|InfoVis.net>Magazine>message nº 118||Published 2003-04-07|
|También disponible en Español|
The digital magazine of InfoVis.net
Computing devices are becoming increasingly ubiquitous. Many of us share information amongst the laptop, home and office computers. The boom of mobile telephony has introduced one of these devices into each and every pocket and it’s also quite common to have a (pompously so called) personal digital assistant or PDA that serves as agenda, notebook, clock and many other things. The rise of WiFi poses the possibility that all of them talk to each other without the need of wires.
From 1960 up until now the relationship between humans and computing devices has been constantly changing. According to Roel Vertegaal* director of the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, this relationship has changed in the following way:
Until now each device has been acting without taking into account the other ones that need the attention of the user. Consequently the different devices we own compete for our attention, leading to a critical usability issue.
In order to improve this situation, researchers are beginning to work on interfaces that negotiate the timing and the amount of communication they hold with the user. They are called Attentive User Interfaces (AUIs) because they try to monitor where the attention of the user is focused, weighing up the importance of the information they supply with the estimated priorities of the user’s focused activity.
AUIs use specific input, output and turn-taking techniques to determine what task, device or person a user is attending to. This is done by detecting a user’s presence, orientation, speech activity and gaze and statistically modelling attention and interaction in order to establish the relevance of information that could be presented to the user and the urgency of doing so in the context of the current estimated activity.
Four elements at least build up this type of interface:
Attentive User Interfaces have the potential to make our life simpler in a world where our time is an increasingly scarce resource hounded by the interruptions of our e-mail, agenda, mobile phone and the other devices that accompany us at all times.
* Attentive User Interfaces in Communications of the ACM, March 2003 / Vol. 46, No. 3
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