Matt Jones

Ubiquitous Computing User Experience


This site is a resource for anyone interested in building (or using) useable and usefulsystems involving the emerging personal, ubiquitous (anywhere,everywhere) technologies.

Tuesday 31st July

What is Ubicomp?- Ensembling.

A great discussion of the design & development of Ubicomp applications was written back (!) in 1993 by Bill Buxton in a position paper for the Xerox Ubiquitous Computing Workshop. He neatly captures the important point about Ubicomp - that devices are integrated seamlessly with the physical world to provide a very real 'environment':

"UbiComp is an ecological rather than appliance based approach to design. The ubiquity and transparency aspect of UbiComp demand distributed strong specific systems. These will be integrated into the environment in an architectural sense. The box into which solutions are fit is not some appliance on your desk; rather, it is the box in which you work: your room, or the desk itself."

Buxton also uses the word, ensembling: focussed devices working together to help users to acheive a solution. Several researchers such as Peter Thomas (editor of the Personal & Ubiquitous Technology Journal) are beginning to investigate this concept anew.

Monday 23rd July             

The future's bright?

Over the last couple of weeks there have been a number of news stories with bad and good news about the mobile future.

Psion computers have are going to stop production of their acclaimed handheld range. Psion have provided consumers with workable handheld solutions for many years; long before most of us started seriously thinking about the ubiquitous future. So, bad news but the company will still be significant, producing new operating systems and software through its Symbian company.

More positively, a new Indian company has started producing an handheld for illiterate users.   Designing systems for 'special cases'(universal usabilty) can often lead to benefits for all users. Agreat example is the Tegic text entry system  used for mobile phone SMS. Originally, this was conceivedto assist disabledusers. It can also help in functionaccess on mobile phones.

Wednesday 11th July Ubicomp not ubiquitous enough?


In the past 2 years there have been Handheld and Ubiquitious Computing conferences (one in Germany the other in the UK). The HUC series has now been sucked into the ACMfold ... The first Ubicomp conference isin September.

It will be interesting to see how the field and conference pans out in the next few years - there are so many different types of people and interest in the area at the moment (HCI, hardware-types, networking protocols andethics etc).

Its is interesting to note that the current Program Committe is quite small (good in terms of ensuring focus, drive (?) but bad perhaps given the broad constituency of community members).

Monday 9th July 2001... Welcome...

This is the first entry of the Web Log. My intention is to use this site to record interesting ideas, links, newsitems etc to helpdesigners, technologists and users explore important issuesrelatingto thedevelopment of the everywhere-net..     

There are lots of Weblogs in the world. In HCI, one of the best known (and it existed before the term WebLog was invented) is Jakob Nielsen's. Another one that's inspired me is by another Matt Jones.

What is 'user experience'?... here's a conventional view and then there's the design community perspective.