The Autobiographical Design and Long-Term Usage of an Always-on Video Recording System for the Home

Interaction with the Moments system

This was a very unique study that I was part of. The goal of the system was to create an always-on video recording system which captured family members’ moments to be cherished later on. The purpose of the study was to explore the ‘real’ use of the system in long term to understand challenges such as privacy, location and in general what is worth saving and looking back?

The system, Moments was designed and evaluated by an autobiographical design approach. The system was designed based on slow technology and restricted users to view memories from the past. One of the researcher’s used the system for two years with family members including wife and three children age of 3, 8 and 10 at the time. It was important to run the study for two years since we wanted to have enough time to build up the archive and have enough time to reflect and evaluate the design.

You might ask why an autobiographical design for this system? This type of design was due to the study being longitudinal and very privacy intrusive, the study was not feasible to be done in a lab setting or in different households.

After two years of using moments by the researcher’s family, I as an independent researcher collected the data and analyzed it. The data that was collected was 12 video diary entries from the researcher and his kids finding interesting usages of the system. Collected data also included in-depth semi-structured interviews with each family member for understanding how Moments has affected their lives.

The user interface of Moments which family members could interact with. The system allowed users to only view the memory from the same exact time in the past

The system for the first year was always showing yesterday same time, and in the second year, it was always showing last year same date, same time. The time gap of a year was enough to notice the difference in appearance, especially in children’s growth. Moments was designed in a way to be glanceable. Family members always glanced at it when they were in the kitchen area where it was set up.

Through the design and use of an always-on video recording system, we learned that family memories are not just about events and celebrations. What family members cherished were small details around family time together. Always-on video recording systems such as Moments mean care and commitment to the technology for family members.

The final outcome of this study was published in DIS 2017 which you can read it here.