Location-Dependant Information Appliances for the Home
Ethnographic studies of the home revealed the fundamental roles that physical locations and context play in how household members understand and manage conventional information. Yet we also know that digital information is becoming increasing important to households. The problem is that this digital information is almost always tied to traditional computer displays, which inhibits its incorporation into household routines. Our solution, called location-dependant information appliances, exploits both home location and context (as articulated in ethnographic studies) to enhance the role of ambient displays in the home setting; these displays provide home occupants with both background awareness of an information source and foreground methods to gain further details if desired. The novel aspect is that home occupants assign particular information to locations within a home in a way that makes sense to them. As a device is moved to a particular location, that information is automatically mapped to that device along with hints on how it should be displayed.