Gerhard Fischer, Center for Lifelong Learning & Design (L3D): Context-Aware Systems — The ‘Right’ Information, at the ‘Right’ Time, in the ‘Right’ Place, in the ‘Right’ Way, to the ‘Right’ Person


Based on the assumption that the scarce resource for many people in the world of today is not information but human attention, the challenge for future human-centered computer systems is not to provide more information “to anyone, at anytime, and from anywhere,” but to say “the ‘right’ information, at the ‘right’ time, in the ‘right’ place, in the ‘right’ way to the ‘right’ person”.

This article develops a new theoretical framework for context-aware systems to address this challenge transcending existing frameworks that limited their concerns to particular aspects of context-awareness and paid little attention to potential pitfalls. The framework is based on insights derived from the development and assessment of a variety of different systems that we have developed over the last twenty years to explore different dimensions of context awareness.

Specific challenges, guidelines, and design trade-offs (promises and pitfalls) are derived from the framework for the design of the next generation of context-aware systems to support advanced interfaces for assisting humans (individuals and groups) to become more knowledgeable, more productive, and more creative by emphasizing context awareness as a fundamental design requirement.