What do people like about navigation system?

I came across this study in computer bild – you should not cite it as it in a scientific paper as “computer bild” – is consumer paper telling people mainly which computers to buy and how to use obvious features in software 😉

Nevertheless it is interesting and gave me some ideas what navigations systems are good for and it is another example that user needs on an abstract level (e.g. as in Maslows hierarchy of needs) could be interesting to inform designs.

If you do not read German here are the results in short:

  • 91% faster to their destination
  • 88% less often being lost
  • 88% feel saver when driving with a SatNav
  • 67% less often in traffic jams
  • 57% driving is more fun
  • 54% argue less in the car because of SatNav

If you want to cite it there is the original german press relese from BITKOM. It states that the study was based on about 500 people who drove themselfs with a navigation system sometime in the last to years. Probably there is a scientific paper with similar results…

Visitor from Munich: Gilbert Beyer

Gilbert Beyer from Munich came to visit our lab. In Munich he is working on interesting projects that combine aspects of software engineering and human computer interaction in the group of Prof. Martin Wirsing. Gilbert participated in the pervasive computing in advertising workshop in Nara and we met there.

We discussed aspects of how to study and empirically evaluate larger and off-desktop interactive systems. Even though those systems differ significantly from desktop systems the book How to Design and Report Experiments by Andy Field and Graham J. Hole is still a good starting point.

Carting new territories is exciting and it seems that this happens currently in various areas. Historicaly it is interesting to look at Card’s paper [1] for a useful design space for input devices – must read ;-). Tico Ballagas looked into a design space for mobile interaction in his PhD – also very interesting – if you do not have the time to read the thesis, have a look the book chapter [2]. Over the last year Dagmar worked on a design space for the automotive domain, which is accepted at Automotive User Interfaces conference (auto-ui.org) and which will be published in September.

[1] Card, S. K., Mackinlay, J. D., and Robertson, G. G. 1991. A morphological analysis of the design space of input devices. ACM Trans. Inf. Syst. 9, 2 (Apr. 1991), 99-122. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/123078.128726

[2] Rafael Ballagas, Michael Rohs, Jennifer Sheridan, and Jan Borchers. The Design Space of Ubiquitous Mobile Input. In Joanna Lumsden, editor, Handbook of Research on User Interface Design and Evaluation for Mobile Technologies. IGI Global, Hershey, PA, USA, 2008.

Statistical Data on phone usage and ICT

Ever wanted to cite the number of “Mobile cellular subscriptions per 100 inhabitance” in Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, …., United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia or Zimbabwe? Or the spending on mobile telephony or the computer penetration in these countries? Then the website I just came across may be interesting for you too: http://measuring-ict.unctad.org/

Here are the direct links to documents containing data:

Some of the figures seem really high to me – but I have not looked into detail. They have also publish a handbook on how to measuring ICT access and uses:
MANUAL for Measuring ICT Access and Use by Households and Individuals

Impact of colors – hints for ambient design?

There is a study that looked at how the performace in solving certain cognitive/creative tasks is influenced by the backgroun color [1]. In short: to make people alert and to increase performance on detail oriented tasks use red; to get people in creative mode use blue. Lucky us our corporate desktop background is mainly blue! Perhaps this could be interesting for ambient colors, e.g. in the automotive context…

[1] Mehta, Ravi and Rui (Juliet) Zhu (2009), “Blue or Red? Exploring the Effect of Color on Cognitive Task Performances” Science 27 February 2009:Vol. 323. no. 5918, pp. 1226 – 1229 DOI: 10.1126/science.1169144

Known route – driving your car in mental auto-pilot?

Mandy Marder, a doctoral student at university hospital in Essen has done an interesting study, looking at the activity of the brain at different driving situations. It seems that if you are driving a well know route you are less alert than when you drive an unknown route (see press release, we have yet to find the appropriate reference). This is an interesting finding that may help to inform some of our work on automotive user interfaces. Together with trends that move more responsibility from the driver to assitive functions this nay be an indication that driving could be a valid domain for serious games.

Why are not more people studying computer science?

Wherever I meet with companies at the moment one of the first questions is “do you have good students – we need people…”. It seems good computer science skills are useful 😉 However to me it is not clear why so few people go into this field. Here is my favorite short list what you should have to study CS: (1) you are creative; (2) you are communicative; (3) you solve problems systematically; (4) you have an ability to generalize.