Personalizing shared ubiquitous devices


This article describes two years of experience with a research prototype for personalizing shared workplace devices such as projectors, public displays, and multi-function copiers. The system combines users’ networked resources-or “personal information clouds”—with device-specific user interfaces for performing common device tasks. We developed and compared personal interfaces that are embedded (i.e., integrated or co-located with the shared device) and portable (i.e., accessible via personal devices such as mobile phones and PDAs). Our experience indicates that a little personalization can go a long way toward improving user friendliness, efficiency, and capabilities of shared document devices, helping them “weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life”. We also gained important insights into subtle differences between embedded and portable approaches to ubiquitous computing systems.