Examining Walking Behavior with Trace App

Monday, May 11, 2015

Trace screen shot

New research by Human Centered Design & Engineering Assistant Professor Daniela Rosner and her students looks at how GIS routing software impacts people's experiences with the simple act of walking.

Rosner's students in HCDE's Tactile & Tactical (TAT) Lab first developed a mobile app that allows people to design a walk for their friends: Trace. Using Trace, someone can sketch a shape and send it to a friend in the form of a map with step-by-step walking instructions, or simply sketch a walking route for themselves.

By studying 16 people using Trace over a one-week period, the researchers looked at the social impacts of emphasizing guided wandering over destination-based walking. “For some people it was a delight to find that slowing down allowed them to meet new people or see familiar sites in their neighborhood in new ways, but at the same time giving up that control was a stress for other folks who had a routine,” Rosner told UW Today.

With HCDE graduate students Hidekazu Saegusa and Allison Chambliss, and recent graduate Jeremy Friedland, Rosner co-authored a paper on this research, “Walking by Drawing," which she presented at the 2015 ACM conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’15).

This research was funded by Intel, members of HCDE's Corporate Affiliates Program.

Read the full story on UW Today, "UW mapping app turns art into a sharable walking route."

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