Informal User Interfaces for Shared Note Taking

James Landay, UC Berkeley

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University January 29, 1999


NotePals is a lightweight note sharing system that captures and provides access to personal notes, presentation slides, and documents of interest to a workgroup. Groups can best take advantage of shared notes when note-taking devices are more pervasive. Consequently, we have developed note taking applications that run on inexpensive personal digital assistants (PDAs) and other ink-based capture devices, such as the CrossPad. Notes can be shared with other group members by synchronizing with a shared note repository that can be viewed using a desktop-based web browser. Its lightweight process, interface, and hardware distinguish NotePals from previous systems. We believe these advantages will support the use of this style of note taking throughout our everyday work life. This talk describes informal user interfaces, our study of group note taking behavior, an initial implementation of the NotePals infrastructure, our experience using different NotePals clients to take notes in meetings and at conferences, and the early usage of the system for both group and personal note taking by students.

James Landay is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his B.S. in electrical engineering and computer science from Berkeley in 1990 and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in 1993 and 1996 respectively. His areas of interest are human-computer interaction (HCI), informal communications, mobile computing, user interface design tools, visual programming languages, demonstrational programming, and pen-based user interfaces.


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