Mobile Service Awareness via Auditory Notifications

  • Stavros Garzonis

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Placed within the realms of Human Computer Interaction, this thesis contributes towards the goals of Ubiquitous Computing, where mobile devices can provide anywhere, anytime support to people’s everyday activities. With interconnected computing devices distributed in our habitat, services relevant to any situation may be always available to address our needs. However, despite the enhanced capabilities of mobile phones, users had been reluctant to adopt any services other than calls and messaging. This has been changing more recently, especially since the launch of the iPhone, with users getting access to hundreds of services. The original question motivating the research presented in this thesis “How can we improve mobile service usage?” is in the interest of enthusiasts of mobile services as well as slow adopters. We propose the concept of ‘mobile service awareness’ and operationalise it through the more focused research question: “How can we design for non-intrusive yet informative auditory mobile service notifications?” We design and conduct a series of surveys, laboratory experiments and longitudinal field studies to address this question. Our results, also informed by literature on context-aware computing, awareness, notification systems and auditory interface design, produce two distinct major contributions. First, we provide a set of conclusions on the relative efficiency of auditory icons and earcons as auditory notifications. Second, we produce a set of design guidelines for the two types of notifications, based on the critical evaluation of the methodologies we develop and adapt from the literature. Although these contributions were made with mobile service notification in mind, they are arguably useful for designers of any auditory interfaces conveying complex concepts (such as mobile services) and are used in attention demanding contexts.
Date of Award1 Jun 2010
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorEamonn O'Neill (Supervisor)

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