Each year during the month of August, the city of Edinburgh hosts a number of international festivals, including an international arts festival, a book festival, a film festival and also the world's largest arts festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, with more than 250 venues and 1700 shows, many of which take place daily throughout a four week period. These festivals bring a large number of tourists to Edinburgh who spend several days discovering the city, and its numerous bars and restaurants as well as visiting events.
During the festivals, the city is full of various forms of printed information including special venue maps, official brochures, daily programmes and event flyers. In addition, lots of information is available on official festival websites as well as websites of various newspapers.
There are many strong arguments for retaining paper in mobile environments, including the fact that it is light, cheap, robust and easily annotated in various ways. Also, the planning of activities during a city visit often involves combining and comparing information within and across documents such as maps, event brochures and guidebooks and this is easier using paper documents than working with digital mobile devices with small screens. The Edinburgh festivals provide an ideal environment for testing technologies for mobile information systems and appropriate means of delivering relevant information in a timely and convenient manner. We therefore chose to investigate the use of emerging technologies for interactive paper in mobile tourist environments and particularly in the context of the Edinburgh festivals where tourists may want to enter and share reviews, as well as plan their activities, while on the move.
Based on the experiences already gained from the Zurich City Guide application, we decided to build a mobile information system for the Edinburgh festivals based mainly on a paper user interface. The resulting EdFest system contains different interaction components, namely a special interactive paper brochure containing a map and event list, a digital pen and an earpiece with a built-in microphone used for voice interaction. We considered various options for the display of information and decided to dispense with any form of visual display such as a Pocket Computer, Tablet PC or head-mounted display and instead focus on audio output for the first demonstrator.
For the EdFest application we used the modified Nokia Digital Pen which works in streaming mode. A central server has a database with information about venues, events, pubs, restaurants and also user reviews. The brochure contain a map which is marked with venues and the user can request information about a venue by simply pointing with the pen at the appropriate location on the map. The system will then initiate a voice dialogue that allows a user to get general information about the venue or events being held there.
In addition to the interaction components, the users also carried a wearable computer with a Global Positioning System (GPS) module for location tracking, enabling the system to detect a user's location and support locator and navigation tasks. For example, there is a 'Where Am I?' button located at the bottom of the map. The system helps the user locate their position on the map by telling them the general grid position, together with a general guide to the placement within the grid e.g. "Grid F5, top right". If the user then points with the pen within that grid, the system will give feedback telling them where to move the pen to arrive at the precise location, thereby helping users find exact location on a map which can often be a frustrating and timeconsuming task. Users can also use this functionality to locate events listed in the brochure by pointing to the venue and being told where to find that venue on the map. This is a form of paper-to-paper link where different parts of the physical booklet are linked together through digital media.
The figure below shows parts of a booklet page listing different events. The user can access additional information about an event by simply pointing to relevant areas within the event listing. As described earlier, pointing to a venue, for example the Traverse Theatre, will result in audio instructions about where to find the venue on the map. The user can also get information about the artist, a description of the event, other events of the same category and ticket availability. In many cases, the choice of the exact type of information required is determined through a voice dialogue. There is also a rating area where users can input their rating by selecting a star rating between 1 and 5. The average rating is accessed by pointing to the text 'Rating'. It is also possible to set a reminder for a specific event by pointing to the event’s timing information with the pen.
Last but not least, the users can enter their reviews either by writing comments alongside the event listing or by writing them in a separate notebook with the Anoto pattern. Notes that are written in a separate booklet can be linked to a specific event by selecting the event’s title after the note has been captured. These reviews will be sent to the central database server and can then be accessed by other users requesting information about the corresponding event.
Tests and user trials of the EdFest system took place in Edinburgh during August 2004 and August 2005. Usability trials were carried out at various locations in the city, including public places and locations in and around festival venues. They involved the testing of the EdFest prototype, a mix of semi-structured interviews, observations based on video and audio recordings and also user questionnaires. Overall the response to the interactive brochure was positive although there were a number of both design and technical issues raised.
Additional information is available on the EdFest project webpage.
Alexandre de Spindler, Moira C. Norrie and Michael Grossniklaus, Recommendation based on Opportunistic Information Sharing between Tourists, Journal on Information Technology and Tourism (JITT), Vol. 10, No. 4, 2008, Cognizant Communication Corporation
Beat Signer, Fundamental Concepts for Interactive Paper and Cross-Media Information Spaces, ISBN 978-3-8370-2713-6, Hardcover, 276 Pages, May 2008 (first published 2006 as Diss ETH No. 16218)
Moira C. Norrie, Beat Signer, Michael Grossniklaus, Rudi Belotti, Corsin Decurtins and Nadir Weibel, Context-Aware Platform for Mobile Data Management, Wireless Networks (WINET), Vol. 13, No. 6, Springer, December 2007
Beat Signer, Michael Grossniklaus and Moira C. Norrie, Interactive Paper as a Mobile Client for a Multi-Channel Web Information System, World Wide Web (WWW), Vol. 10, No. 4, Springer, December 2007
Alexandre de Spindler, Moira C. Norrie and Michael Grossniklaus, Collaborative Filtering based on Opportunistic Information Sharing in Mobile Ad-Hoc Networks, In Proceedings of CoopIS 2007, 15th International Conference on
Cooperative Information Systems (Short Paper), Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal, November 2007
Beat Signer, Moira C. Norrie, Michael Grossniklaus, Rudi Belotti, Corsin Decurtins and Nadir Weibel, Paper-Based Mobile Access to Databases, In Demo Proceedings of SIGMOD 2006, ACM International Conference on Management of Data, Chicago, USA, June 2006
Moira C. Norrie, Alexios Palinginis and Beat Signer, Content Publishing Framework for Interactive Paper Documents, In Proceedings of DocEng 2005, ACM Symposium on Document Engineering, Bristol, United Kingdom, November 2005
Rudi Belotti, Corsin Decurtins, Moira C. Norrie, Beat Signer and Ljiljana Vukelja, Experimental Platform for Mobile Information Systems, In Proceedings of MobiCom 2005, 11th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, Cologne, Germany, August 2005
Moira C. Norrie and Beat Signer, Overlaying Paper Maps with Digital Information Services for Tourists, In Proceedings of ENTER 2005, 12th International Conference on Information Technology and Travel and Tourism, Innsbruck, Austria, January 2005
Moira C. Norrie, Paper on the Move, Keynote, Workshop on Ubiquitous Mobile Information and Collaboration Systems (UMICS), CAiSE 2004, 16th International Conference on Advanced Information Systems Engineering, Riga, Latvia, June 2004
11 publications on this page.
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