Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 135–143 | Cite as

Understanding mobile contexts

  • Sakari Tamminen
  • Antti Oulasvirta
  • Kalle Toiskallio
  • Anu Kankainen
Original Article

Abstract

Mobile urban environments present a challenge for context-aware computers because they differ from fixed indoor contexts such as offices, meeting rooms, and lecture halls in many important ways. Internal factors such as tasks and goals are different—external factors such as social resources are dynamic and unpredictable. An empirical, user-centred approach is needed to understand mobile contexts. In this paper, we present insights from an ethnomethodologically inspired study of 25 adult urbanites in Helsinki. The results describe typical phenomena in mobility: how situational and planned acts intermesh in navigation, how people construct personal and group spaces, and how temporal tensions develop and dissolve. Furthermore, we provide examples of social solutions to navigation problems, examine mobile multitasking, and consider design implications for mobile and context-aware human–computer interaction.

Keywords

Mobile context Mobility Ethnography Ethnomethodology Context-aware computing User-centred design 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sakari Tamminen
    • 1
  • Antti Oulasvirta
    • 2
  • Kalle Toiskallio
    • 1
  • Anu Kankainen
    • 2
  1. 1.Information Ergonomics Research Group (SoberIT)Helsinki University of TechnologyHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Helsinki Institute of Information TechnologyHelsinkiFinland

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