Insight: Tool Support for User-Centered Ubicomp Prototyping and Evaluation

Alan Liu1 and Peter Khooshabeh2
(Professors Anind Dey and James A. Landay)

The field of ubiquitous computing (Ubicomp) is still at its inception. Within the field, there is no standard set of methodologies to evaluate Ubicomp systems. System designers benefit from performing multiple iterations, and having functionality in a system before the final implementation to get feedback on design issues. This gives rise to different prototyping techniques such as Wizard of Oz. Insight is a set of tools to support the Wizard of Oz prototyping of Ubicomp systems and the evaluation of the those systems, using data collected in user studies. It is composed of the context event logger, a tool for allowing a wizard in a Wizard of Oz scenario to simulate a sensor network that captures events in its environment, and the context event analyzer, a tool for showing higher level aggregates of lower level context data.

Our plan is to use the logger and analyzer in evaluating two iterations of an application for industrial-sized kitchens that tracks and helps users locate food items. In the first iteration, we applied paper-prototyping techniques along with Wizard of Oz simulation of sensor input using the logger. Our second iteration will involve an interactive prototype that will still depend on simulating actual sensors, but which will have networked computer screens and a simple database to actually respond to users without the need for a person (wizard) to simulate application behavior. After user studies of the prototype from each iteration, we will employ the analyzer and examine the events logged, looking for events that identify design flaws. Our goal is to collect evidence demonstrating the strengths and flaws of both methods in Ubicomp design and evaluation.

S. Consolvo, L. Arnstein, and B. Franza, "User Study Techniques in the Design and Evaluation of a Ubicomp Environment," Proc. Int. Conf. Ubiquitous Computing, September 2002.
1Undergraduate (EECS)
2Undergraduate (non-EECS)

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