Context Awareness

Your constantly-updated definition of Context Awareness and collection of videos and articles

What is Context Awareness?

Context awareness is a criterion in UX design focusing on the users’ context of use. Context-aware UX adapts to the social, emotional and physical environment of the user.

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Therefore, designers can use sensor-based data from devices—including, location, time, activity, environment, etc.— to adapt their designs to the real-time context of the user and provide an optimized experience. 

Other Factors in Context Awareness

Smart devices have also expanded the possible contexts of use beyond smartphones and desktops. For example, smart thermostats and smart homes might adjust their behaviors to the time of day or whether a person is home.

Factors such as location or time of day might also affect the layout of a design. Some applications will use location data to detect when a person is driving and adopt a minimalist design to not distract the driver.

Context awareness should also be sensitive to the user's emotional state. High-stress environments use formal and calming colors, layouts and tones of voice. Entertainment interfaces might be more playful, colorful and whimsical.

Learn More About Context Awareness

Take our course: Mobile UX Design: The Beginner's Guide.

Literature on Context Awareness

Here’s the entire UX literature on Context Awareness by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:

Learn more about Context Awareness

Take a deep dive into Context Awareness with our course Mobile UX Design: The Beginner's Guide .

In the “Build Your Portfolio” project, you’ll find a series of practical exercises that will give you first-hand experience with the methods we cover. You will build on your project in each lesson so once you have completed the course you will have a thorough case study for your portfolio.

Mobile User Experience Design: Introduction, has been built on evidence-based research and practice. It is taught by the CEO of, Frank Spillers, author, speaker and internationally respected Senior Usability practitioner.

All open-source articles on Context Awareness

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