Information Scraps in the Smartphone Era
Ellis, William Thomas
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How people create and use information scraps, the small informal messages that people write to themselves to help them complete a task or remember something, has changed rapidly in the age of mobile computing. As recently as 2008, information scraps had continued to resist technological support. Since then, however, people have adopted mobile connected devices at a rate unimagined in the pre-smartphone era. Developers have, in turn, created a varied and growing body of smartphone software that supports many common information scrap use-cases. In this thesis, we describe our research into how and why people have adopted smartphone technology to serve their information scrap needs. The results of our survey show broad adoption of smartphones for many common information scrap tasks, particularly ones involving prospective memory. In addition, the results of our diary studies show that mobile contexts or locations are highly correlated with people's choosing to use smartphones to record information scraps. Our analysis of our diary study data also provides fresh understanding of the information scrap lifecycle and how mobile digital technology affects it. We find people's smartphone information scraps tend toward automatic archival, and we find their information scraps in general tend toward substantial role overlap regardless of medium. We use these findings to formulate a new information scrap lifecycle that is inclusive of mobile technology. These insights will help mobile technology creators to better support information scraps, which, in turn will allow users to enjoy the huge benefits of digital technology in their information scrap tasks.
- Masters Theses