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HCI, InfoVis

Response to [The Ambient Calendar] by Phelan et al.

One Sentence

This paper presents a design of calendar that encodes and embeds the information in symbolic visual elements which together form an ambient display to inform people of their calendar events, subscribed blogs, transit schedules, etc.

More Sentences

+ “An initial impact study was undertaken and found a high sense of usefulness and curiosity in the finished application and in the field as a whole”

Key Points

  • … peripheral information sources. These are of general interest to users, but do no require or typically command constant focus or attention.
  • Instead of explicitly telling a user that there are events in the calendar, the system conveys this implicitly by putting clouds in the sky. By glancing at the display and seeing a cloudy sky the user can tell that they have a busy day ahead.
  • A novel aspect of The Ambient Calendar is that it locates proximate Bluetooth devices and personalises the display’s content for nearby users.


  • Two questions regarding the use of information art and alike:
    • how can users learn how to read the visualization?
    • how to ensure accuracy (or not at all; just for awareness)?
  • This is also an unorthodox design, worth mentioning and compared to Spalendar.
  • Ambient Display on Mobile Devices?

About Xiang 'Anthony' Chen

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