Gul Agha, Robert B. Allen, Michel Beaudouin-Lafon,
Adolfo Guzman-Arenas, Wendy Hall,
Carol Hutchins, Mary Jane Irwin, Keith Marzullo,
M. Tamer Ozsu, Mary Lou Soffa
Various subscription rates are available;
please see the interactions website at
for more information.
Single copies are $13.00 to members,
$20.00 to nonmembers. Please send orders prepaid
plus $4.00 for shipping and handling to ACM, General
Post Office, P.O. Box 30777, New York, N Y 10087-0777
or call +1-212-626-0500. For credit card orders,
call +1-800-342-6626. Order personnel available
8:30-4: 30 EST. After hours, please leave message
and order personnel will return your call.
CHANGE OF ADDRESS
For other services, questions, or information:
INTERACTIONS ADVISORY BOARD
Jonathan Arnowitz, Apala Lahiri Chavan,
Elizabeth Dykstra-Erickson, Shelley Evenson,
Robin Jeffries, Kun-Pyo Lee, Aaron Marcus,
Lisa Neal, Ian McClelland, Raquel Oliveira Prates
SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR DEPAR TING EDI TORIAL BOARD
ACM Copyright Notice
Copyright © 2008 by Association for Computing
Machinery, Inc. (ACM). Permission to make digital or
hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or
classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial
advantage and that copies bear this notice and full
citation on the first page. Copyright for components of
this work owned by others than ACM must be honored.
Abstracting with credit is permitted. To copy otherwise,
to republish, to post on servers, or to redistribute to lists,
requires prior specific permission and/or fee.
Request permission to publish from:
Publications Dept., ACM, Inc.,
Fax +1-212-869-0481 or email email@example.com
For other copying of articles that carry a code at the
bottom of the first or last page or screen display,
copying is permitted provided that the per-copy fee
indicated in the code is paid through the Copyright
Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers,
MA 01923, +1-978-750-8400, +1-978-750-4470 (fax).
Figure 2. Using a laptop on the corner of a beverage trolley [ 4].
the present-day multidevice
environment implies having
additional tasks of transferring operation and data across
devices and places. For this,
users must be conscious of the
various technological “seams”
working counter to their goals,
such as discontinuities in connectivity or electricity.
The workers exhibited intricate knowledge of the supportive and constraining factors
particularly in local and frequently visited places. For other
kinds of trips they had to choose
strategies that addressed uncertainty over possible seams.
Some workers used server
backups that they knew they
could access in a place with
a wireless connection. When
anticipation was not possible or
desired due to cognitive cost,
users disciplined themselves to
take backups of important files
on their smartphone, for example, when going on a longer trip.
If, for some reason, the laptop
was not available, a product presentation would then be available from the smartphone. Such
“just in case” backup devices
were taken along also on shorter
trips within the office, where
there was a possibility of
encountering an important colleague.
The workers also employed
a variety of strategies to share
documents between their
devices. Each device provides
different affordances to access
information, and users were
sensitive to those. Some users
did “data mirroring,” copying
files to the smartphone for read
only. Two-way synchronization, updating file versions on
each device after each update,
was the most laborsome strategy as it required its adopter
to discipline herself to do it,
for example, in the mornings.
When upcoming situations were
predictable, a worker could get
by with opportunistic synchronization of a single device.