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Publics in practice: Ubiquitous computing at a shelter for homeless mothers

By Christopher A. Le Dantec, Robert G. Farrell, Jim E. Christensen, Mark Bailey, Jason B. Ellis and Wendy A. Kellogg


Today, commodity technologies like mobile phones—once symbols of status and wealth—have become deeply woven into social and economic participation in Western society. Despite the pervasiveness of these technologies, there remain groups who may not have extensive access to them but who are nonetheless deeply affected by their presence in everyday life. In light of this, we designed, built, and deployed a ubiquitous computing system for one such overlooked group: the staff and residents at a shelter for homeless mothers. Our system connects mobile phones, a shared display, and a Web application to help staff and residents stay connected. We report on the adoption and use of this system over the course of a 30 week deployment, discussing the substantial impact our system had on shelter life and the broader implications for such socio-technical systems that sit at the juncture of social action and organizational coordination

Topics: Homeless, Urban Computing, Longitudinal Study, Qualitative Methods ACM Classification Keywords H.5.3 Group and Organization Interface, Collaborative Computing, Evaluation/methodology General Terms Design, Human Factors
Year: 2011
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