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[CHI 2017] Always On(line)? User Experience of Smartwatches and their Role within Multi-Device Ecologies

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Users have access to a growing ecosystem of devices (desktop, mobile and wearable) that can deliver notifications and help people to stay in contact. Smartwatches are gaining popularity, yet little is known about the user experience and their impact on our increasingly always online culture. We report on a qualitative study with existing users on their everyday use of smartwatches to understand both the added value and the challenges of being constantly connected at the wrist. Our findings show that users see a large benefit in receiving notifications on their wrist, especially in terms of helping manage expectations of availability. Moreover, we find that response rates after viewing a notification on a smartwatch change based on the other devices available: laptops prompt quicker replies than smartphones. Finally, there are still many costs associated with using smartwatches, thus we make a series of design recommendations to improve the user experience of smartwatches.

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[CHI 2017] Always On(line)? User Experience of Smartwatches and their Role within Multi-Device Ecologies

  1. 1. USER EXPERIENCE OF SMARTWATCHES AND THEIR ROLE WITHIN MULTI-DEVICE ECOLOGIES ALWAYS ON(LINE)? Marta E. Cecchinato1, Anna L Cox1, Jon Bird2 1University College London & 2City University London @martacecchinato
  2. 2. GLANCING at information (Schirra & Bentley, 2015 Cecchinato et al., 2015) NOTIFICATIONS 2nd most popular use (Pizza et al., 2016) ALWAYS ON vs. smartphone (Pizza et al., 2016) RELATED WORK
  3. 3. RIGHT TO DISCONNECT FROM TECHNOLOGY
  4. 4. SMARTWATCHES: or
  5. 5. 1. SMARTWATCH NOTIFICATIONS Which do I want? 3. CROSS-DEVICE EXPERIENCE Where do I reply? 2. MANAGING AVAILABILITY Do I reply now?
  6. 6. METHOD AUTOETHNOGRAPHY 2-month diary 60 friends and family (34f, 26m, aged 12-78) INTERVIEWS 17 participants Aged: 23-68 (median: 31) All male with tech jobs From UK, USA & Australia
  7. 7. PARTICIPANTS’ SMARTWATCHES Average ownership: 8 months Pebble (n=9 of which one Pebble Steel) Moto360 (n=3) LG G watch (n=2) Basis Peak (n=1) Samsung Gear (n=3, two Gear S and one Gear Fit) **Apple Watch (n=1)
  8. 8. 1. SMARTWATCH NOTIFICATIONS Which do I want? 3. CROSS-DEVICE EXPERIENCE Where do I reply? 2. MANAGING AVAILABILITY Do I reply now?
  9. 9. PRIORITY “customising your wearable […] gives you control. It feels nice to have control over technology” [P10] WHAT NOTIFICATIONS DO I WANT? CONTEXTUAL “I have from time to time stopped certain notifications… [for example] when I've been out for dinner with a friend or something like that.” [P4]
  10. 10. BUT MORE NUANCED WHAT NOTIFICATIONS DO I WANT? “Still, I don't have the luxury to decide I want emails only from this specific person” [P10] “Twitter sort of lets you enable notifications for certain people […] that's good. On the other hand with WhatsApp […] I would have to go to WhatsApp and [disable] the notification, but what if I had something important come in?” [P6]
  11. 11. WEARING HABITS “I try to use it while I'm driving [or when] I'm in the office, but once I'm home I can just disconnect from my smartwatch […] to stay away from the phone [and business emails]” [P8] WHEN DO I WEAR MY SMARTWATCH?
  12. 12. 1. SMARTWATCH NOTIFICATIONS Which do I want? 3. CROSS-DEVICE EXPERIENCE Where do I reply? 2. MANAGING AVAILABILITY Do I reply now?
  13. 13. AWARENESS CUES “another nice feature of [the smartwatch], is that […] you can read the message without them seeing that you've seen it so then they don't feel offended that you are ignoring them.” [P11]
  14. 14. EXPECTATIONS “I know you have this watch and you see my messages!” "I don’t receive notifications from all apps”NON-USER, friend USER, me Hey, how are you? … FROM AUTOETHNOGRAPHY
  15. 15. 1. SMARTWATCH NOTIFICATIONS Which do I want? 2. MANAGING AVAILABILITY Do I reply now? 3. CROSS-DEVICE EXPERIENCE Where do I reply?
  16. 16. URGENT REPLIES “I usually only reply on my watch if it's an element of urgency or it's very short and easy to reply.” [P3] “It makes those communications simpler and in some cases more polite. […] Just because someone wants to be synchronous doesn't mean that I am going to be .” [P13] TO WHAT DO I REPLY?
  17. 17. LAPTOP vs PHONE “I'm far more likely to respond if I'm on my laptop and it's way more easy to type on that. […] Whereas if I'm away from my laptop I can't be arsed to get the phone out and send something.” [P1] WHERE DO I REPLY?
  18. 18. 1. SMARTWATCH NOTIFICATIONS 3. CROSS-DEVICE EXPERIENCE 2. MANAGING AVAILABILITY SMARTWATCHES AS MICROBOUNDARIES TO GAIN CONTROL OVER AVAILABILITY
  19. 19. MICRO-BOUNDARIES User-strategies to shift from mindless interactions with technology, to more conscious ways of engaging with a device and the information it provides. Cecchinato et al. 2015 Cox et al., 2016
  20. 20. NEED FOR DECENTRALISED NOTIFICATIONS
  21. 21. USER EXPERIENCE OF SMARTWATCHES AND THEIR ROLE WITHIN MULTI-DEVICE ECOLOGIES ALWAYS ON(LINE)? Marta E. Cecchinato (“check-in ato”) @martacecchinato

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