Playing with Context : Explicit and Implicit Interaction in Mobile Media Applications

Sammanfattning: This thesis contributes with insights into how aspects of the surrounding physical and social context can be exploited in the design of mobile media applications for playful use. In this work, context refers to aspects of the immediate surroundings – outside of the device – that can be identified and measured by sensors; for instance environmental aspects like sound, and social aspects like co-located people. Two extensive case studies explore the interplay between users, mobile media, and aspects of context in different ways, and how it can invite playful use. The first case study, Context Photography, uses sensor-based information about the immediate physical surroundings to affect images in real time in a novel digital camera application for everyday creativity. The second, Push!Music, makes it possible to share music both manually and autonomously between co-located people, based on so-called media context, for spontaneous music sharing.The insights gained from the designs, prototypes, and user studies, point at the value of combining explicit and implicit interaction – essentially, the expected and unexpected – to open for playful use. The explicit interaction encouraged users to be active, exploratory, and creative. The implicit interaction let users embrace and exploit dynamic qualities of the surroundings, contributing to making the systems fun, exciting, magical, ‘live’, and real. This combination was facilitated through our approach to context, where sensor-based information was mostly open in use and interpretation, ambiguous, visible, and possible to override for users, and through giving the systems a degree of agency and autonomy. A key insight is that the combination of explicit and implicit interaction allowed both control and a sense of magic in the interaction with the mobile media applications, which together seems to encourage play and playfulness.