A User-Centric View of Intelligent Environments: User Expectations, User Experience and User Role in Building Intelligent Environments
Received: 15 October 2012 / Revised: 30 November 2012 / Accepted: 17 December 2012 / Published: 27 December 2012
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Our everyday environments are gradually becoming intelligent, facilitated both by technological development and user activities. Although large-scale intelligent environments are still rare in actual everyday use, they have been studied for quite a long time, and several user studies have been carried out.
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Our everyday environments are gradually becoming intelligent, facilitated both by technological development and user activities. Although large-scale intelligent environments are still rare in actual everyday use, they have been studied for quite a long time, and several user studies have been carried out. In this paper, we present a user-centric view of intelligent environments based on published research results and our own experiences from user studies with concepts and prototypes. We analyze user acceptance and users’ expectations that affect users’ willingness to start using intelligent environments and to continue using them. We discuss user experience of interacting with intelligent environments where physical and virtual elements are intertwined. Finally, we touch on the role of users in shaping their own intelligent environments instead of just using ready-made environments. People are not merely “using” the intelligent environments but they live in them, and they experience the environments via embedded services and new interaction tools as well as the physical and social environment. Intelligent environments should provide emotional as well as instrumental value to the people who live in them, and the environments should be trustworthy and controllable both by regular users and occasional visitors. Understanding user expectations and user experience in intelligent environments, and providing users with tools to influence the environments can help to shape the vision of intelligent environments into meaningful, acceptable and appealing service entities for all those who live and act in them.