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User-Controlled Information Transfer Between Digital Devices With A Gestural Input Component
AuthorAlluri, Vamsi K. R.
AdvisorDascalu, Sergiu M.
Computer Science and Engineering
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There is an interplay between the messages users share electronically with others and the transformations that take place in the relationships between them. Every message that is shared has the potential to strengthen or break these relationships. Digital applications should reflect these changes in relationships effectively whenever they occur and preferably with the user who wants to see a change being in direct control. Today, in widely used tools like email, users could very easily lose control over who sends messages to their inbox and the situation quickly turns into a game of whack-a-mole that then lasts forever. Our goal is to explore this problem space without relying on existing digital infrastructure to find a solution that allows users to be in direct control of their relationships and improve their user experience. In essence, we improve the delete button in a contacts application from one that just deletes a string of stored data into another that can terminate relationships effectively.In this thesis we first propose the "i80" system which demonstrates how this control is possible using distinct tokens to represent relationships between users. The server backend of i80 takes care of managing a user's relationships with others and also ensures messages are delivered in real-time between valid relationships. i80 also has two front-end applications to ensure users can receive messages on personal computers and smartphones. We leverage QR codes to simplify the transfer of tokens and quickly create relationships between two or more users.Also, gestures like swipe-down-to-refresh on smartphones have improved our user experience dramatically and we have applied a similar pattern to improve the experience of sharing files with others. Thus, we also propose the Pinch application to demonstrate how users can use a single pinch gesture to share files with others instead of selecting multiple buttons from a menu on a smartphone.We have built prototypes of i80 which contains a server backend to manage relationships and transfer files across multiple users and devices, front end web and mobile applications to demonstrate common actions like creating relationships and sharing files, and a Pinch-enabled file manager to share files with others. We have evaluated both i80 and Pinch to demonstrate that the user experience of sending files is improved while simultaneously giving users better control over both their relationships and data.