Over the last couple of weeks I have been brainstorming different ideas for public display apps. I’ll put down some of the generic traits that were recurrent in my ideas. These ideas are also gleaned from the readings. None of the ideas are mutually exclusive, so many of the apps I imaged had a few of these ideas.

  • Ambient information: Public display can serve as excellent tools for ambient information. My definition of ambient information is information that is valuable to user at the given moment but not critical. I would love to know that my friend is looking for someone to fill the empty slot in basketball game tonight, but I can afford to miss the information. However when the user becomes habituated with the interface, we can reliably expect the user to look at the display.
  • Conscious interaction with the user: Many design ideas required conscious interaction between the user and the display. My idea of allowing people in a room to play scrabble using their cell phone to input text is an example. Applications having such interations will have to deal with coordination of inputs from users more diligently than other apps.
  • Context based interaction: I commute between north and central campus regularly. If the public displays at North and Central campus is going to show me when the next bus (to the other campus) is leaving when I’m near the display – it is an example of context based information. The displays have to be aware of their physical location, and attributes of its surroundings. This will also limit the mobility of the display. I can’t make my laptop screen as a public display, while I’m not at my office. Or can I?
  • One on one interaction: Although they are public displays, in some contexts we can assume that there will be only one user interacting with the display. Like the Unicase displays at Accenture labs. The display can handle interaction with multiple users, but it is primary designed for 1-on-1 interactions.
  • Aggregating interaction: Opposed to the previous idea is apps that need multiple people interacting with it to showcase its skill. The ScreamMarket application is an example where interactions with many users is encouraged. Personally I’m not favorable to these applications, they need to sustain their novelty to keep the users interested.
  • Serving as completely different tools: – Public displays equipped with camera can be used to store and broadcast messages. Instead of spending time creating fliers, students can storing and broadcast messages across campus using the public displays. They also be used to communicating across buildings connecting users separated by two displays. They can also be used by the dean to eavesdrop on the rumors spreading in the corridors.