IwS'11: Interacting with Sound - A Workshop Exploring Context-aware, Local and Social Audio Applications

In this workshop, we explore novel applications, services, tools, and systems that take advantage of the audio channel on mobile devices to feed users with a flow of information. The current generation of mobile applications focuses almost entirely on visual or haptic interactions. The effectiveness of these interaction modes may be severely impaired depending on the activity and the environment of mobile users as well as the limited visual real-estate on small devices. The audio channel does not have these limitations, yet very few applications fully exploit audio consumption beyond simple alerts, music, turn-by-turn directions and SMS audio feeds.

We will discuss the use, implementation, benefits and risks of mobile, context-aware and social audio. Many of today’s mobile services are multimodal, meaning that they primarily require the user to look at the screen, and perhaps secondarily, listen to the device. Alternatively, what if mobile devices provided a steady stream of audio as a context-aware layer on the world around you? What if music playlists were designed to add an emotive audio layer to your surroundings? Can a truly hands-free location-based service be designed? These are some of many questions we would like to discuss with interested researchers in our workshop.

We are interested in this topic from various perspectives. In regards to user experience design, how would one interact with a pure audio interface? What type of alerts/updates would users subscribe to if they could consume them via audio?