Designing & Evaluating Mobile Systems for Collocated Group Use @ Mobile HCI 2011 - Stockholm, Sweden



With the proliferation of mobile devices it has become common to see groups of users working or playing together using multiple mobile devices. While much effort is exerted to ensure that interaction with a mobile device is useful for each individual user, less effort has gone into considering how to design and evaluate mobile interfaces and platforms for group use. Recent improvements in the interaction, computing, connectivity and general flexibility of mobile devices make them an ideal, yet underutilized, platform for group level interaction. Our goal with this workshop is to bring together researchers who have started to investigate the collocated group use of mobile devices and to shed light on the challenges of designing and evaluating mobile collocated group experiences.


Though nascent in its exploration, research into the group-use of mobile devices is starting to occur in a variety of different research domains. From the low-level perspective, work in engineering platforms that allow designers to easily create applications for mobile groups is on the rise [7, 10]. Additionally, some researchers are starting to focus on how general groupware issues such as ad-hoc group formation and floor control policies are impacted by the switch from standard group-use hardware, such as table-top displays or interactive whiteboards, to a collection of mobile devices [6, 1].The gaming community has also recently shown interest in understanding and designing for the mobile collocated research domain with the production of various network connected handheld gaming consoles. Work in this area varies from attempts at understanding existing practices [12] to determining the impact of player-to-player and player-to-device orientation [5] to the design of a research framework to better evaluate games within a socio-spatial context [4]. There has even been research into the design of mobile collocated gaming experiences (though these have not explicitly examined the mobile group experience but has instead used the games to uncover interesting technological findings) [2, 11].

Our own work has focused on the design and evaluation of experiences which allow a fluid mingling of interaction with other users and with a user’s personal mobile device. In Mobiphos, we explored the impact of real-time photograph capture and sharing. We started by examining the existing practice of capturing a photo on a digital camera and sharing that picture with a group of friends by huddling around a single small screen. We improved upon this experience by taking advantage of the network capabilities of more recent cam-eras. We focused on supporting the fluid nature of existing practices and made sure that users could easily switch between capturing their own photos and bringing the group together to focus on specific photographs [3, 9]. Another of our projects, Dual-Purpose Speech, leverages common phrases used while users are engaging in face-to-face conversation as a method inputting information into a user’s mobile device. Employing Dual-Purpose Speech makes it possible fora user to avoid the stilted nature of speech interactions that occurs where a user must speak to other humans and then to the computer [8].


In this workshop we will bring together researchers from these various research domains with the goal of creating a deeper understanding of issues involved in designing, building, and evaluating end-to-end mobile collocated group experience. Though there are many open research questions in this space we intend to focus our discussion on HCI issues. Some open questions that we intend to use as a departure point for discussion include:

The goal of this workshop is to hear from fellow researchers who are interested in the mobile-collocated space. Primarily we will focus on developing a canonical set of implications for design and evaluation. Participants for this workshop should submit 2-4 page papers on finished projects or works-in-progress describing their own work which may fall in the domain of mobile-collocated use. The workshop will start with quick presentations of the accepted papers. The majority of the time will be spent breaking into groups based on interest in design or evaluation and trying to distill some of the common recurring themes from the individual works. Groups will then speak quickly about the resultant themes and the workshop as a whole will comment. By the end, we will have compiled a list of design and evaluation principles that can help guide future efforts in the mobile collocated research space.

A secondary goal is to uncover current emergent uses of mobile technology to enhance mobile-collocated interaction (such as sharing photos with the camera LCD) and to compile a list of scenarios in which designing these systems makes sense. This will help us and the participants find new domains of interaction in which a more considered design approach could results in better overall interaction. Finally, participants will be encouraged to bring demonstrations of their systems to the workshop to be shown to the participants as a conversational aid used to ground the discussion.


  1. L. M. Ah Kun, G. Marsden. Co-present photo sharing on mobile devices. In Proceedings of MobileHCI ’07, MobileHCI ’07, pages 277–284, New York, NY, USA, 2007. ACM.
  2. S. Benford, D. Rowland, M. Flintham, A. Drozd, R. Hull, J. Reid, J. Morrison, and K. Facer. Life on the edge: supporting collaboration in location-based experiences. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems, CHI ’05, pages 721–730, New York, NY, USA, 2005. ACM.
  3. J. Clawson, A. Voida, N. Patel, and K. Lyons. Mobiphos : a collocated-synchronous mobile photo sharing application. In Proceedings of the 10th international conference on Human computer interaction with mobile devices and services, MobileHCI ’08, pages 187–195, New York, NY, USA, 2008. ACM.
  4. Y. de Kort, W. IJsselsteijn, and B. Gajadhar. People, Places, and Play: A research framework for digital game experience in a socio-spatial context. In Proceedings of DiGRA ’07, pages 823–830, 2007.
  5. J. Kauko and J. Häkkilä. Shared-screen social gaming with portable devices. In Proceedings of the MobileHCI’10, MobileHCI ’10, pages 317–326, New York, NY, USA, 2010. ACM.
  6. M. Kohno and J. Rekimoto. Searching common experience: a social communication tool based on mobile ad-hoc networking. In Proceedings of MobileHCI ’05, MobileHCI ’05, pages 15–22, New York, NY, USA, 2005. ACM.
  7. A. Lucero, J. Keränen, and H. Korhonen. Collaborative use of mobile phones for brainstorming. In Proceedings of MobileHCI ’10, MobileHCI ’10, pages 337–340, New York, NY, USA, 2010. ACM.
  8. K. Lyons, C. Skeels, T. Starner, C. M. Snoeck, B. A. Wong, and D. Ashbrook. Augmenting conversations using dual-purpose speech. In Proceedings of UIST ’04, UIST ’04, pages 237–246, New York, NY, USA, 2004. ACM.
  9. N. Patel, J. Clawson, A. Voida, and K. Lyons. Mobiphos: A study of user engagement with a mobile collocated-synchronous photo sharing application. International Journal of Human Computer Studies, 67:1048–1059, December 2009.
  10. T. Pering, R. Want, B. Rosario, and K. Sud, Shivani and Lyons. Enabling pervasive collaboration with platform composition. In Pervasive ’09, pages 184–201, 2009.
  11. I. Soute, P. Markopoulos, and R. Magielse. Head up games: combining the best of both worlds by merging traditional and digital play. Personal Ubiquitous Computing, 14:435–444, July 2010.
  12. C. Szentgyorgyi, M. Terry, and E. Lank. Renegade gaming: practices surrounding social use of the Nintendo DS handheld gaming system. In Proceeding of CHI ’08, CHI’08, pages 1463–1472, New York, NY, USA, 2008. ACM.


Submissions should be a maximum of four pages in the MobileHCI 2011 Archive Format and address open research questions on the topics of interest which will be used to foster workshop discussion. Submissions are due by April 30th, 2011 by 23:59 PDT (UTC-7) and should be emailed to

A small committee will peer-review submitted papers. Papers will be selected based on several criteria:

Notification of acceptance will be provided by May 21st, 2011. Please note that accepted workshop papers will NOT be published in the conference proceedings nor in the ACM Digital Library. However, the accepted papers will be disbursed to all participants so that they may familiarize themselves with the workshop material prior to attending.

Workshop Format

The workshop will follow the full-day format to allow for as much discussion as possible amongst the participants. We will divide the workshop into four parts (pre- and post- break for the morning and afternoon). During the first session, each participant will give a very short presentation (duration dependent on number of accepted participants) explaining his or her research and ideas to the other participants. To encourage discussion, a “back channel”—a web page simultaneously editable/viewable by many users—will be available to participants. During presentations, the other participants will be encouraged to use the back channel to note directions for further discussion. After the morning break, we will hold a group discussion about themes which emerged across the participant’s talks. Those themes will be the focus of the first half of the afternoon’s agenda. There will be 3–5 breakout groups formed to discuss in-depth some of the ideas and issues that were noted during the morning. In the remaining time, the participants will be brought back together, and a representative from each group will present the results of the discussion and talk about future opportunities.



Nirmal Patel is a Ph.D. student at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the Computer Science program with a focus on HCI. Nirmal has a Bachelors and Masters degree in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Nirmal is currently a User Experience Researcher at Google. His research is primarily focused on determining the design and evaluation issues when creating groupware experiences for groups of mobile, collocated users.
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James Clawson is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the Georgia Institute of Technology who hopes to complete his Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing in the Summer of 2011. Focused on examining mobile communication, James conducts research in two areas: mobile text input and the collocated group-use of mobile technology.
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