counter

Putting People First

Daily insights on user experience, experience design and people-centred innovation
Audience Business Culture Design Locations Media Methods Services Social Issues

Children


Disabled


Elderly


Gender


Teens


Advertising


Branding


Business


Innovation


Marketing


Mechatronics


Technology


Architecture


Art


Creativity


Culture


Identity


Mobility


Museum


Co-creation


Design


Experience design


Interaction design


Presence


Service design


Ubiquitous computing


Africa


Americas


Asia


Australia


Europe


Italy


Turin


Blogging


Book


Conference


Media


Mobile phone


Play


Virtual world


Ethnography


Foresight


Prototype


Scenarios


Usability


User experience


User research


Education


Financial services


Healthcare


Public services


Research


Tourism


Urban development


Communications


Digital divide


Emerging markets


Participation


Social change


Sustainability


Posts in category 'Gender'

3 February 2009

Book: Mobile Technologies – From Telecommunications to Media

Mobile Technologies
Mobile Technologies – From Telecommunications to Media
Editors: Gerard Goggin; Larissa Hjorth
ISBN: 978-0-415-98986-2 (hardback) 978-0-203-88431-7 (electronic)
Series: Routledge Research in Cultural and Media Studies
Google preview

Summary

In light of emerging forms of software, interfaces, cultures of uses, and media practices associated with mobile media, this collection investigates the various ways in which mobile media is developing in different cultural, linguistic, social, and national settings. We consider the promises and politics of mobile media and its role in the dynamic social and gender relations configured in the boundaries between public and private spheres. In turn, the contributors revise the cultural and technological politics of mobiles. The collection is genuinely interdisciplinary, as well as international in its range, with contributors and studies from China, Japan, Korea, Italy, Norway, France, Belgium, Britain, and Australia.

Table of Contents

Part I: Reprising Mobile Theory
1. “The Question of Mobile Media”- Gerard Goggin and Larissa Hjorth
2. “Intimate Connections: The Impact of the Mobile Phone on Work Life Boundaries” – Judy Wajcman, Michael Bittman and Jude Brown
3. “Gender and the Mobile Phone” – Leopoldina Fortunati

Part II: Youth, Families, and the Politics of Generations
4. “Children’s Broadening Use of Mobile Phones” – Leslie Haddon and Jane Vincent
5. “Mobile Communication and Teen Emancipation” – Rich Ling
6. “Mobile Media and the Transformation of Family” – Misa Matsuda
7. “Purikura as a Social Management Tool” – Daisuke Okabe, Mizuko Ito, Aico Shimizu and Jan Chipchase

Part III: Mobiles in the Field of Media
8. “Mobile Media on Low-Cost Handsets: The Resiliency of Text Messaging among Small Enterprises in India (and Beyond)” – Jonathan Donner
9. “Innovations at the Edge: The Impact of Mobile Technologies on the Character of the Internet” – Harmeet Sawnhey
10. “Media Contents in Mobiles: Comparing Video, Audio and Text” – Virpi Oksman
11. “New Economics for the New Media” – Stuart Cunningham and Jason Potts
12. “Domesticating New Media: A Discussion on Locating Mobile Media” – Larissa Hjorth

Part IV: Renewing Media Forms
13. “Back to the Future: The Past and Present of Mobile TV” – Gabriele Balbi and Benedetta Prario
14. “Net_Dérive: Conceiving and Producing a Locative Media Artwork” – Atau Tanaka and Petra Gemeinboeck
15. “Mobile News in Chinese Newspaper Groups: A Case Study of Yunnan Daily Press Group” – Liu Cheng and Axel Bruns
16. “Re-inventing Newspapers in a Digital Era: The Mobile E-Paper” – Wendy Van den Broeck, Bram Lievens and Jo Pierson

Part V: Mobile Imaginings
17. “Face to Face: Avatars and Mobile Identities” – Kathy Cleland
18. “Re-imagining Urban Space: Mobility, Connectivity, and a Sense of Place” – Dong-Hoo Lee
19. “These Foolish Things: On Intimacy and Insignificance in Mobile Media” – Kate Crawford
20. “Mobility, Memory and Identity” – Nicola Green

Chapter summary

Chapter 8. “Mobile Media on Low-Cost Handsets: The Resiliency of Text Messaging among Small Enterprises in India (and Beyond)” – Jonathan Donner
This chapter begins by describing the limited use of most mobile functions—except for voice calls and SMS/text messages—among small and informal business owners in urban India. It draws on this illustration to suggest that forms of mobile media based on low cost, ubiquitous SMS features have the potential to be accessible, relevant, and popular among many users in the developing world. Further examples of SMS-based mobile media applications illustrate an important distinction between these systems. While some applications stand alone, others function as bridges to or hybrids of other media forms, particularly the internet. Over the next few years, these hybrid forms will play an important role in offering flexible, powerful information resources to a sizable proportion of the world’s population.
(via Jonathan Donner)

Also note chapter 7.

17 January 2009

Experience design for interactive products

Walter Aprile
Experience design for interactive products: designing technology augmented urban playgrounds for girls (pdf) is the long title of an interesting paper by Aadjan van der Helm, Walter Aprile and David Keyson of Delft University of Technology.

Recent technological developments have made it possible to apply experience design also in the field of highly interactive product design, an area where involvement of non-trivial technology traditionally made it impossible to implement quick design cycles. With the availability of modular sensor and actuator kits, designers are able to quickly build interactive prototypes and realize more design cycles. In this paper we present a design process that includes experience design for the design of interactive products. The design process was developed for a master level course in product design. In addition, we discuss several cases from this course, applying the process to designing engaging interactive urban playgrounds.

One of the authors, Walter Aprile (pictured), was a former Interaction-Ivrea faculty member at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea.

via InfoDesign

22 November 2008

Choosing a phone is a lot like choosing a boyfriend

Live
This unusual title is actually a quote by Younghee Jung, a senior design manager at Nokia, who travels around the world on behalf of the company to study how people interact with technology.

Younghee was interviewed by the Canadian Woman.ca site for an article that set out to understand what it means to design for women, and concludes that it really is about design for all.

“You can’t really generalize what women want, because you always have to consider the trade-offs. If I do need and like the functions, I will probably overlook the size issues. Choosing a phone is a lot like choosing a boyfriend. You cannot look at just one aspect of the product—he may be handsome, but he may have a personality problem. A mobile phone is something that you wake up with and go to sleep with.” [...]

Even though they may ultimately use products the same way as men, starting off with womens’ inspirations for product design may be more helpful in creating a device that works equally well in a number of environments. Factors such as ease of use, while important to both sexes, can become more refined through the crucible of a woman’s dual roles in society, as she balances both work and home life, and needs her technology to function equally well in both situations. “When it comes to inspiring a design solution, what women think is a very interesting place to start with,” said Jung. “If it’s good for women, it’s good for men, too.”

Read full story

9 August 2008

Patricia Mechael: Millennium Villages, women and mobile health

Patricia Mechael
As part of its coverage on the Bellagio conference on mobile health, MobileActive interviewed Patricia Mechael who is coordinating the mobile strategy for the Millennium Village Project.

She talks about mobile adoption, user-centric design, women and mobiles, how Millennium Villages is using mobiles to improve health outcomes, and what she sees as the next big projects in mobile health.

I think some of the best developments are when you have your endusers involved in the design process. We have a computer science doctoral student working on the development of CommCare in the Millennium village in Uganda. So he’s just spent the last few works following community health workers around the village, watching what they do in the household; watching what they do in the facilities, and how long it takes that individual to get from one place to another. [...]

I think you have a much better chance of developing an application that will be meaningful for the end user. [...]

What was nice about the study in Egypt, I just looked at “how are people using mobile phones in general without any external support.” Often times you can find patterns of use that you can just standardize or strengthen. Or develop the access to the information that they would need; the automated systems for some of the things they were already doing.

There are different ways of approaching it strategically, so that you’re not starting from scratch. There are a lot of really good projects out there. They are small, and they are pilots. But it’s a good starting point to look at what already exists before coming out and starting something new.

Read full interview

19 February 2008

Tech’s feminine side

Woman with mobile phone
The Boston Globe ponders what happens now that women are wielding increasing influence in a high-tech world that has been largely built and engineered by men, and how that changes the technology itself.

No one would make the argument that megapixels are masculine or that gigabytes have a gender. But as gadgets and websites become an integral part of everyday life, a high-tech world that has been largely built and engineered by men is getting the feminine touch.

Digital cameras, cellphones, and online social networks appear unisex – but social scientists argue that every product is hardwired in subtle ways that reflect the cultural assumptions of its makers.

In a technology world that has been dominated by men, a growing number of companies are realizing that “feminizing” their products – essentially, by putting style and functionality on an equal footing with power and speed – is good for business.

“Women say, ‘Listen, I always have demands on my time – kids or husbands or in-laws or my parents . . . I don’t want technology that requires me to fiddle around with it,”‘ said Genevieve Bell, an anthropologist at Intel Corp. who has over the past decade helped push the company to consider consumers in its engineering choices. “It makes women really interesting bellwethers or benchmarks for usability.”

The article refers to a Nokia entertainment study, entitled ‘A Glimpse of the Next Episode’ (press release | downloads), but has some interesting insights on future user interfaces as well.

Read full story

8 June 2007

Philips moves into the lifestyle game

Active Crystal
The Dutch company, famous for its electrical appliances, now sees its future in giving people an entire design ‘experience’, writes Paul Durman in The London Times.

“For girls who love bling, Philips reckons it has just the thing. The electrical-goods company known for its televisions and shavers is getting into the jewellery business. This year it will start selling a range of wearable memory sticks – including a USB storage device dressed up to look like a heartshaped pendant.

The Active Crystal range of products – there will also be bejewelled earphones for digital-music players – is the first fruit of a joint venture with Swarovski, the jeweller [read also this Philips press release]. The USB keys, which will have enough memory for 1,000 photos or 250 songs, are expected to cost about £120. As the price makes clear, the target customer is more fashion victim than gadget geek.

For Rudy Provoost, chief executive of Philips Consumer Electronics, the partnership with Swarovski is a good example of how the Dutch giant is changing, and how design has become central to its future success. “Design is not just about styling and the look,” Provoost said. “Design is the vehicle to create experience – design as a fashion statement, as a lifestyle statement.”

Three years ago, he said, design was only one of a number of factors that went into the equation of creating new products. “Today, design is driving the equation, it is setting the direction. A few years ago, we would very much have said: ‘Let’s do it all by ourselves.’ Now we are going out and partnering with companies.”

The article then continues with a more technical analysis of the Philips consumer products business strategy.

Read full story

17 May 2007

Young women now the most dominant group online in the UK

UK internet population
Young women are now the most dominant group online in the UK, according to new research from net measurement firm Nielsen/NetRatings, reports the BBC.

Women in the 18 – 34 age group account for 18% of all online Britons.

They also spend the most time online – accounting for 27% more of the total UK computer time than their male counterparts.

Of UK males active online, the 50+ age group is the most prevalent.

The breakthrough of these groups will come as a surprise to many who regard the internet as being largely dominated by young men.

Interestingly, the number three site for young women is The Full Experience Company, which is based on an interesting gifting concept:

“Smart Box™ offers recipients the choice between 40 different activities, spa and therapy days, and hotels in the UK or France, all based on a specific theme. So you only need to choose what theme to purchase, not to select what they will actually do – You don’t have to choose the date, the place, or the experience for others… “

- Read full story
Download press release (pdf, 128 kb, 2 pages)

24 April 2007

Vodafone research on what women expect from mobile phones

Woman with mobile phone
Vodafone detailed its insights into what women (at least in the U.K. and The Netherlands) expect from mobile phones and functions, reports the Telecompaper (subscription required).

Unsurprisingly, design is the number one selling-point. User research found around 55 percent want a phone that is round, light colored and opens like a clamshell. Some 18 percent want a more business-oriented model, 14 percent want to make a statement with an extrovert design, and 13 percent just wanna have fun, funky design.

Vodafone’s examination of usage patterns shows the phone is essential to women for keeping in contact with family and friends. Women – the penultimate connectors – have much larger social networks to sustain than their male counterparts. Generally speaking, the number of phone numbers in their calling circle is some 2-3 times larger than men’s (excluding business numbers). Women call a lot, and also talk for a long time, especially when it’s an incoming call.

SMS is also important to women. They use it to make contact, show affection, send photos and for shopping lists – and they use this service much more than their men. Although men make more use of content services, women are more prolific users of personalised services, such as ringtones, and are also more interested in specifically “feminine content” such as the Dutch soap opera Onderweg naar morgen or Bridget Jones.

(via mocoNews.net)

10 July 2006

Women and consumer technology [CNET News]

D&G phone
Leslie Katz and Erica Ogg of CNET News wrote a long feature story with many examples on women and consumer technology. Women, they say, “have a message for gadget makers, and it’s not all about pink.”

“Out of $107.2 billion spent [in the US] on consumer-electronics technology in 2005, men accounted for 54 percent, or $57.9 billion worth, of those purchases, and women took care of 46 percent, or $49.3 billion, according to market research firm The NPD Group. That’s an 18 percent increase in spending by females compared with the previous year, when women rang up $41.9 billion in gadget purchases. Men spent about the same amount in 2004 as they did in 2005.”

“It’s increasingly not just about having a gadget, but having a functional product that enhances the life of the family,” said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis for The NPD Group. “The idea that people go online to go shopping–that makes the computer (purchase) something of a household decision. It’s not just guys in charge of the gadgets.”

“Whether the wallet is being wielded by a stay-at-home mom, a working woman or any of the other countless variations on the 21st century female, gadget makers are taking note. Major companies including Apple Computer, Motorola, Eastman Kodak, Sony and Nintendo are giving products like cell phones, USB flash drives and handheld game devices bursts of color and graceful lines, and featuring women prominently in ads. Some designers, meanwhile, are developing products with an exclusively female audience in mind.”

“Most of the women I know play a lot of different roles in their lives, and they’re all very important to them,” said designer Steffi Card. “They don’t use (a gadget) just for business. They need it for their personal lives, their friendships, their family, all of these things.”

- Read full story
View image slideshow

8 May 2006

Welcome to the new dollhouse [The New York Times]

The Sims
As far as we know, children have always played with dolls of one sort or another to act out variations on their own lives, or lives they observe or imagine. Today, a vast and growing number of kids are doing the same thing — but with a very new tool. Instead of dolls, they are using video games. And perhaps most of all, they’re using The Sims.

Some video games let players battle aliens or quarterback a pro football team; The Sims drops the player into an even more fantastic environment: suburban family life. Each Sim, as the characters are known, is different — one might be an old man, one might be a young girl; one is motivated primarily by money, for instance, while another may want popularity — and it’s up to the player to tend to those needs. As in real life, there are no points in The Sims and you can’t “win.” You just try to find happiness as best you can.

And though video game players are often stereotyped as grunged-out, desensitized slackers, it is the nation’s middle-class schoolchildren, particularly girls, who have helped make The Sims one of the world’s premier game franchises, selling more than 60 million copies globally since its introduction in 2000.

Among psychologists and education experts, it is widely accepted that playing with dolls is a safe and perhaps even essential part of self-discovery and growing up for many children, especially girls. Now, some of those experts are catching on to how quickly video games are moving into the territory formerly dominated by a slim blonde named Barbie.

“It’s not that surprising when you look at the game,” said James Paul Gee, an education professor at the University of Wisconsin who directs a program that studies the intersection of learning and gaming among both adults and children. “It’s a great resource for them to design and think about relationships and social spaces.”

Read full story

3 May 2006

Girls take over tech revolution [The Guardian]

Girls and technology
“Girls mature more quickly, are said to be more responsible and do better at school”, writes Owen Gibson, the Guardian’s media correspondent. He adds “now media-savvy girls are putting another one over the boys by leading the digital communications revolution.”

“After one of the most comprehensive studies of the effect on children of the explosion in media choices of the past 15 years, the regulator Ofcom said girls aged 12 to 15 are more likely than boys to have a mobile phone, use the internet, listen to the radio and read newspapers or magazines. Only when it comes to playing computer and console games do boys overtake girls.”

“The study, focusing on children aged between eight and 15, also showed the extent to which mobile phones and the internet are taken for granted by primary school children. Their 11th birthday appears to be the tipping point, with eight of out of 10 children having their own handset by that age.”

- Read full story
Read Ofcom press release
Download Ofcom report (pdf, 618 kb, 69 pages)

29 December 2005

Video games as substitute play environments for children

Henry_jenkins
A long essay by Henry Jenkins explores the cultural geography of video game spaces, one which uses traditional children’s play and children’s literature as points of comparison to the digital worlds contemporary children inhabit.

Specifically, it examines the “fit” between video games and traditional boy culture and reviews several different models for creating virtual play spaces for girls. So much of the existing research on gender and games takes boy’s fascination with these games as a given. As we attempt to offer video games for girls, we need to better understand what draws boys to video games and whether our daughters should feel that same attraction.

The essay starts from a reflection on the changing spaces of childhood. In the nineteenth century, children living on America’s farms enjoyed free range over a space which was ten square miles or more; boys of nine or 10 would go camping alone for days on end, returning when they were needed to do chores around the house. Henry did spend childhood time in wild woods, but these are now occupied by concrete, bricks, or asphalt. His son has grown up in apartment complexes and video games constitute his main playing spaces.

Read full story

(via John Thackara)

28 December 2005

How women and men use the internet

Pew_logo
According to a just released report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, women are catching up to men in most measures of online life. Men like the internet for the experiences it offers, while women like it for the human connections it promotes.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project produces reports that explore the impact of the Internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life.

Read report summary
Download full report (pdf, 815 kb, 51 pages)

11 October 2004

Technology’s gender balancing act [BBC]

Womanlaptopcafe203
Technology has come a long way since the washing machine, but somewhere along the line it lost relevance to women. Now gadget makers are striving to win back the female market.

Read full story