Zurfer: Mobile Multimedia Access in Spatial, Social and Topical Context

Amy Hwang, Shane Ahern, Simon King, Mor Naaman, Rahul Nair, Jeannie Hui-I Yang


What happens when you can access all the world's media, but the access is constrained by screen size, bandwidth, attention, and battery life? We present a novel mobile context-aware software prototype that enables access to images on the go. Our prototype utilizes the channel metaphor to give users contextual access to media of interest according to key dimensions: spatial, social, and topical. Our experimental prototype attempts to be playful and simple to use, yet provide powerful and comprehensive media access. A temporally-driven sorting scheme for media items allows quick and easy access to items of interest in any dimension. For ad-hoc tasks, we extend the application with keyword search to deliver the long tail of media and images. Elements of social interaction and communication around the photographs are built into the mobile application, to increase user engagement. The application utilizes Flickr.com as an image and social-network data source, but could easily be extended to support other websites and media formats.


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