Workshop 3
Technologies for Families

Catherine Plaisant, Allison Druin
Submit position statement to: plaisant@cs.umd.edu

Can we develop technologies for families? We need to understand what brings families together (celebrations, meals, chores, playing, etc.) and develop innovative artifacts that support the needs of co-located and distributed intergenerational users. How can these technologies be embedded in our homes? Can they become a part of the very fabric of everyday family life.

This workshop will consist of short presentations from the participants, demonstrations, and ample time for discussion and brainstorming.

MAY 31st  2001

10am-4pm (lunch is at 12:30)
Reception 4:30pm- 6pm

Room 3460
A.V. Williams building
University of Maryland, College Park


(last updated May 29st)

10:00 - Welcome 
Catherine Plaisant
HCIL, University of Maryland

Overview of the day, introduction of participants, logistics.

10:15 - Working with families:  Design Process Challenges
Allison Druin
HCIL, University of Maryland / Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden

Bringing users into the participatory design process is a challenge. When those uers are diverse family members, each with their own experiences, abilities, and needs-- the challenge becomes that much greater. In our past work with children, we found that it was important to adapt the participatory design methods that had been successfully used in the world of industry and research. Today, in the InterLiving research project we are continuing to adapt our methods to meet the needs of developing technologies for the home. In this workshop, I will discuss our progress to date with these methods, and suggest questions for possible directions for future researchers in this area. 

10: 35 - Collections and Collecting in the Home
Scott Mainwaring
Intel Corporation

The People and Practices Research (PAPR) group at Intel studies real people in their natural work and home environments to uncover new uses for computing power, to identify important activities that are not well supported by technology, and to understand barriers to technology adoption. In the course of conducting these studies, we have visited dozens of homes in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, to talk with household members about their daily lives, their interests, opinions, and attitudes, and to document through photos and video their home environment and the place of computation and electronic media in it. Collections and collecting practices have emerged as a pervasive theme from these home visits. To uncover opportunities and inspirations for the design of new forms of home-appropriate computation, we have begun an analysis of our existing materials, from a number of studies, with collections and collecting in mind. This is very much work in progress; we look forward to starting a dialog about its implications for families and technology.

Home collections take on a bewildering variety of forms and meanings, and behaviors around collecting are similarly diverse, including acquiring, displaying, organizing, sharing, and using. In our analysis so far, we have approached this topic from two directions. First, we’ve considered different motivations underlying collections. These include bargain hunting, set completing, hunger satiating, use fulfilling, and event commemorating, to name a few. There are opportunities to better blend technology into existing practices for each of these motivations. Secondly, we’ve looked at a critical formal distinction, that between the virtual and physical domain. As collections and collecting behavior become increasingly “digital” in their materials and processes, there are great advantages (e.g., consider how eBay has revolutionized the acquisition of collectables). But there are also great potential disadvantages, often due to the primitive nature of current tools and infrastructure for gaining access to the digital domain from our everyday, situated experience. We have started building and experimenting with some new kinds of tangible/digital or visible/digital materials for collections, with the aim of making digital collecting more individually and socially satisfying. 

10:55 -  Technologies for Families: What Do Families Want?
Thea Turner (with Crysta Metcalf, Lynne Ferguson & Emilee Patrick)
Motorola Labs, IL

Before we design systems for the home, it is imperative that we understand what people want. People may use difficult technology if it addresses a significant need. However, benefits are better realized when technology fits into the behavioral and cultural environment of the home. Thus successful technology for the home must be built on an understanding of what goes on there, what the needs and desires of the families are and why they would resist new technologies.

We will present five categories of future technologies for the home. One of these, facilitated communication, will be examined in more depth. Our group, User Centered Research at Motorola Labs, is focused on understanding the human experience first, then exploring how technology could be used to address observed needs and desires. Currently, we are exploring the home environment for clues to how technology can benefit the family. 

11:15 Break

11:30 - InterLiving: Technologies to Facilitate Families' Communication, Collaboration and Creativity 

(in 2 parts...)
Early finding from workshops and cultural probes
Bo Westerlund, Sinna Lindquist
Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden

Bridging design process and technological innovation with technology probes 
Wendy Mackay
INRIA, France

also with : Allison Druin, Ben Bederson, 
Hillary Browne, Catherine Plaisant
HCIL University of Maryland

Today's families are more geographically distributed than ever. Children attend schools far away from their parents; grandparents may live in a different country than grandchildren. Letters, email, and phone conversations can help keep remote family members up to date on major events, but the patterns of everyday life are often missed. In an effort to fill this gap, the InterLiving Project is attempting to develop technologies to improve communication, collaboration, and creativity among distributed family members.  We will summurize what we learned from the family recruitment process in Sweden and in France,  and the interviews and cultural probes we used. Finally we will introduce the technology probes to be used with the families.

12:00 : A Message Board for Families
Hilary Browne
HCIL, University of Maryland

One of these technologies prototypes developed in the context of the Interliving project (see above)  is a "Family Message Board," an embedded digital writing surface and display where family members can post notes to each other, much like paper "Post-It" notes. Each remote family location has one of these message boards, and all are networked together so that all the messages posted show up on all the message boards in real time. Thus, remote family members can see messages that may be unrelated to them (e.g. "Pick up milk after soccer practice"), but give a sense of the more mundane things going on in people's lives. We will demonstrate a prototype of this technology in the workshop. 

12:15 : discussion/wrapup of morning session

12:30 LUNCH

1:30 - Designing for Family Values
Elizabeth Mynatt, Amy Mitchell and Jim Rowan
Everyday Computing Lab
Georgia Institute of Technology

Although new home appliances and services are being designed for the home market, there seems to be little understanding of how these technologies interact with the larger organizational structure of the home, namely the family. In our research, we are addressing this need in two ways. Our Digital Family Portrait is designed with the needs of families in mind. In this case, the family members are those who live outside the home of an elderly relative. Concerned about their daily well-being, family members can stay aware of an elderly relative by inspecting their Digital Family Portrait. We are also designing Value Probes as a mechanism for unearthing values that families would want reflected in future technologies. The probes both help uncover that information as well as make that information usable for design teams. http://www.cc.gatech.edu/fce/ecl/

1:50 - Communication for Mobile Families
Chris Schmandt
MIT Media Lab

If we want to increase family communication, is there anything better to do than just giving every family member a mobile phone? I am interested in new communication paradigms based in large part on wireless packet networks. We can define new call control protocols in which each party can influence how a call progresses, without making any telephone ring. We can transmit ambient audio or other information using low priority background channels to create an indication of awareness. We can add computation to analyze such a channel and generate alerts automatically. 

But what I am interested in learning in this workshop is, how can we predict whether such technological solutions have any chance of being adopted, even if they came to market? 

2:10 - PhotoMesa:  Zoomable Photo Browser for a better Family Experience
Ben Bederson
HCIL, University of Maryland

I will describe PhotoMesa, an application that supports browsing of large sets of images. It is intended for use in a family setting with multiple people looking at the screen together. It allows the user to view multiple directories of images in a zoomable environment, and uses a set of simple navigation mechanisms to move through the space of images. It also supports clustering of images by metadata available from the file system. It requires only a set of images on disk, and does not require the user to add any metadata, or manipulate the images at all before browsing, thus making it easy to get started with existing images. I designed PhotoMesa based on my personal needs at home - I needed better tools to look at pictures with my two-year-old daughter. I did not want to spend the time to make custom "albums". In addition, I found using traditional software with a grid of thumbnails, scrollbars, and popup viewer windows unpleasant in this context. I wanted to concentrate on the images - and more importantly, as I was looking at the photos with my daughter, it was crucial that she be able to understand what was going on as I was controlling the mouse. 

2:20 - Enabling Storytelling with Family Photos: The Evolution of PhotoFinder
Hyunmo Kang, Bill Kules, Catherine Plaisant, Ben Shneiderman
HCIL, University of Maryland

Photos from digital cameras, CDROMs, web-based distribution, scanning and email are quickly filling users' hard-drives, but finding the right photo of grandma is as difficult as it always has been. Our goal was to solve the Personal Photo Paradox: Personal photos are among the most treasured possessions people have, yet they spend little time organizing their photos and rarely view them. The paradox grows stronger with time since older photos are even more valued, but even less viewed.

Our strategy for solving the Personal Photo Paradox was to create easy to use interfaces that support personal photo library organization with drag-and-drop annotation. Then the potential of finding desired events and people increases, leading to successful story-telling and reminiscing with family and friends. We composed a user needs assessment and began with two rapid prototypes during the fall of 1999. Our designs have evolved as our usage led us to understand the necessary features for personal photo libraries. Our June 2001 release of PhotoFinder 3.0 is available on our website (http://www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/photolib/). 

2:30 - Personal Digital Historian: User Interface Design
Chia Shen, Neal Lesh
Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs (MERL)
{shen, lesh}@merl.com

Desktop computers are not designed for multi-person face-to-face conversation in a social setting. We describe the design of a novel user interface for multi-user interactive informal storytelling. Our design is guided by principles of  experience sharing, the disappearing computer, visual navigation,  and implicit query formulation.

2:50 - Small group discussion / Brainstorming
   Possible groups: process, technology, photos ?

3:30 - Report from the groups, wrap-up, what's next?

4:15 - walk to reception at Rossborough Inn for reception

Also attending:

Neil Didriksen
Philanthropic Ventures



The workshop runs from 10am to 4pm, followed by a reception until 6pm
The HCIL office tel. number is (301) 405-2769.

For directions/hotels etc. check the Symposium's MAP/DIRECTIONS page.  The workshop registration and meeting is in A.V. Williams (lower-right corner of the map).  This page also provides a list of hotels. 
- The Courtyard Marriot, 6301 Golden Triangle Dr., Greenbelt,  (301) 441-3311  is best (2 miles away so you need a car to get to the campus).
- The University College Inn is good (and a 20-30 min walk across campus) - but now full, sorry... 
- The Quality Inn , 7200 Baltimore Ave. College Park, MD 
 (301) 864-5820 is older and cheaper (with corresponding amenities) but a close walk,  next to some shops, and not far from the subway. 
- There are a bunch more hotels along route 1 (i.e. Baltimore avenue) including the newly built Hampton Inn of College Park which is probably nice, right off the beltway.

Most convenient airport is Baltimore (BWI).  You  can also use  Reagan airport  (was called National airport before), if you use Reagan, it is better to take a cab than renting a car... or you can use the subway during the day, 45 minute metro ride + shuttle bus to campus.  Finally there is Dulles airport but it is much further away from the campus.

Food and fun: We will have coffee and juice in the morning (but expect that you had breakfast before).  During lunch you will be able to chat with attendees of all the workshops and tutorials.  Vegeterian dishes will be available.  The reception will take place from 4:30 to 6pm, at the Rossborough Inn on campus, a 5 minute walk from our building.  The ACM Special Interest Group on Computers and Society will present the 2001 SIGCAS Making A Difference Award to Ben Shneiderman.
You are on your own for dinner, but we can assist groups find places to continue their discussions.

And of course we hope that you will join us for the rest of the symposium on Friday!

NOTE FOR THE MANY of you will be at the Courtyard  Mariott.

To find the hotel:  note that there are 2 Mariott in Greenbelt.  The courtyard is the small one, just south of the Kenilworth Av. exit of the beltway (#23 I beleive) , then 3 immediate left turns, i.e. left on Greenbelt road (193) and left again on Walker drive and left on Golden Triangle.  You can see a map from mapquest.

Since you might be able to share rides...  Here is the shortest route from that hotel  to our building, via a back entrance of campus:
-  Go West on Greenbelt Road (also called 193) for about 2 miles
 (you'll go over Kenilworth, over a train bridge, and under Route 1)
-  Turn LEFT on AZALEA (intersection under construction) which changes name to Paint Branch later.
-  The 2nd building on your left is A.V. Williams, and just before is the pay parking lot. 

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