The research presented in this thesis has two objectives. The first objective is to investigate the current communication practices of family members to stay in touch with each other. Based on this investigation it elicits requirements for new pervasive communication systems, called awareness systems, which aim to support intra-family communication. The second objective is to develop those awareness systems based on the elicited requirements and evaluate them. In this thesis we focus on families who consist of working parents with dependent children living under the same roof. Awareness systems can be defined as a class of computer mediated communication systems that support individuals to maintain, with low effort, a peripheral awareness of each other’s activities and whereabouts. In the context of the research conducted, a variety of methods were used and several applications to conduct the research were developed. More specifically interviews, field studies of two prototypes, web surveys and an adapted version of the experience sampling study were used. The research endeavor started off with an interview study with twenty Dutch parents. The results of the interview were followed up with an online survey study and a prototype evaluation. A follow-up modified experience sampling study (Reconexp) helped in placing the previous findings into context. The objective of Reconexp was to find out the communication needs of busy parents under context. The two prototypes which were created, SchoolAware and FamilyAware embody the primary characteristics of awareness system according to the aforementioned definition. SchoolAware automatically communicated the presence of children in school as well as their schedule information to their parents. FamilyAware gathered multiple sources of awareness information such as place, calendar information, computer activity and automatically exchanged that information between busy parents. Moreover, it enabled parents to exchange messages and photos along with the automatically captured awareness information. This information was presented in mobile phones. The contributions of this thesis are twofold. First the thesis presents the intra-family communication needs that would drive the adoption of awareness systems. Moreover the thesis presents the implications for the design of such systems. Second the thesis examines a modification of the experience sampling method (ESM), the experience sampling and reconstruction method (ESRM). Evidence is presented which indicate the potential of the ESRM when compared to the ESM.
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Award date||11 Nov 2009|
|Place of Publication||Eindhoven|
|Publication status||Published - 2009|