Ambient Display Evaluation

Tara Matthews, Scott Carter, Edward De Guzman, Morgan Ames1, Chinmayi Bettadapur2, Gary Hsieh3, and Mira Sutijono
(Professors Anind Dey and Jennifer Mankoff)

Ambient displays are a new type of pervasive computing device that give information in non-critical ways, allowing users to get information in the periphery of their attention. These devices are useful because they do not demand attention, so a person can be aware of more information without being overburdened by it [1]. Getting information from an ambient display requires little thought, allowing people to focus on other tasks. The very characteristics that make ambient displays a useful interface innovation also make them difficult to evaluate. Traditional evaluation techniques used in human computer interaction do not apply well to ambient displays. Our goal is to assess the pros and cons of different evaluation techniques for testing the effectiveness of an ambient display, and then to determine the best techniques for evaluating these displays by conducting evaluation studies. The process we will follow to accomplish these goals begins with a literature survey and analysis of the various evaluation techniques available. In parallel, we will design an ambient display that addresses the needs of people who must continuously monitor many sources of information. One example is a display that allows restaurant servers to see the status of food preparation by quickly glancing at a visual display that represents remaining preparation times. With an ambient display and knowledge of evaluation methods, we will select one or more techniques to use in a summative study of the ambient display. The design and results of the study will guide further research on the evaluation of ambient displays and improve our ability to design effective displays.

M. Weiser and J. S. Brown, "Designing Calm Technology," PowerGrid Journal, Vol. 1.01, July 1996.
1Undergraduate (EECS)
2Undergraduate (EECS)
3Undergraduate (EECS)

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