Nicholas Craig Taylor
This thesis explores the use of public digital situated displays to support a sense of community in a rural village by sharing community-generated content, such as material that promotes a shared history or awareness of current events. Situated displays are particularly suited to use in a central community space where residents engage with each other, and can be designed as simple artefacts that do not exclude those uncomfortable with technology. In designing community displays, it is important to harness local knowledge to design technologies that are relevant to the deployment environment and sensitive to local issues and needs. For this reason, the approach described in this thesis involves community members in a design process centred on the iterative development of prototype displays that are deployed in the wild for extended periods of time. Observation of interaction with the displays and feedback collected through meetings, attendance at public events and others means is used to gradually improve prototypes to meet the needs of the community. This has been achieved through work in Wray, a rural village in North West England that has volunteered to serve as a testbed for computing research. Work in the village over a period of over four years has found that public situated displays of photos and notices can support community members old and new as well as visitors, while the iterative approach has proved to be a valuable means of engaging the community.