Containing Family Clutter

  • Laurel Swan
  • Alex S. Taylor
  • Shahram Izadi
  • Richard Harper
Part of the IFIP — The International Federation for Information Processing book series (IFIPAICT, volume 241)


In this paper, we present material from an ongoing ethnographic investigation of family life. Drawing on selected fieldwork materials, we look at the ways families deal with household clutter, and in particular how clutter can be contained in bowls and drawers. Based on this research, a case is made for rethinking digital media management in domestic settings. We argue that existing solutions, largely based around the PC, inhibit the casual storage and loose organization of content, properties afforded in both bowls and drawers. We explore a design perspective that aims to address this by building on physical properties of the bowl, using salient properties from fieldwork material to sketch out an early concept of an augmented bowl designed to hold physical and digital content.


Digital Medium Digital Content Minimal Effort Family Home Access Control Model 


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Copyright information

© International Federation for Information Processing 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurel Swan
    • 1
  • Alex S. Taylor
    • 2
  • Shahram Izadi
    • 2
  • Richard Harper
    • 2
  1. 1.School of IS, Computing and MathematicsBrunel UniversityUK
  2. 2.Microsoft ResearchCambridgeUK

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