Hitchers: Designing for cellular positioning

Adam Drozd, Steve Benford, Nick Tandavanitj, Michael Wright, Alan Chamberlain

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section

30 Citations (SciVal)


Hitchers is a game for mobile phones that exploits cellular positioning to support location-based play. Players create digital hitch hikers, giving them names, destinations and questions to ask other players, and then drop them into their current phone cell. Players then search their current cell for hitchers, pick them up, answer their questions, carry them to new locations and drop them again, providing location-labels as hint to where they can be found. In this way, hitchers pass from player to player, phone to phone and cell to cell, gathering information and encouraging players to label cells with meaningful place names. A formative study of Hitchers played by 47 players over 4 months shows how the seams in cellular positioning, including varying cell size, density and overlap, affected the experience. Building on previous discussions of designing for uncertainty and seamful design, we consider five ways of dealing with these seams: removing, hiding, managing, revealing and exploiting them. This leads us to propose the mechanism of a dynamic search focus, to explore new visualization tools for cellular data, and to reconsider the general relationship between 'virtual' and 'physical' worlds in location-based games.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUbiComp 2006: Ubiquitous Computing
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings
EditorsPaul Dourish, Adrian Friday
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)3540396349, 9783540396345
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006
Event8th International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing, UbiComp 2006 - Orange County, CA, USA United States
Duration: 17 Sept 200621 Sept 2006

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
Volume4206 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference8th International Conference on Ubiquitous Computing, UbiComp 2006
Country/TerritoryUSA United States
CityOrange County, CA


  • Cellular positioning
  • Mobile games
  • Seamful design
  • Ubiquitous computing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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