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TimelyPresent: Design of technology to connect 3-generation families at a distance

Kim, Hyesook (2011) TimelyPresent: Design of technology to connect 3-generation families at a distance. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

Many designs have been suggested for connecting absent loved ones using technology. This thesis focuses on a particular user group: 3-generation families, where some members are separated by a large distance. The aim of this study is to design a communication technology that allows people with family members living abroad to feel more connected. The work started with a Probe study triggering deep feelings about relationship and communication. The findings from the analysis of this qualitative data were examined again to generate ideas for design. The concept of TimelyPresent was inspired from one of the design ideas and developed into a working prototype. Finally a field study of TimelyPresent was carried out. The Probe study involved members of 3-generation families talking about their experiences of separation and communication using “emotional probes”. Six participants from these families living in the UK and three living in South Korea were recruited and interviews were conducted. Through the analysis of the data (17 interview recorded files with 134 pages of transcripts) using grounded theory analysis, 37 Selective Codes with 118 sections of text emerged. An example of one of these codes is: Sharing the moment – children’s laughter with happiness, example of quote, “My husband said he wants to hear the children’s laughter every day”. While the above analysis says much about the emotions experienced by the families separated by large distance and time difference, it does not directly inspire design ideas for communication devices. An additional analysis was thus carried out to identify themes for design. Two design sessions were conducted for generating ideas to illustrate and clarify the needs of the families. Six design themes emerged including Finding time, Sending love, and Reflection. The quotes associated with these themes can be viewed as a rich way of expressing possible requirements for design. The latter two themes inspired the design of a device that would be used to send asynchronous media gifts based on - TimelyPresent. TimelyPresent is a very simple to use device with which families can create gifts with special meaning to stimulate conversation and to act as long lasting keepsakes for reflection. The Archos 9 was selected as the platform, resembling an electronic photo album and providing touch interaction. The key features of this design are the metaphor of a present delivered after a time delay so that it arrives at the same time of day that it was created. The aim of the field study of TimelyPresent was to understand the problems and opportunities provided by the participants trying out TimelyPresent and to allow them to tell us about their experiences using it. Four participant families were recruited and eight participants were interviewed after the first and second months of using TimelyPresent. In each interview, open questions were asked about how they felt about making and receiving presents and changes in the relationship with remote family. Logs recording the traffic of use of TimelyPresent, transcripts of 15 interviews and 102 presents created by the participants were analysed. Themes that emerged included: different concept of communication, playful mode of use for creator, the value of laughter, anticipation for a new present to arrive, and feeling closer. Particular ways of making presents were also examined. This thesis is unusual in the respect that we were able to go through the whole process of design from an open ended Probe Study to the design and field study of a prototype. In this process various methods were tested and their value demonstrated in this particular context. The contributions of this thesis are: (i) pointers as to where various methods may most effectively be used in design and, (ii) a novel demonstration of how asynchronous communication can be used to connect family.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Psychology (York)
Depositing User: Ms Hyesook Kim
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 11:48
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 08:48
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/2067

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