Computers, Phones, and the Internet: Domesticating Information Technology

By Robert Kraut; Malcolm Brynin et al. | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Designing the Family Portal
for Home Networking

Alladi Venkatesh

Steven Chen

Victor M. Gonzalez

The use of information technology at home is a promising area of inquiry among scholars and practitioners (Kraut, Mukhopadhyay, Szczypula, Kiesler & Scherlis, 1999; Frolich & Kraut, 2002; Harper, 2002; Lally, 2002; Turow & Kavanaugh, 2003). Since 2001, products such as home Internet appliances, intelligent refrigerators, and WebTV consoles have been released into the market with much promise but somewhat limited success (Bergmann, 2000; Edwards, Weintraub, Irene & Reinhardt, 2003). Despite slow adoption of these homeoriented technologies, commercial interest in introducing information technologies into the home is quite intense. This study reports preliminary findings on ways that the Internet and computer technology could be integrated into family life. We used a prototype that we called the family portal as a tool to help families explore the usability and applicability of information technology at home. The prototype helped us materialize the concept and define a focal point on which to base our discussion with families. This exercise resulted in findings that we believe clarify the role of information technology in servicing the needs of the home.

Background and Study Purpose

With the widespread diffusion of the Internet, there is a growing sense of its indispensability among its many users (Kiesler, 1997; Hoffman, Novak, & Venkatesh, 2004). There is also increasing use of the home computer as a link between the home and external networks, such as workplace, schools, health organizations, and commercial sites (Papert, 1996; Neibauer 1999; Magid, 2000; Ruhling, 2000; Venkatesh, Kruse, & Shih, 2003). As the computer technology diffuses and becomes gradually domesticated (Harper, 2000; Cummings & Kraut, 2002), we need to supplement traditional evaluation metrics, such as productivity and efficiency, with those that take into consideration aesthetics, convenience, family dynamics, and the social and emotional needs of household members (Di Leanardo, 1987; Frohlich & Kraut, 2002; Livingstone, 2003; Turow & Nir, 2003). Thus, the home setting affords an opportunity for a unique form of design, which considers the perspective of family members and goes beyond a mere utilitarian point of view.

In this chapter, we describe how we designed an information infrastructure that uses Internet


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Computers, Phones, and the Internet: Domesticating Information Technology
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 326

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?