Locating Family Values: A Field Trial of the Whereabouts Clock
We report the results of a long-term, multi-site field trial of a situated awareness device for families called the “Whereabouts Clock”. The Clock displayed family members’ current location as one of four privacy-preserving, deliberately coarse-grained categories (HOME, WORK, SCHOOLorELSEWHERE) In use, the Clock supported not only family co-ordination but also more emotive aspects of family life such as reassurance, connectedness, identity and social touch. This emphasized aspects of family life frequently neglected in Ubicomp, such as the ways in which families’ awareness of each others’ activities contributes to a sense of a family’s identity. We draw further on the results to differentiate between location as a technical aspect of awareness systems and what we characterize as “location-in-interaction”. Location-in-interaction is revealed as an emotional, accountable and even moral part of family life.
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