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Working out work: from personal informatics to redesigning work
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7089-202X
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Vardagsmotion i arbetslivet : från personliga IT-stöd för träning till omstrukturering av arbete (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

"Personal Informatics" (PI) and "Quantified Self" (QS) are two contemporary notions in the field of Human–Computer Interaction. Such hardware and software systems gather personalized quantified data and visualize them for the purpose of supporting self-reflection. Many of these systems focus on breaking the habit of prolonged sitting and increasing physical activity in our daily lives. The problems associated with the sedentary lifestyle and prolonged hours of sitting have been noted in many studies. In fact, stationary behavior is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain types of type of cancer. Nowadays we, as adults, spend more than 8 hours a day on work and work-related activities. As a consequence, the time spent sitting in office workspaces contributes to the majority of stationary behavior in our daily lives. Throughout history, designers and technocrats have constantly redesigned workspaces in attempts to increase work productivity and efficiency. Thus "modern" office work configuration includes desks and stationary computers and so office workers have become accustomed to prolonged sitting in their workplaces.    

In relation to this research problem, I have worked on my PhD thesis within the context of a four-year cross disciplinary research project in which we have been exploring ways of increasing physical activity and breaking the habit of prolonged sitting among office workers. This is a thesis in informatics and closely allied to medicine and it focuses on studying how contemporary office work affects the body and how to redesign this context. For this thesis, I conducted three empirical studies and designed and developed two prototypes - the "NEAT Lamp" and the "Talking Tree". The "Sport Co." study was the first quantitative study, and was followed by two qualitative observational ethnographic studies – the "Housing Co." study and the "Health Co." study. The research process adopted during the work can be described as an intertwined process consisting of three methodological approaches: observational ethnographic studies, concept development and prototyping. These three came together to form a coherent contextual design process for tackling the research question, "How can we approach the design of work in today's offices in order to make office workers more physically active in their workspaces?"  This process resulted in five papers presenting various aspects and results of the research conducted. The results cover the role of bodies at work by considering the history of work design, knowledge about the local movement and mobility patterns of office workers in modern office spaces and eventually the design and evaluation of the two prototypes introduced in this thesis. Finally, I conclude this thesis by highlighting my overall contributions. The first contribution targets designers willing to design for increasing physical activity and breaking the habit of prolonged sitting in workspaces. In relation to this I introduce a design space as a tool for understanding the design of work in relation to worker’s bodies. The second contribution highlights how observational ethnographic studies, concept development, and prototyping can be combined when exploring the context of physical activity in office environments and it shows how contextual design might be a suitable approach for such studies. In addition, it emphasizes ways for how we can redesign work and expand our contextual knowledge. This, by examining and evaluating interactive prototypes in real office settings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University , 2016. , 108 p.
Series
Research reports in informatics, ISSN 1401-4572 ; 17.01
Keyword [en]
Personal Informatics, Quantified Self, Redesigning Work, Contextual Design, Observational Ethnographic Studies, Concept Development, Prototyping, Design Space
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects Human Aspects of ICT
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-128703ISBN: 978-91-7601-628-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-128703DiVA: diva2:1055632
Public defence
2016-01-20, MA121, MIT-huset, Umeå University, Umeå, 12:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-12-16 Created: 2016-12-12 Last updated: 2017-01-24Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Redesigning Work: From Sedentariness to Activeness
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Redesigning Work: From Sedentariness to Activeness
2013 (English)Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

At the core of ‘Healthcare Information Systems’ is an idea of designing systems that are functional, practical and contained integrated solutions. As humans have always spent the majority of their hours in seated positions in work environments and workplaces, it is important to investigate these environments before applying a design for promoting daily movement and physical activity. In this paper we focus on the history of workplace design. We argue that the strategies for reaching this sedentary living style have been carried out by different means during the past 70 years of technological development. Further on, we illustrate this current paradigm through the presentation of an empirical study that shows how people compensate for a passive mode of working. In this paper, we contribute to the current development in our field by offering this alternative design paradigm and we suggest concept-driven design research as a possible way forward if we are to design information systems for active worklife.

Series
Procedia Technology, ISSN 2212-0173 ; 9
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-80500 (URN)10.1016/j.protcy.2013.12.112 (DOI)
Conference
HCist'2013 - International Conference on Health and Social Care Information Systems and Technologies
Available from: 2013-09-18 Created: 2013-09-18 Last updated: 2016-12-13Bibliographically approved
2. Breaking Free: The Paradox of Bodies in Workplaces
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Breaking Free: The Paradox of Bodies in Workplaces
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The history of work is very much related to the history of bodies at work. Bodies  have always been a focal point in work design as sources of effort, knowledge  and skill for increasing productivity but seldom have they been the centre of  attention for their own good. Recently a handful of alarming studies indicate  problems associated with sedentary behaviour in offices. In order to interrupt  prolonged sitting and increase physical activity in workplaces many interventions  have been suggested. This paper is an attempt to breakdown the duality of bodies  in workspaces. Beginning by examining the history of bodies at work, we go on  to describe the role of bodies in today’s offices based on a three-month  ethnographic study. Finally, we discuss how current Interaction Design can aid us  in optimizing the role of bodies in carrying out future work.

Keyword
Work Design, Sedentary Behaviour, Body, Interaction Design, Future Jobs
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects Human Aspects of ICT
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-128683 (URN)
Available from: 2016-12-12 Created: 2016-12-12 Last updated: 2016-12-13
3. Getting it going: explorations at the intersection of moving bodies, information technology and architecture
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Getting it going: explorations at the intersection of moving bodies, information technology and architecture
2016 (English)In: Architecture and interaction: human computer interaction in space and place / [ed] Nicholas S. Dalton, Holger Schnädelbach, Mikael Wiberg, Tasos Varoudis, Springer, 2016, 113-136 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2016
Series
Human-computer interaction series, ISSN 1571-5035
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Research subject
människa-datorinteraktion
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-125149 (URN)10.1007/978-3-319-30028-3_6 (DOI)978-3-319-30026-9 (ISBN)978-3-319-30028-3 (ISBN)
Available from: 2016-09-06 Created: 2016-09-06 Last updated: 2016-12-12Bibliographically approved
4. Creating a Sense of Unity: From Quantified Self to Qualitative Space
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Creating a Sense of Unity: From Quantified Self to Qualitative Space
2016 (English)In: Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction: Methods, Techniques, and Best Practices / [ed] Margherita Antona, Constantine Stephanidis, Springer, 2016, 371-381 p.Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The design and usage of Personal Informatics (PI) systems have been subjects of rapidly growing interest in recent years. PI systems are typically designed to monitor individuals' physical activity and encourage them to be more active, thereby 'hacking' the habit of prolonged sitting. Most PI systems focus solely on collecting quantitative data to encourage self-reflection and are therefore sometimes discussed in terms of the Quantified Self movement. However, this perspective is wholly focused on individual bodily movements and neglects the role of architectural spaces. This paper discusses an ongoing project focused on PI systems design at the intersection of bodily movements and the office as an architectural space. Taking this as a point of departure, we introduce a simple prototype interactive lamp known as the NEAT lamp, which was designed, implemented and evaluated in relation to everyday office work. The rationale underpinning the prototype's design is presented, followed by the results of a real-world evaluation of its effects in practice. We also discuss the role of the NEAT lamp as an ambient light that promotes awareness of sedentary behavior in the office as an open architectural space. Finally, we highlight the role of ambient displays as a medium for creating a sense of unity between the self and the architectural space, and propose that this observation suggests that we should move the discussion away from "quantified selves" towards qualitative spaces.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2016
Series
Lecture Notes in Computer Science, ISSN 0302-9743 ; 9737
Keyword
Personal informatics, Design Notification systems, Ambient light, Architectural space
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-128687 (URN)10.1007/978-3-319-40250-5_36 (DOI)000389459800036 ()978-3-319-40249-9 (ISBN)978-3-319-40250-5 (ISBN)
Conference
10th International Conference, UAHCI 2016, Held as Part of HCI International 2016, Toronto, ON, Canada, July 17-22, 2016
Available from: 2016-12-12 Created: 2016-12-12 Last updated: 2017-01-11Bibliographically approved
5. A NEAT Solution: Where Interaction Design and Public Health Meet
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A NEAT Solution: Where Interaction Design and Public Health Meet
Show others...
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Office workers tend not to move about during work hours. A series of medical observational studies

have shown that extended sitting is associated with several negative health outcomes including

obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), breast and colon cancer and premature

mortality. Therefore, developing ways to encourage physical activity and breaking the habit of

prolonged sitting in offices is urgently needed. Few studies, however, have investigated the nature

of local movement and mobility in workspaces in depth and taking a cross disciplinary approach.

This paper reports on an ongoing cross-disciplinary research project targeted at increasing physical

activity of office workers while reducing prolonged sitting. Our collaboration between the

departments of Informatics, Public Health and Clinical Medicine and the Design School at Umeå

University resulted in two ethnographic studies. This led to the development and implementation of

two prototypes referred to as the “NEAT Lamp” and the “Talking Tree”. The “NEAT Lamp” is a

simple sensor-based lamp that was evaluated in situ in our second ethnographic study. The results

of this study deepened our understanding of local movement and mobility in offices and resulted in

the design of a second prototype, the “Talking Tree”. Using the knowledge gained through our

ethnographic studies and the experience of using the prototypes, we were able to develop a

conceptual framework for describing the patterns of local movement and mobility of office workers.

This paper describes the process leading to the development of this framework. Moreover, it

highlights how this process benefited from the cross-disciplinary nature of the project.

Keyword
Sedentary Lifestyle, Workspaces, Ethnography, Prototyping, Cross Disciplinary Research
National Category
Media and Communications Human Aspects of ICT Information Systems, Social aspects
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-128685 (URN)
Available from: 2016-12-12 Created: 2016-12-12 Last updated: 2016-12-14

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