WI 2019 Digital Consumption Consumer Informatics

G. Stevens, A. Boden, L. Winterberg, J. Marx Gómez, C. Bala, 2019. Digitaler Konsum: Herausforderungen und Chancen der Verbraucherinformatik (German) in Proceedings of the Wirtschaftsinformatik (WI) 2019, Siegen, 2019.

Die Durchdringung der Gesellschaft mit IT-Artefakten führt nicht nur zu Veränderungen in der Arbeitswelt („Industrie 4.0“), sondern auch zu einem Wandel in Privathaushalten, etwa im Bereich der Digitalisierung von Verbraucherpraktiken. Dabei werden vor allem die klassischen Konsumfelder Ernährung, Wohnen und Mobilität zunehmend von „smarten“ Geräten und digitalen Diensten durchdrungen. Für VerbraucherInnen eröffnet dies neue Erlebniswelten und vereinfacht den Konsum. Gleichzeitig stellt die neue Qualität der Vernetzung jedoch auch eine Reihe von Fragen, etwa in Bezug auf Datenschutz und die digitale Souveränität der VerbraucherInnen, einen möglichen Digital Divide, sowie die Nachhaltigkeit digital ermöglichter Verbrauchspraktiken auf den Ebenen Gesellschaft, Ökonomie und Ökologie. Die Verbraucherinformatik nimmt dabei ein interdisziplinär verfasstes Forschungsfeld in den Blick, wobei die Bedeutung der Phänomene einer digitalisierten Welt aus Verbrauchersicht untersucht und gestaltet werden sollen.

CHI ’18 Mobility Support

M. Stein, J. Meurer, A. Boden, and V. Wulf, 2017. Mobility in Later Life – Appropriation of an Integrated Transportation Platform. in Proceedings of the 2017 ACM annual conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), Denver, 2017.

We present the results of a design case study focusing on supporting the daily transportation of elderly in Germany. We conceptualized, developed and studied the appropriation of a transportation information system intended to ease switching between different transportation modes. Based on a literature review and a context study with 21 interviews we explored routinized transport mode usage and barriers when switching between modes. Iteratively, we co-designed a transport platform accessible via a website, a mobile app, and an iTV app. We further looked at the appropriation of the platform into the daily lives of 19 persons. Studying the appropriation highlighted different factors that facilitate the adoption of alternative transport options. The factors included reducing uncertainty, complementing transport information with context information (e.g. weather) and providing informational access based on the user’s preferences as well as fitting in with the situational needs (activity related).


ToCHI ’16 Co-Design SOS System ELSI

A. Boden, A. Al-Akkad, M. Liegl, M. Buscher, M. Stein, D. Randall, V. Wulf, 2016. Managing Visibility and Validity of Distress Calls with an Ad-Hoc SOS System In ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), 2016.

The availability of ICT services can be severely disrupted in the aftermath of disasters. Ad-hoc assemblages of communication technology have the potential to bridge such breakdowns. This article investigates the use of an ad-hoc system for sending SOS signals in a large-scale exercise that simulated a terrorist attack. In this context, we found that the sensitivity that was introduced by the adversarial nature of the situation posed unexpected challenges for our approach, as giving away one’s location in the immediate danger of a terrorist attack became an issue both for first responders and the affected people in the area. We show how practices of calling for help and reacting to help calls can be affected by such a system and affect the management of the visibility and validity of SOS calls, implying a need for further negotiation in situations where communication is sensitive and technically restrained.


IJHCS ’16 Co-Design Methodology ELSI

M. Liegl, A. Boden, M. Buscher, R. Oliphant, and X. Kerasidou, 2016. Designing for ethical innovation: A case study on ELSI co-design in emergency. In International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 2016.

The ever more pervasive ‘informationalization’ of crisis management and response brings both unprecedented opportunities and challenges. Recent years have seen the emergence of attention to ethical, legal and social issues (ELSI) in the field of Information and Communication Technology. However, disclosing (and addressing) ELSI issues in design is still a challenge because they are inherently relational, arising from interactions between people, the material and design of the artifact, and the context. In this article, we discuss approaches for addressing such ‘deeper’ and ‘wider’ political implications, values and ethical, legal and social implications that arise between practices, people and technology. Based on a case study from the BRIDGE project, which has provided the opportunity for deep engagement with these issues through the concrete exploration and experimentation with technologically augmented practices of emergency response, we present insights from our interdisciplinary work aiming to make design and innovation projects ELSI-aware. Crucially, we have seen in our study a need for a shift from privacy by design towards designing for privacy, collaboration, trust, accessibility, ownership, transparency etc., acknowledging that these are emergent practices that we cannot control by design, but rather that we can help to design for—calling for approaches that allow to make ELSI issues explicit and addressable in design-time.


IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering Appropriation Support

S. Draxler, G. Stevens, and A. Boden 2014. Keeping the development environment up to date – A Study of the Situated Practices of Appropriating the Eclipse IDE. In IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, vol 40, no. 11, 2014.

Software engineers and developers are surrounded by highly complex software systems. What does it take to cope with these? We introduce a field study that explores the maintenance of the Eclipse Integrated Development Environment by software developers as part of their daily work. The study focuses on appropriation of the Eclipse IDE. We present an empirical view on appropriation as a means to maintain the collective ability to work. We visited seven different organizations and observed and interviewed their members. Each organization was chosen to provide an overall picture of Eclipse use throughout the industry. The results decompose the appropriation of Eclipse by software developers in organizations into four categories: learning, tailoring and discovering, as well as the cross-cutting category: collaboration. The categories are grounded in situations that provoked a need to change as well as in policies adopted for coping with this need. By discussing these categories against the background of Eclipse and its ecosystem, we want to illustrate in what ways appropriation of component- or plugin- based software is nowadays a common and highly complex challenge for Eclipse users, and how the related appropriation practices can be supported by IT systems.

Doi: 10.1109/TSE.2014.2354047

IEEE Software ’14 End User Development

Boden, A., Doerner, C., Draxler, S., Pipek, V. Stevens, G., and Wulf, V. 2014. Tangible and screen-based interfaces for End-user Workflow Modeling. In IEEE Software, vol 31, no. 4, 2014.

Bridging the gap between business needs and IT solutions is a major challenge in service oriented computing. Recent research has emphasized the importance of including end-users in the development of service-based applications. This article contributes to this problem by taking on a human-centered software engineering perspective. Based on an analysis of two different approaches – tangible and screen based versions of tools – it discusses how end-users can participate in the development of technical workflow models based on their perception of business processes. The evaluation results contribute towards a better understanding of the needs and problems of end-users and give an idea of future challenges for the design of tools that aim at supporting end-user development in the domain of service oriented computing.

Doi: 10.1109/MS.2013.71

CHI’14 Emergency Response

Al Akkad, A., Ramirez, L., Boden, A., Randall, D., and Zimmermann, A. 2014. Help Beacons: Design and Evaluation of an Ad-Hoc Lightweight S.O.S. System for Smartphones. In Proceedings of the 2014 ACM annual conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), Toronto. CHI’14.

We present the design and evaluation of a lightweight mobile S.O.S. system that facilitates ad-hoc communication between first responders and victims in emergency situations. Our approach leverages established protocols and standards in unforeseen ways to provide a platform supporting the creation of short-lived communication links. The system comprises two mobile applications: one victim application that allows the broadcasting of distress signals by a novel use of Wi-Fi SSIDs; and a responder application that allows first responders to discover and trace the people broadcasting the signals. The main difference of our system with other platforms enabling communication in crisis situations is that our system is independent from existing network infrastructure and runs on off-the-shelf, commercially available smartphones. We describe the results of our evaluation process in the context of both a design evaluation during a real-world emergency response exercise and of two user workshops in preparation for an upcoming large-scale exercise.

Doi: 10.1145/2556288.2557002

CSCW’14 Coordination Support

Boden, A., Rosswog, F., and Stevens, G. 2014. Articulation Spaces: Bridging the Gap between Formal and Informal Coordination. In Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW), Baltimore. CSCW’14.

The high complexity of knowledge-intensive work such as software development makes it beneficial to have spaces for formal and informal articulation work. Existing information systems (IS) tend to treat these different aspects of coordination separately, resulting in problems of awareness and coordination. To bridge this gap, we present the concept of Articulation Spaces which combines aspects of Coordination Mechanisms and Common Information Spaces (CIS) in order to provide a room for mediating between the formal and informal aspects of coordination. Based on a design study in the form of a lightweight public display that has been tested in a medium-sized German software company, we show how Articulation Spaces provide information for meta-coordination, encourage ad-hoc coordination and support decision-making processes. Our findings provide insights into the design of support systems for flexible and coordination-intensive contexts such as software development work.

Doi: 10.1145/2531602.2531621

ToCHI’14 Sustainability Energy-Systems

Schwartz, T., Denef, S., Stevens, G., Wulf, W. Cultivating Energy Literacy—Results from a Longitudinal Living Lab Study of a Home Energy Management System In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Paris, France, April 27–May 2, 2013). CHI’13. New York, NY: ACM Press.

This paper presents results of a three-year research project focused on the emplacement of Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS) in a living lab setting with seven households. The HEMS used in this study allowed householders to monitor energy consumption both in realtime and in retrospective on the TV and on mobile devices. Contrasting with existing research focused on how technology persuades people to consume less energy, our study uses a grounded approach to analyze HEMS emplacement. As an important result, we present here the issue of ‘energy literacy’. Our study reveals that, by using HEMS, participants became increasingly literate in understanding domestic electricity consumption. We discuss the role HEMS played in that process and how the acquired literacy changed energy consumption patterns. We conclude that literacy in energy consumption has value on its own and explain how eco feedback system designs can benefit from this understanding.

IWC’14 Sustainability Energy-Systems

Schwartz, T., Stevens, G., Jakobi,T., Denef, S., Ramirez, L., Randall, D., Wulf, W. What People Do with Consumption Feedback: A Long-Term Living Lab Study of a Home Energy Management System. In Journal of Interacting with Computers (IWC), Oxford University Press, 2014.

One of the great societal challenges that we face today concerns the move to more sustainable patterns of energy consumption, reflecting the need to balance both individual consumer choice and societal demands. In order for this ‘energy turnaround’ to take place, however, reducing residential energy consumption must go beyond using energy-efficient devices: More sustainable behaviour and lifestyles are essential parts of future ‘energy aware’living. Addressing this issue from an HCI perspective, this paper presents the results of a 3-year research project dealing with the co-design and appropriation of a Home Energy Management System (HEMS) that has been rolled out in a living lab setting with seven households for a period of 18 months. Our HEMS is inspired by feedback systems in Sustainable Interaction Design and allows the monitoring of energy consumption in real-time. In contrast to existing research mainly focusing on how technology can persuade people to consume less energy (‘what technology doestopeople’), our study focuses on the appropriation of energy feedback systems (‘what peopledowith technology’) and how newly developed practices can become a resource for future technology design. Therefore, we deliberately followed an open research design.

CHI’13 Sustainability Energy-Systems

Schwartz, T., Stevens, G., Ramirez, L., Wulf, W. Uncovering Practices of Making Energy Consumption Accountable. A Phenomenological Inquiry In Journal on ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI) Volume 20 Issue 2, May 2013 Article No. 12 ACM New York, NY, USA.

Reacting to the discussion on global warming, the HCI community has started to explore the design of tools to support responsible energy consumption. In this article, we broaden this focus, by taking a phenomenological lens to study how people use off-theshelf eco-feedback systems in private households to make energy consumption accountable and explainable. By reconstructing accounting practices, we delineate several constitutive elements of the phenomenon of energy usage in daily life. We complement these elements with a description of the sophisticated methods used by people to organize their energy practices and to give a meaning to their energy consumption. We describe these elements and methods, providing examples coming from the fieldwork and uncovering observed strategies to account for consumption. Based on our results, we provide a critical perspective on existing eco-feedback mechanisms and describe several elements for a design rationale for designing support for responsible energy consumption. We argue that interactive feedback systems should not simply be an end, but rather a resource for the construction of the artful practice of making energy consumption accountable.

CHI’12 Pattern Language

Denef, S., Keyson, D.V. 2012. Talking about Implications for Design in Pattern Language. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Austin, TX, USA, May 5–10, 2012). CHI’12. New York, NY: ACM Press. forthcoming.

In this paper we present our approach to capture and share knowledge from field studies using pattern language and thereby inform the design of ubiquitous computing. In our case, we studied frontline firefighting by observing the existing practice, by developing empathy through participation and by introducing new technology as triggering artifacts. Applying grounded theory, we distilled our findings into pattern language describing core aspects of this practice and their interaction. In a workshop, we introduced the pattern language to developers who had no previous knowledge of this practice and, in follow-up interviews, confronted them with new technology proposals for firefighters. Our study shows that pattern language, while not to be confused with an immutable description of the status quo or a direct path from contextual analysis to design, supports a reflective discussion of novel technology and the fit with and potential impact on existing practice.

PUC Journal Ubicomp Design Extreme Navigation

Ramirez, L., Dyrks, T., Gerwinski, J., Betz, M., Scholz, M. and Wulf, V. Landmarke: an ad hoc deployable ubicomp infrastructure to support indoor navigation of firefighters Journal for Personal and Ubiquitous Computing. London: Springer.

Indoor navigation plays a central role for the safety of firefighters. The circumstances in which a firefighting intervention occurs represent a rather complex challenge for the design of supporting technology. In this paper, we present the results of our work designing an ad hoc ubicomp infrastructure to support navigation of firefighters working in structure fires inside the zone of danger. We take a wider approach, complementing the technical questions with the development of effective navigation practices based on technology available today. We provide an overview of the complete design process, from the theoretical and empirical underpinnings to the construction and evaluation of three iterations of the platform. We report the results of our evaluation and the implications and tensions uncovered in this process, and we discuss the challenges and implications of it for the design of ubicomp for firefighters.

Doi: 10.1007/s00779-011-0462-5

IJD Design Pattern Language landmarke Firefighting

Denef, S., Oppermann, R., Keyson, D.V. 2011. Designing for Social Configurations:
Pattern Languages to Inform the Design of Ubiquitous Computing
In International Journal of Design, 5 (3). p. 49-65.

In this paper we present our approach of informing the design of ubiquitous computing by using pattern languages of human practice. By linking ethnography and design, this approach allows tackling the social dimension of ubiquitous computing in design processes. Adding to the existing research on patterns of human practice for design, we solidify the methodology for creating pattern languages by identifying its links with grounded theory and action research and via an example of a navigation support system for frontline firefighters, show how a pattern language becomes part of the design process. Reflecting our work, we conclude that the pattern language approach provides a framework to design for existing practice and helps to reflect the impact of novel computing artifacts.

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COMPOSITE Social Media Police

Denef, S., Bayerl, P.S., Kaptein, N. 2011. Cross-European Approaches to Social Media as a Tool for Police Communication. In European Police Science and Research Bulletin 6 (2011). p. 11–14.

Based on interviews and a series of four focus group discussions, we outline systematic differences in the approaches currently adopted by European police forces in their use of social media as communication tools. We identify variations in the implementation, integration, selection and communication use. Our objective is to inform a European dialogue on social media as a tool for police communication.

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Firefighting Pattern Language Interaction Design

Denef, S. 2011. A Pattern Language of Firefighting Frontline Practice
to Inform the Design of Ubiquitous Computing.
Aachen: Shaker. 294 p.

Designing computing systems for frontline firefighting is an open challenge. As of today, little computing support exists for such hazardous environments and designers struggle to build appropriate systems that fit the complex configuration on the frontline. Following Christopher Alexander’s understanding, design is about producing living transformations of existing configurations, it requires a thorough understanding of the situation on-site. Alexander introduces pattern languages as a means to describe existing configurations and to make them accessible for design, to link ethnography and design. This thesis therefore develops a pattern language of firefighters’ activities at the frontline to transform the existing practice into a design space for computing support.

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CHI’11 landmarke Interaction Design Firefighting

Denef, S., Keyson, D.V., Oppermann, R. 2011. Rigid Structures, Independent Units, Monitoring: Organizing Patterns in Frontline Firefighting. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Vancouver, BC, Canada, May 9–12, 2011). CHI’11. New York, NY: ACM Press. p. 1949–1958.

Providing firefighters working on the frontline of interventions with ubiquitous computing support remains an open challenge. Designing meaningful solutions for this complex work environment requires reflective thought and conceptual understanding of its social configuration. This paper presents organizing patterns of firefighting frontline practice as a means to inform ubiquitous computing design processes. The patterns originate from a qualitative analysis of an extensive range of user studies conducted with French and German firefighters. As the patterns show, firefighting on the frontline is based on a rigid structure that gains its flexibility through independent units whose safety is ensured by a number of monitoring activities. We conclude that the interaction between the presented patterns forms a balanced whole and needs to be recognized by ubiquitous computing design..

Available at the ACM Digital Library


Denef, S., Kaptein, N, Bayerl, P.S. 2011. ICT Trends in European Policing. COMPOSITE, Deliverable 4.1, European Commission FP7 Contract No. 241918.

In this report we present the results from interviews and document analyses of current and planned information and communication technology (ICT) projects with police forces from ten European countries and from interviews with technology vendors in the field of ICT for policing. Based on a cross-country, cross-organisational analysis, we present the following themes that describe major trends in ICT for European policing: – the integration of intelligence data systems, -the adoption of mobile computing, -the use of video surveillance technologies, -the application of digital biometrics, -the crosscutting issue of user acceptance, -the emerging challenge of social media applications. We discuss how these issues are relevant and thereby point to open issues for future research.

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DIS’10 landmarke Interaction Design Firefighting

Ramirez, L., Dyrks, T. 2010. Designing for high expectations: balancing ambiguity and thorough specification in the design of a wayfinding tool for firefighters. In Proceedings of the 8th ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS ’10). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 390-399.

Ambiguity has been identified as a useful tool for designing ubicomp systems. In the design of safety critical systems, however, the expectations for a system are particularly high, and goals of the technology are rigidly defined. In this context is not clear if open ended systems can still be used as a tool for design. In this paper we present a detailed account of the design process of an indoor wayfinding support tool for firefighters, in which ambiguity played a central role in driving the construction of the system. Based on an ongoing work covering more than a year of close collaboration with a heterogeneous team of project partners, we present some implications of using ambiguity for designing ubiquitous computing solutions in a domain that traditionally requires more formal specifications for the construction of technology.

Available at the ACM Digital Library

CHI’10 Workshop landmarke Interaction Design Firefighting

Denef, S., Ramirez, L., Dyrks, T. 2010. A Deep Dive into the World of Firefighters. Presented at the Bridging the Gap Workshop of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (Atlanta, GA, USA, April 10–15, 2010). CHI 2010.

In this position paper we present our approach to the design of a ubicomp navigation system to support firefighters working on the first line of intervention. Over the past three years we have conducted a broad range of workshops with firefighters and applied a number of methodological approaches. Reflecting on how the different approaches and analytical findings affected our design we conclude that the design emerges as a result of a continuous interaction with the world, of a “deep dive” into the subject matter that makes us designers sensitive to discover solutions.

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