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A Matter of Taste

  • Alois Ferscha
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4794)

Abstract

Ambient information systems, often referred to as ambient displays, peripheral displays or informative art systems (IAS), aim at providing users with information considered relevant at arbitrary points of work or living engagement, in easy and quickly to convey, aesthetic and artful style. Adhering principles of visual perception, visualization and design, information coming from various different (hardware and software) sensors is aggregated through abstraction and selective omission, and displayed at the periphery of a user’s attention. A broad range of visual metaphors ranging from the fine arts, abstract art, naive art, comic drawings up to photographic images or technical drawings have been proposed, but all grounded on the “I-throw-it-out-there-and-watch” design paradigm1, totally excluding the user, his background knowledge and his aesthetic appreciation from the design process. This paper advocates for a user-oriented, participatory design process for IASs. Addressing canvas style IASs, i.e. displays that decorate apartments, offices, foyers and the like in the first (but not the only) place, in our approach the choice of the IAS canvas theme is left to the user. To steer the (design) process of identifying symbols within a chosen theme we have developed categories of metaphors like color, space, shape, abstraction, scale and dimension, and discuss their potential with respect to pre-attentive and interpretative cognition. From experiments with users we find, that the choice of themes and the identification of metaphoric symbols are considered as a means of personal emotional expression (or in other words, as “a matter of taste”). Aesthetic attractiveness turns out to be a dominant factor of IAS appreciation. A general purpose software framework for IASs is presented, implementing sensor data acquisition, context recognition, aggregation and filtering, as well as 2D/3D graphics engine, dynamically controlling the visual appearance of themes and symbols.

Keywords

pervasive computing ambient information systems peripheral displays informative art ambient intelligence intelligent user interfaces 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alois Ferscha
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Pervasive Computing, Johannes Kepler Universität Linz, Altenberger Strasse 69, 4040 LinzAustria

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