by enhancing the ability of people to configure and maintain intelligent environments. We show how these tools and mechanisms empower end-users to answer questions such as "how does the system behave", "why is something happening", "how would the system behave in response to a change in context", and "how can the system’s behaviour be altered" to achieve intelligibility, accountability, and end-user control. Finally, the thesis argues that awareness applications overall can not be examined as static configurations of services and functions, and that they should be seen as the results of both implicit and explicit interaction with the user. Amelie is introduced as a supportive framework for the development of context-aware applications that encourages the design of the interactive mechanisms through which end-users can control, direct and advance such systems dynamically throughout their deployment. Following the recombinant computing approach, Amelie addresses the implications of infrastructure design decisions on user experience, while by adopting the premises of the FN-AAR model Amelie supports the direct implementation of systems that allow end-users to meet social needs and to practice extant social skills.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Industrial Design
    • Aarts, Emile H.L., Promotor
    • Markopoulos, Panos, Copromotor
    Award date6 Dec 2010
    Place of PublicationEindhoven
    Print ISBNs978-90-386-2382-5
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

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