Locating family values: A field trial of the Whereabouts Clock

We report the results of a long-term multi-sited field trial of a

situated awareness device for families called the 'Whereabouts Clock'. The

clock displayed family members' current locations as one of four privacypreserving,

deliberately coarse-grained categories: 'Home', 'Work', 'School', or

'Out'. In use, the clock supported not only family co-ordination but also more

emotive aspects of family life - such as reassurance, connectedness, identity and

social touch. This emphasized aspects of family life frequently neglected in

ubicomp - particularly the ways in which families' awareness of each others'

times and schedules contributes to a sense of identity as a family. We draw

further on the trial results to differentiate between location as a technical aspect

of awareness systems and what we characterise as location in interaction.

Location in interaction is revealed as an emotional, accountable and even moral

part of family life.

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In  Proceedings of Ubicomp 2007

Publisher  Springer-Verlag
All copyrights reserved by Springer 2007.

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