C&T 2015: Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Communities and Technologies

The Seventh International Conference on Communities and Technologies (C&T 2015), hosted by the University of Limerick, Ireland, took place between 27 and 30 June 2015. This biennial meeting serves as a forum for stimulating and disseminating research on the complex connections between communities --- both physical and virtual --- and information and communication technologies. This seventh edition of the conference aimed to provide a stronger link with community activists, in particular with the work being done and published in the field of 'Community Informatics'. Therefore, the conference was co-sponsored by the Journal of Community Informatics (http://ci-journal.net/index.php/ciej) aiming to revitalize the academic discussion in a way that also makes the academic discourse more relevant for practice and to widen the base of relevant case studies. At the same time, this collaboration aimed to strengthen the reflection and discussion on these practice-based cases.

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  • Conference Paper
    Do we speak the same language?: design goals and culture clashes in an online forum for young people
    (Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Communities and Technologies, 2015) Martinviita, Annamari; Kuure, Leena; Luoma, Pentti
    This is a case study exploring the social scene created on a newly-developed online service for increasing the study motivation of 16--18-year-old students in vocational education in Finland. The developers wished to motivate participation by the addition of a communal chat space to engender a sense of community on the site. The analysis shows that the students appropriated the communal chat space for uses in line with their prior experience of online interaction, while the developers had based their design on a very different experience. However, the developers were able to respond flexibly to encourage interaction rather than limiting topics of conversation to those desired in the original design. As a result, the communal page could be seen to fulfil some of the expectations of the developers in unexpected ways. The case offers learning points for developers and administrators who wish to create online social spaces with a particular aim.
  • Conference Paper
    Anonymous Quorans are still Quorans, just anonymous
    (Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Communities and Technologies, 2015) Paskuda, Malte; Lewkowicz, Myriam
    This article presents a study that investigates how anonymity influences user participation in an online question-and-answer platform (Quora). The study is one step in identifying hypotheses that can be used to address a research and design issue concerning the role of anonymity in online participation, particularly among older informal caregivers. We present here a model that describes the factors that influence participation, which we based on the literature. These factors were used when analyzing the answers to questions in the health category on Quora. The results of this study complement an earlier study that we conducted on YouTube comments. On Quora, there was only one significant difference between anonymous and non-anonymous answers: with anonymous answers, social appreciation correlated with the answer's length.
  • Conference Paper
    Urban ageing: technology, agency and community in smarter cities for older people
    (Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Communities and Technologies, 2015) Righi, Valeria; Sayago, Sergio; Blat, Josep
    Despite the widespread popularity of smart cities in policy and research fields, and the ever-increasing ageing population in urban areas, ageing issues have seldom been addressed in depth in smart city programs. The main focus has hitherto been on making physical environments 'older people friendly'. We review studies in environmental gerontology, policies and HCI that show the multifaceted relationship between ageing and cities. We discuss two case studies with scenarios of engagement of older people in urban areas we undertook in the past 4 years. By drawing upon the results, we propose a vision of smart city that conceives of older people as embedded in intergenerational urban communities and capable of creating new engagement situations by reconfiguring IT-driven scenarios to their interests and social practices. This paper aims at expanding the current visions of smart cities for older people by building along three main dimensions: technology, agency and community.
  • Conference Paper
    Reducing "white elephant" ICT4D projects: a community-researcher engagement
    (Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Communities and Technologies, 2015) Winschiers-Theophilus, Heike; Zaman, Tariq; Yeo, Alvin
    Participation is a key requirement to ensure that ICT4D and HCI4D projects succeed. Specifically, the relationship between the research and community is necessary for any ICT4D project; without this cooperation, the proverbial white elephant project will result. Existing literature provides much evidence on the need and importance of this participation. However, many researchers lack the skills and knowledge to be able to build, develop and maintain the relationship, as many interactions are based on assumptions. We investigate challenges and frustrations as expressed by a community with whom we have established a long term collaboration. This provides further evidence on the need to guide and educate novice researchers working with the community. We have conducted a workshop to raise the awareness among guest researchers. The workshop comprises a series of presentations, discussions and reflections. We have recorded guest researchers' responses within the workshop to evaluate further needs for researcher-community interaction preparations. A workshop is yet only one of the gatekeepers' obligations to protect the community. We equally promote continuous engagement with the community itself in the design of critical incidents based on established cultural protocols as well as preparing the community for the novice researchers to maximize research benefits to the community. We discuss potential roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders, partner community, gatekeepers and guest researchers aiming to sustain a coherent research and development collaboration.
  • Conference Paper
    Vote as you go: blending interfaces for community engagement into the urban space
    (Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Communities and Technologies, 2015) Hespanhol, Luke; Tomitsch, Martin; McArthur, Ian; Fredericks, Joel; Schroeter, Ronald; Foth, Marcus
    This paper presents a series of studies on situated interfaces for community engagement. Firstly, we identify five recurring design challenges as well as four common strategies used to overcome them. We then assess the effectiveness of these strategies through field studies with public polling interfaces. We developed two very different polling interfaces in the form of (1) a web application running on an iPad mounted on a stand, allowing one vote at a time, and (2) a playful full-body interaction application for a large urban screen allowing concurrent participation. We deployed both interfaces in an urban precinct with high pedestrian traffic and equipped with a large urban screen. Analysing discoverability and learnability of each scenario, we derive insights regarding effective ways of blending community engagement interfaces into the built environment, while attracting the attention of passers-by and communicating the results of civic participation.
  • Conference Paper
    Growing food in the city: design ideations for urban residential gardeners
    (Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Communities and Technologies, 2015) Lyle, Peter; Hee-jeong Choi, Jaz; Foth, Marcus
    Urban agriculture refers to the production of food in urban and peri-urban spaces. It can contribute positively to health and food security of a city, while also reducing 'food miles.' It takes on many forms, from the large and organised community garden, to the small and discrete backyard or balcony. This study focuses on small-scale food production in the form of residential gardening for home or personal use. We explore opportunities to support people's engagement in urban agriculture via human-computer interaction design. This research presents the findings and HCI design insights from our study of residential gardeners in Brisbane, Australia. By exploring their understanding of gardening practice with a human-centred design approach, we present six key themes, highlighting opportunities and challenges relating to available time and space; the process of learning and experimentation; and the role of existing online platforms to support gardening practice. Finally we discuss the overarching theme of shared knowledge, and how HCI could improve community engagement and gardening practice.
  • Conference Paper
    CulTech2015: cultural diversity and technology design
    (Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Communities and Technologies, 2015) Ai He, Helen; Memarovic, Nemanja; Sabiescu, Amalia; de Moor, Aldo
    With globalization and technological advances, people are increasingly coming into contact with others from different cultural backgrounds, particularly in place-based and virtual communities. Yet, cultural diversity -- the diversity of community members' cultural backgrounds -- offers both significant benefits and challenges in the design, usage and evaluation of technologies. In this one-day workshop, we explore the role of cultural diversity in potentially informing, supporting, challenging or impacting the design of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) within community contexts. To delve into this complex and multifaceted space, we welcome workshop submissions that 1) engage broadly with the role of culture within technology design and usage for, with and by communities, as well as 2) proposals for approaches, tools, conceptual and methodological frameworks, case studies and best practices in community-based design that exploit cultural diversity as an asset and seek to encourage intercultural interactions. Our goal is to bring together academics and practitioners from different domains such as computer science, urban design, interactive art, anthropology and social sciences who share a common interest in exploring the design space of ICTs, culture and communities.
  • Conference Paper
    Studying a community of volunteers at a historic cemetery to inspire interaction concepts
    (Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Communities and Technologies, 2015) Ciolfi, Luigina; Petrelli, Daniela
    We present empirical fieldwork conducted in collaboration with a local community of cultural heritage volunteers at the historic Sheffield General Cemetery, in order to inform and realise concepts for interactive installations. The volunteers take care of the site and of its visitors and perform a variety of important activities for preservation and outreach. With the purpose of co-envisioning and co-designing novel technological interventions to support the volunteers in engaging visitors and communicating the heritage site to the public, we have embarked on collaboration with the Cemetery Trust. In this paper we describe a particular study, conducted to glean an understanding of the volunteers' practices, concerns and strategies. We conclude by presenting a number of interaction concepts developed as part of co-design workshops and brainstorming sessions involving the volunteers that address their concerns and needs.
  • Conference Paper
    Understanding future challenges for networked public display systems in community settings
    (Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Communities and Technologies, 2015) Memarovic, Nemanja
    Networked public displays are envisioned as a communication medium for the 21st century, and as such they have a great potential to address place-based communities. This area has seen an increasing numbers of investigations of networked public displays effects on communities and the way they impact interactions between community members. However, most of this research stands alone in isolation, with little work looking into synthesizing the systems, processes, research questions, and evaluation procedures and effects they produce. In this paper we look at seminal works in the area, i.e., the Wray Photo Display, the Plasma Poster Network, CoCollage, and UBI-Hotspots, and analyze the systems themselves, settings in which they were deployed and respective communities, the processes leading to building up the system, the research questions that were examined, and the effects of the networked public display systems on the community. We discuss the similarities and differences in these works and provide insights for the designers and developers of similar future systems, with a goal to present open challenges for the future work.
  • Conference Paper
    Information sharing, scheduling, and awareness in community gardening collaboration
    (Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Communities and Technologies, 2015) Wang, Xiaolan; Wakkary, Ron; Neustaedter, Carman; Desjardins, Audrey
    Community gardens are places where people, as a collaborative group, grow food for themselves and for others. There is a lack of studies in HCI regarding collaboration in community gardens and considering technologies to support such collaborations. This paper reports on a detailed study of collaboration in community gardens in Greater Vancouver, Canada. The goal of our study is to uncover the unique nature of such collaborative acts. As one might expect, we found considerable differences between community gardening collaboration and workplace collaboration. The contribution is the articulation of key considerations for designing technologies for community gardening collaboration. These include design considerations like volunteerism, competences and inclusion, synchronicity, and telepresence as unique aspects of community collaboration in community garden. We also articulate the complexities of community gardening collaboration, which raise issues like control, shared language, and collective ownership that exist more as conditions within which to design than "problems" to solve through technologies.