In 2002 we received a fairly large grant for a project named Mobile Life. In that project,
we have worked together with Lars Erik Holmquist and his group and
Oskar Juhlin and his group. Many different mobile services have been
built. After a while, a number of re-curring themes started to
emerge. One of them was the idea of seamfulness.
that the prevailing idea that users' should not be told about the
positioning system or network coverage in all its gory details - the
so-called seamlessness ideal - perhaps was not such a good idea after
all. People seems to be intriguied and amused by the possibility to
exploit and appropriate the seams that shine through here and there in
technology. We therefore work on ways of creating more seamful
designs. When studying literature, we saw that this was envisioned
already by Marc Weiser in 1994 when he says that we need to face up to
the challenge of creating "seamful systems, with
In our view, seams within the new wireless medium are not
necessarily a technical glitch but might be a resource to users. The
and services that make up ubiquitous and pervasive technology exhibit
a great deal of spatial, temporal, economic and organisational
variation. Picking up cues from the social context is key to a person's process of
understanding and appropriating new technologies. This process
involves not just the new media, but also demands consideration of
the whole set of media that people use in the course of their
activity. We suggest, therefore, that a more general lesson should be
learnt from our experience with ubiquitous computing: system design
should be more pragmatic, holistic and social than it usually is now.
Åsa Rudström wrote a
lot about these ideas in her PhD-thesis.
This work we did together with Matthew Chalmers in Glasgow, Andreas
Dieberger at IBM and others.
Åsa Rudström, Kristina Höök,
and Martin Svensson (2005).
Social positioning: Designing the Seams
between Social, Physical and Digital Space. In 1st International
Conference on Online Communities and Social Computing, at HCII 2005,
24-27 July 2005, Las Vegas, USA., Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Matthew Chalmers, Andreas Dieberger, Kristina Höök, and
(2004). Social Navigation and Seamful Design. Journal of the Japanese
Cognitive Science Society, September 2004. PDF.