Germaine Halegoua is an Assistant Professor in the Film and Media Studies Department at the University of Kansas. She received her PhD from the Media and Cultural Studies program at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her research interests focus on…
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To observe the mobile user experience various observation techniques exist. For ﬁeld studies ethnographic observation techniques, like shadowing, are often used. In shadowing, an experimenter follows a participant and takes notes on the observed behaviour. Shadowing is known to be highly situated [3, 5]. However, this technique does not scale very well. Additionally, because of its obtrusiveness, it could change the observed participant’s behaviour.
To overcome the disadvantages of low scalability and high obtrusiveness, new observation methods are being developed. In theory, passive automated logging through sensors seems to reach the same “situatedness”, while being scalable and unobtrusive [3, 5]. In practice logging has rarely been applied to mobile observation during the last years. One reason for this might be that suitable data sources, e.g. sensors, were not available on a common mobile device. However, the extension of smart phones through external sensors showed that sensors are able to infer users’ everyday situations .
Mobile phones have become ubiquitous and an integrated part of our everyday life. In the last couple of years smart phones have received increased attention as application stores (e.g. Apple App Store, Android Market, and Nokia Ovi Store) have enabled easy distribution of mobile applications. New smart phone features and sensors have enabled a wide range of novel mobile applications, especially within games and media consumption domains. In the area of music applications a number of different mobile applications have been created. One example is mobile applications for the Internet radio Last.fm, which enable recommendation of music similar to the user’s favorites based on social networking features. MoodAgent is an example of an application that enables the user to navigate a music collection in terms of mood, rhythm, and style of the music.