Supporting the Design of Technology-Mediated Sharing Practices

Decanato - Facoltà di scienze informatiche

Data: 5 Settembre 2019 / 14:30 - 16:00

USI Lugano Campus, room SI-003, Informatics building (Via G. Buffi 13)

You are cordially invited to attend the PhD Dissertation Defense of Anton Fedosov on Thursday September 5th, 2019 at 14:30 in room SI-003 (Informatics building).

Online social networks have made sharing personal experiences with others -- mostly in form of photos and comments -- a common activity. The convergence of social, mobile, cloud and wearable computing expanded the scope of user-generated and shared content on the net from personal media to individual preferences to physiological details (e.g., in the form of daily workouts) to information about real-world possessions (e.g., apartments, cars). Once everyday things become increasingly networked (i.e., the Internet of Things), future online services and connected devices will only expand the set of "things" to share. Given that a new generation of sharing services is about to emerge, it is of crucial importance to provide service designers with the right insights to adequately support novel sharing practices. This work explores these practices within two emergent sharing domains: (1) personal activity tracking and (2) "sharing economy" services. The goal of this dissertation is to understand current practices of sharing personal digital and physical possessions, and to uncover corresponding end-user needs and concerns across novel sharing practices, in order to map the design space to support emergent and future sharing needs. We address this goal by adopting two research strategies, one using a bottom-up approach, the other following a top-down approach. In the bottom-up approach, we examine in-depth novel sharing practices within two emergent sharing domains through a set of empirical qualitative studies. We offer a rich and descriptive account of peoples' sharing routines and characterize the specific role of interactive technologies that support or inhibit sharing in those domains. We then design, develop, and deploy several technology prototypes that afford digital and physical sharing with the view to informing the design of future sharing services and tools within two domains, personal activity tracking and sharing economy services. In the top-down approach, drawing on scholarship in human-computer interaction (HCI) and interaction design, we systematically examine prior work on current technology-mediated sharing practices and identify a set of commonalities and differences among sharing digital and physical artifacts. Based upon these findings, we further argue that many challenges and issues that are present in digital online sharing are also highly relevant for the physical sharing in the context of the sharing economy, especially when the shared physical objects have digital representations and are mediated by an online platform. To account for these particularities, we develop and field-test an action-driven toolkit for design practitioners to both support the creation of future sharing economy platforms and services, as well as to improve the user experience of existing services. This dissertation should be of particular interest to HCI and interaction design researchers who are critically exploring technology-mediated sharing practices through fieldwork studies, as well to design practitioners who are building and evaluating sharing economy services.

Dissertation Committee:

  • Prof. Marc Langheinrich, Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland (Research Advisor)
  • Prof. Gabriele Bavota, Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland (Internal Member)
  • Dr. Monica Landoni, Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland (Internal Member)
  • Prof. Jonna Häkkilä, University of Lapland, Finland (External Member)
  • Prof. Ron Wakkary, Simon Frasier University, Canada (External Member)