As part of my PhD I am working on an accessible indoor navigation tool. I am interested in building a tool to run on mobile devices, providing users with individually tailored navigation instructions based on detailed user models.
Personalisation of applications is nothing new, we see it everyday when we log into our Facebook profiles and are dispensed a million adverts related to things we ‘Like’ on the web. Companies are using our interests to target their averts more intelligently. Great for them, but its not using the technology to its full potential for the USER.
I’m keen to investigate the potential of detailed user models / profiles to customise interfaces and interactions to suit individuals, appose to the generic, abstract, universal user that systems are currently designed and developed for. As an example of this style of system I am working on an indoor navigation tool.
When way-finding we each have different needs and techniques, so why should we be given the same instructions and routes? The tool I have been building is web based and able to run from any mobile device with a internet browser. However for the purpose of my study I have focused on working with the iPhone and iPad devices.
How it works
The iPad connects with the web service and gets an updated version of your ‘user model’ containing a little information about you, the applications you use, and previous logs within the navigation tool.
based on the information retrieved the application will customise the interface to a layout and interaction style that best suits you, the device and the environment. I the case of the navigation tool we can provide audio transcriptions of text instructions, translate into your preferred language and personalise way-finding routes to match your needs. i.e Wheel chair users would prefer to avoid stairs, and seek alternative means of changing floors such as lifts and ramps.
During your session within the system, data is logged about you and updated back into the central profile repository. This data is then ready to be used by other applications you interact with.
By providing an additional layer of customisation to the interface of applications we can provide a more tailored feeling and interaction for the user, helping to enhance their overall experience with the system.