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Using Activities to Simplify Interaction with Mobile Services

Research output: Working paper

Unpublished
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Abstract

Mobile data service use remains low compared with existing services such as text messaging and voice calls. We believe an important limiting factor is the effort demanded of the user to discover and parameterise services with information relating to their current activity against more pressing situational demands. Limited input and output facilities on mobile devices typically make service interactions inherently cumbersome. We describe an approach for using activity and context to streamline the discovery and use of mobile services. Specifically, we outline how to carry, re-use and share information across contexts comprising an activity to reduce the need for data entry and interactions when using mobile services while mobile. We involve the user in offsetting these interactions to the desktop; a more natural context for activity preparation. Using a service browser in which listed services proactively provide snippets of information derived from the user’s context and by allowing users to pre-discover and pre-filter their preferred services for a given context, we reduce the need for user interaction at the point of use. We report on feedback gathered using a working prototype called ‘the Context Clipboard’ that we have demonstrated at a major conference and in a small-scale formative user study.