We report the results of a field trial of a situated awareness device for families called the “Whereabouts Clock”. The Clock displays the location of family members using cellphone data as one of four privacy-preserving, deliberately coarse-grained categories (HOME, WORK, SCHOOL or ELSEWHERE). The results show that awareness of others through the Clock supports not only family communication and coordination but also more emotive aspects of family life such as reassurance, connectedness, identity and social touch. We discuss how the term “awareness” means many things in practice and highlight the importance of designing not just for family activities, but in order to support the emotional, social and even moral aspects of family life.
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We are indebted to the families who gave generously of their time for this study. We are also grateful to Rachel Eardley for designing the Whereabouts Clock and to Richard Harper and Ken Wood for their valuable commentary and advice on an earlier version of this chapter.
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Sellen, A., Taylor, A.S., Kaye, J.‘., Brown, B., Izadi, S. (2009). Supporting Family Awareness with the Whereabouts Clock. In: Markopoulos, P., De Ruyter, B., Mackay, W. (eds) Awareness Systems. Human-Computer Interaction Series. Springer, London. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-84882-477-5_18
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