[RR04] Taxonomy of Ambient Media + User

I think the taxonomy of ambient media should also consider the user’s point of view as well. While I do find the current archetypes and vocabulary very comprehensive, I think it all focuses on the system. However, the system is defined for the user to interface with. Therefore, I think that to add a dimension to the taxonomy, what happens after the user has shifted their attention to their “ex-periphery”. How much attention did each notification? How does the system want the user to react? What is the goal of the system? What is the system’s level of immersion?

Attention and interaction–this concept builds on the paper’s notion of notification level but is distinct in that it focuses on how the user deals with the notifications. Can a user simply turn their head to ignore the information, like the user can for the Dangling String? Or do they have to be more involved and give the system input? This is a measure of how interactive an ambient media system is. Does it allow the user to sit back and be passive before and after notification, just taking in the soft stream of information, or does it want the user to be more active after the periphery comes into focus?

Another aspect of ambient media to consider could be the level of immersion. When we assess these types of systems, we should also consider how easy it is for a person to extricate himself or herself from the system. In the case of all the examples mentioned in the taxonomy paper (Digital Family Portrait, Apple Dashboard, etc.) this would be easy: just look or tap away. After all, the focus of ambient media is to allow the user to naturally shift their attention. However, in previous reading examples such as the ambientROOM, the user is physically in the system. They have to physically leave behind the information to escape the patter of digital rain (their choice of representation) and information.

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