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Pedro Miguel do Vale Malheiro Ramos Coutinho - Programa Doutoral em Tecnologias e Sistemas de Informação

Tema da Tese: Practices and tools for situated publication and self-exposure on public displays

 Autor: Pedro Miguel do Vale Malheiro Ramos Coutinho

 Programa Doutoral: Programa Doutoral em Tecnologias e Sistemas de Informação

 Orientador: Rui João Peixoto José

Data: 21/01/2020

 Abstract:  Digital public displays are increasingly ubiquitous and perceived as a technology that may radically change communication in public and semi-public spaces. Interaction around public displays makes them potential focal points for social coordination, promoting a sense of place, encouraging people to action and setting behavior expectations in public venues. However, enticing people to participate and contribute with content to public displays is still a major issue. There are significant challenges regarding the motivation of people to share content using the displays, and also the motivation display owners have to share their displays with others. A diverse range of interaction alternatives has been proposed to address this issue, but public displays are still far from being seen by people as a communication medium that they can use for their own communication purposes.

Therefore, it is necessary to uncover alternative usage paths for digital public displays to inform the design of new communication concepts. These should help to contribute to turn displays into an open medium for place-based communication. Media publication practices would thus be more spontaneous, which would enable content to evolve towards the same creativity and informality levels that are now common in social media practices.

The objective of this research work is to identify novel media publication approaches for public display systems, which people can understand as something they can use to accomplish their diverse content publication goals. Those approaches represent publication paradigms that should be an abstraction for what happens when someone publishes something on a display, enabling interactions to be clearly interpreted as publication acts, and scoping them in terms of authorship, reputation, moderation and reach. It should also convey a full understanding of the publication process, supporting selective control of self-exposure, expressing the scope and context of publication actions, and enabling practices that are well aligned with the social dynamics around the displays.

To accomplish the objectives, we have made four different research studies. They explore existing publication paradigms from other domains, such as social networks and also from non-digital media, in the context of diverse problems. These studies have produced a set of contributions corresponding to innovative publication paradigms for digital public displays. We contribute with an identification of the main usage dimensions for place-based displays when supporting place-based communication. This thesis also contributes to the understanding of the primary role and value of combining content originating from external sources, showing that place-based communication is not just about locally created content. We proposed a risk management framework to approach the diverse sensitivities associated with moderation and risk management, including the identification of the threats of user-generated content and moderation techniques to mitigate them. We also came out with a set of design sensitivities, uncovered across the several studies made, suggesting that the place-based nature of these displays may prompt for more situated and spontaneous forms of communication.

The contributions of this thesis are expected to have an impact on the understanding of publication practices in digital public displays, informing the design of novel place-based display systems, sensitive to people and their desire to express themselves and communicate. This will eventually be a step towards allowing user-generated content to become a commodity in public displays, allowing them to be an open medium that presents contextual information relevant to the place and its visitors. This would definitely confirm the expectation that future display networks may become a more open medium for self-expression and appropriation.

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