Notes on “Context-Aware Computing Applications”

September 27, 2008

The authors explored a simple framework for classifying context-aware computing applications and placed several applications into the framework. The framework suggests we should classify context-aware applications by whether the application is automatic or manual and whether it gets information or performs a command. The four applications are selecting resources by location (manual-information), contextual reconfiguration (automatic-information), contextual commands (manual-command) and automatic context-triggered actions (automatic-command).

The key insight of the paper is the framework. In my opinion, by placing applications into the framework we move toward understanding the similarities between applications. This could in the future result in the construction of a platform to support context-aware computing by creating common components which can be reused in different systems.

One limitation in the paper is that they don’t present value-judgements about the designs. They should have tested the applications to show what works in the real world. For example, they showed several possible UIs for selecting a nearby printer, but did not tell which worked best in practice.

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