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Mobile Community Design
Research and design information for mobile community developers.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Games Impacting Mobile Device Design

Gaming keeps popping up the in the mobile device research and I don't think it's going to go away. Here's a paper from a journal which actually makes it's content freely availble to the public to read.

Australian Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society
Vol. 3, No. 1, 2005
Gaming Goes Mobile: Issues and Implications

"A recent report by the telecommunications research firm Analysys predicts that mobile games will replace ringtones, logos and other personalisation services as one of the key drivers of the mobile market. Despite the rapid growth of the mobile gaming market, there appears to have been little critical analysis of this phenomenon. The paper aims to investigate the industrial and social implications of mobile gaming, by bringing together some of the current research on both mobile communications and computer games. Beginning with a broad overview of the major stakeholders in the market, the paper examines how mobile gaming functions as a vehicle for convergence, bringing together previously disparate industries around a common form of content. It also examines the regulatory complexities that arise when gaming becomes mobile, and in particular how the rise of technologies like location-based services might impact on issues such as privacy."

web page

Monday, August 08, 2005

prototyping products during collaborative design

Liz Sanders has done some interesting work with prototyping tools to use with users. She has a cool velcro set that allows crafting different form factors and modifying them without a degree in ergonomics.

Sanders, L. (2003). Collective Creativity. LOOP: AIGA Journal of Interaction Design Education(7).
pdf or html (which has a few larger versions of the images available)

This type of low-fidelity prototyping is a necessity for rapid creation and re-creation of product ideas without the overhead of coding or limitations of more "advanced" prototyping tools.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Mobile Empowerment of the Individual

I'd like to take a moment to editorialize on the topic of democratic use of public spaces.

NPR did a piece a while back on mobile phones empowering people to talk to others whenever they want and maintaining family connections at a distance. But I think there's something even more empowering going on.

There's lots of people competing for "eyeballs" these days. Magazines, highway billboards, signs on busses, ambient advertising, viral marketing... It's difficult to do anything without getting bombarded by ads for something. Sometimes this is what you want - but rarely. The rest of the time we would just like to tune it out.

One particularly obnoxious example of this is movie theater advertising. You pay money to see a movie. Then, when you are a captive audience (arriving when the movie is supposed to start) they show you 15 minutes of advertising. Now of course we could revolt and go somewhere else, but everyone else is doing the same thing. Either you stop seeing new movies or you watch advertising to put (even more) money in the pockets of the theater owners. They even have the gall to put ads up advertising extolling the benefits of theater advertising to those having to sit through the experience. There is no shame amongst theater owners.

Besides unwanted ads, there are other aspects of the world you might not want waste precious moments of your life thinking about as well; like ambient noise from busses or planes going by you, or that screaming baby a few seats down on the train.

This is where mobile devices excel. When the theater ads come on I plug in the iPod and crank up a game on the mobile phone and suddenly I've created a more friendly environment and reduced my desire to throw my soft drink at the screen. Steve Mann took the somewhat extreme tactic of wearing a head mounted display and filtering out advertising in his visual field. I think mobile devices are becoming the way we choose how we want to perceive and interact with the world. It takes the power away from the owner of the property or exploiter of public space and gives it to the individual to choose.

So the question is - how far can we take this? How extreme can we make personal empowerment? And what would the social consequences be?