HCIL-2002-21, CS-TR-4412, UMIACS-TR-2002-92
Beginning in late July 2002, we conducted a survey about people's personal and family calendaring habits. By the end of September, we had over 400 responses, which are summarized below. The survey was conducted to help inform our work in designing new technologies for families, motivated in part by our work on the interLiving project. InterLiving is a 3 year, European Union-funded project where we work with distributed, multi-generational families as design partners to create new technologies (see http://www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/interliving for details).
The survey was administered from a web page (https://www.cs.umd.edu/users/hilary/survey/survey.htm), and participants were solicited via a "chain-mail" email approach. We began by sending a request to fill out a survey to our friends, families, and colleagues. We asked that they forward the request on to their friends, family and colleagues as well.
While we realize that this was an imperfect approach, we believed that the respondents would be representative of the users we are initially targeting in our research on family calendaring and coordination -- individuals who are already making relatively heavy use of computers at home and/or work. The results seem to validate this assumption.
Many of our respondents likely come from the HCI community as the mailing went to our large lab mailing list. We may have some pollution in the data as a result of people in the same household (e.g. husband and wife) both filling out the survey. Despite these issues, the results we got were helpful in eliciting a number of important findings, namely that people rely on multiple calendars, many of which are still paper.