Week 4

The MobileHCI conference took place this week. It started with some workshops on Sunday, and the conference itself running from Monday to Wednesday.

It was a great opportunity to see the research currently being carried out in this field.


The event was held at Singapore Polytechnic. We set up the Blogwall and other demonstration systems on Sunday morning. Over a number of workshops and breaks, I had the chance to speak to academics and researchers from all over the world, doing research in different areas and applications. Some of them were really striking for their novelty and innovation.

Ideas for the blogwall

I suppose one of the key points I'd like to highlight now are some possible extensions or improvements to the application. Over the course of the past few weeks, I have spent a considerable amount of time understanding the application. Furthermore, being at this conference has also given me some fresh insight as well. In this light, I'd like to just list down here some of the ideas/thoughts I had regarding the system. This might be very rough, since I'm just writing them down just as I thought of them. They'd probably need some polishing up. But at the basic level, all the suggestions revolve around giving the system some form of structure, in terms of how the elements are displayed on screen.

  • Conversation mode. This is perhaps an enhanced version of the basic SMS mode. What caught my attention was that people were always looking where their sms would appear. To me, that seems to be more of a hassle than a feature. Furtheremore, in the present situation, we need to ensure that we have algorithms for collision detection to ensure that the conversation appears in an unoccupied region of the screen. My idea is to have something similar to what you can see here on the big screen. This will allow people to continue or carry on conversations in public which will hopefully also add to the fun factor, than just seeing sms messages in isolation.
  • Poetry mode. In a similar manner, the system would also display poetry in a more structured manner. For instance, the selected poem might always appear in a box near the center or bottom of the screen. The user's sms message is displayed in another box above it.
  • Poll mode. Once again, a structured display would be helpful in my opinion. The question and results should be clearly displayed on screen, preferably in well-defined regions. Coloured bars could indicated the number of votes received for each option. Polls could also perhaps be time limited, and these could be used innovatively in shopping centres or other similar situations. Users will then feel that their vote will in fact influence a particular outcome.
  • Colours. In the current system, one reason for using butterflies is to give the user visual feedback when a new message appears. This is necessary since at present, messages can pop up anywhere on screen. However, with a more structured approach this might not be necessary. I believe other forms of feedback would then be useful. For instance, the colour of the display could be altered according to the emotional content of the chosen poem. The feedback the user gets in this case is at a much deeper level. This might turn out to be a fun game as to whether the system can understand the user, or perhaps that the user can influence the emotional state of the system.
  • Sound. Again, this is another form of feedback that could be employed. Could the system select a musical output depending on the emotional content of the selected poem?


It'd be great to hear anything about the ideas?

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