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A Microsoft Live Lab project


Collaborators: Bridget Lewis, Saara Kamppari , Benjamin Elgart, Ajay Prasad, Yong Woo Rhee
Duration: 8 months, Carnegie Melllon University, HCII final capstone project
Artifacts: Process book site

Current advances in digital technology promote capturing and storing more digital photos than ever. While photo collections are growing in size, the amount of time that can be devoted to viewing, managing, and sharing digital photos remains constant. Photo decision-making and selection has been identified as key to addressing this concern.


After conducting exploratory research on photo decision making including a wide-scale survey of user behaviors, detailed contextual inquiries, and longer term diary studies, the Pixaura system was designed to address problems that emerged from our research. Specifically, Pixaura bridges the gaps between importing source photos and sharing them with others. To create the experience desired by novices and hobbyists, the system must incorporate certain core elements: 1) ease of use, 2) flexibility to experiment with connections between selected photos and groups, 3) control of access to shared photos, and 4) a tight connection between selecting photos and sharing.



The advent of digital photography has made capturing and saving photos cheaper and faster. This lead to increasing amounts of digital photos to be managed, and more opportunities to share stories through these photos. This process, starting with capture and ending in sharing, has been defined as the digital photo lifecycle. It consists of three key stages: triage, authoring, and viewing. Past studies of this lifecycle have predominately focused on the authoring and viewing stages, leaving triage largely unexplored. Photo triage is the decision-making process of sorting through and organizing photos. Triage occurs frequently during the photo lifecycle, from deciding where to store photos to selecting photos to share and create photo-based experiences with. However, a vast number of digital photos hinders triage, and can create barriers to organizing and sharing photos. Our goal was to create a rewarding experience that will support and motivate people in triaging their photos in preparation for sharing them. In order to establish a rich understanding of this problem space, we read prior research publications, reviewed competitive products, and conducted user studies. Finally, we built upon our insights to design and evaluate a compelling prototype that supported photo triage in a new and innovative way.