The discipline under the spotlight this month is Research, and the first guest is Jan Chipchase, Principal Researcher in the Mobile HCI Group at Nokia Research, whose personal insights can be found on Future Perfect, Jan’s wonderful photo-intensive weblog. As he says: “… if I do my job right you’ll be using it 3 to 15 years from now.”
The presentation introduced some of Nokia’s field research methods, points to why pretty much everyone on the planet can appreciate the benefits of having access to a mobile telephone (personal, convenient synchronous and asynchronous communication), and introduces findings from a recent field study in Uganda and Indonesia into shared phone use.
“I’ll expand on couple of points of the presentation in the coming weeks – in particular the practice of pooling resources to buy air time; the on-foot delivery of messages sent to phone kiosks – something that we’ve termed step messaging; and my personal favourite sente – the informal practice of sending money as airtime that effectively enables the owner of a mobile phone to offer basic ATM services. All examples of innovation through necessity.”
From the Journal of Information Architecture:
Sense-making in Cross-channel Design
Jon Fisher (Nomensa), Simon Norris (Nomensa), and Elizabeth Buie (Luminanze Consulting)
Successful cross-channel user experiences rely upon a strong informational layer that creates understanding amongst users of a service. This pervasive information layer helps users form conceptual models about how the overall experience works (irrespective of the channel in which they reside). This paper explores the early development of a practical framework for the creation of meaningful cross-channel information architectures or “architectures of meaning“. We explore the strategic roles that individual channels can play as well as the different factors that can degrade a userâs understanding within a cross-channel user experience.
Ethnotelling for User-generated Experiences
Raffaele Boiano, Fondazione Enasarco
This paper focuses on storytelling as a research tool for the social sciences, especially for cultural anthropology. After a short review of the main methodological tools traditionally used in ethnography, with particular regard to observation and interview, we focus on collecting and crafting stories (ethnotelling) as suitable tools for conveying the relational nature of fieldwork. Drawing on the works of Orr, Chipchase, Marradi and Adwan/Bar-on, we show how stories — collected, mediated or made up — are valuable tools for representing experiences and identities. As a result, we suggest a different approach to user-experience design, based on the creation of “thick” environments enabling a whole range of possibilities, where users can imagine or live their own user-generated experiences.
Olga Morawczysnki, project Manager of Grameen Foundation’s AppLab Money Incubator (a CGAP-sponsored new initiative that develops mobile financial products for the poor) and Jan Chipchase, executive creative director of global insights at frog, argue that large scale adoption of (mobile) financial services by the poor will only happen if providers in this sector approach the problem of financial inclusion like service designers, and look at the current experience of banking in poor communities.
“Imagine if a banker approached the problem of financial inclusion from the perspective of a service designer. For starters, the banker would leave his comfortable air-conditioned office and drop his assumptions about the poor. He would spend time in the villages, travelling by overcrowded shared taxis, to learn about the lives of this segment. He would look at the drivers of financial behaviors, and build a richer understanding of why particular financial habits exist. He would also quickly recognize that “the poor” are not a homogeneous group, and that ample opportunities exist for creating segments, such as traders, cash-crop farmers, mechanics and shopkeepers.”
A longer and more thorough reflection on the same matter can be found in the paper “Mobile Banking: Innovation for the Poor” by Tashmia Ismail and Khumbula Masinge of the University of Pretoria’s Gordon School of Business Science (GIBS).
Access to, and the cost of, mainstream financial services act as a barrier to financial inclusion for many in the developing world. The convergence of banking services with mobile technologies means however that users are able to conduct banking services at any place and at any time through mobile banking thus overcoming the challenges to the distribution and use of banking services (Gu, Lee & Suh, 2009). This research examines the factors influencing the adoption of mobile banking by the Base of the Pyramid (BOP) in South Africa, with a special focus on trust, cost and risk including the facets of risks: performance risk, security/privacy risk, time risk, social risk and financial risk. The research model includes the original variables of extended technology acceptance model (TAM2) (Venkatesh & Davis, 2000).
Data for this study was collected through paper questionnaires in townships around Gauteng. This research has found that customers in the BOP will consider adopting mobile banking as long as it is perceived to be useful and perceived to be easy to use. But the most critical factor for the customer is cost; the service should be affordable. Furthermore, the mobile banking service providers, both the banks and mobile network providers, should be trusted. Trust was found to be significantly negatively correlated to perceived risk. Trust therefore plays a role in risk mitigation and in enhancing customer loyalty.
Jan Chipchase, Frog Design’s Executive Creative Director for Global Insights, continues his argumentation on the importance of corporate design research.
After a somewhat confusing introduction (it’s very much for insiders), Chipchase focuses on the core issue: a backgrounder on the role of design research / ethnography and some of the nuances of the approach “that make the process one that is rewarding for the individuals concerned, their communities, our teams that conduct the research and employer, and ultimately the client.”
> Read also this interview with Chipchase in The Hindu
“She is the reigning expert on how young people use the Internet, and she’s writing a book on the subject. Boyd’s research is the real deal, a potent blend of theory and ethnographic data. And she has real tech street cred too, courtesy of a degree in computer science from Brown.”
Other design researchers featured on the list are two people who got the designation “designer runner-up”: Jan Chipchase, Executive Creative Director Of Global Insights, Frog Design, and Indrani Medhi, Associate Researcher, Technology For Emerging Markets Group, Microsoft Research India.
Congratulations to all.
“Textual and technical illiteracy is often cited as a barrier to the adoption of services and by default the benchmark for success is often set at ‘understanding and completing the task by oneself’. However if there are ‘literate’ people nearby to what extent does it matter that the user is illiterate?
‘Mediated use’ is simply recognising that part or all of a task or process is mediated through others.
“I’ve seen first hand and have on occasion experienced the symptoms of culture shock include: increased irritability; becoming hypercritical of locals and local practices; withdrawal – in particularly spending long time resting or in bed; physiological reactions; and excessive eating, drinking or drug use.”
“Hang around a telecoms industry conference long enough and you start to get big-number fatigue – as one stack of seemingly impressive statistic blurs into the next. The numbers that have stuck with me over the years came from our research into the lives of the working illiterate: people who have jobs and want to keep them – spending time with people who work 16 hours days, 7 days a week with just a few days off per year is not uncommon. Who benefits more from the introduction of mobile money management services – a white-collar worker in New York City or a migrant manual labourer living out of a dormitory in Xi’an? For many access to mobile money services is a game-changer.
For practitioners working in this space (hei) the most useful section is likely to be on mobile phone practices and behaviours: covering mediated use from the perspective of customers; agents and the service providers themselves; charging; and multiple-SIM card practices.”
“In many instances the cash-poor, slightly savvy consumer wants to own the brand, doesn’t or won’t pay the premium charged so they head to the, usually sizable used/fake/stolen phone market to pick up a bargain.”
“In the past few years our research into how people communicate, how they capture and share experiences has repeatedly touched on issues around privacy, security and trust.”
Jan then continues in sharing with us “10 relatively modest insights drawn from studies of mainstream users around the world”. They confront us with some broader issues, raise many questions, and are a strongly recommended read.
“For all the current buzz currently surrounding ethnographic / anthropological research – this isn’t the only way to feel out what or how to design (in the broadest sense of the word), doesn’t always provide value, and absolutely shouldn’t be part of every design process – anyone who thinks otherwise isn’t asking enough questions about what their client needs and hasn’t factored in the skills of the team at hand. At its worst ethnographic research is an expensive, time-consuming distraction that can take the design team (and the client they represent) in the wrong direction.
At its best, well, at its best it inspires, informs, and delivers insights that can shape and sustain ideas/products/services/resources through the organisation all the way to the consumer, it’s cost effective, it’s timely, it’s responsive. It’s as much about bridging corporate culture as bridging cultures.”
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
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 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.
According to Nokia’s senior design manager Younghee Jung, they were set up as a community design competition with the theme of ‘design your ideal mobile phone’, hosted in 3 communities of Dharavi (Mumbai, India), Favela Jacarezinho (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), and Buduburam (Accra, Ghana).
“It’s a method that we have been developing through several projects over years. my pursuit is to find a way to meaningfully engage and understand people in the design research phase when the research topic does not provide coherent anchor points to real-world behaviors. That’s why we call this work exploratory design research: often starting with a guiding theme but not knowing the full extent of what we will learn and discover.”
Or in the words of Nokia’s user anthropologist Jan Chipchase: “Despite what you might assume for a studio, the most valuable output of the Open Studio is not the designs, but in providing an alternative way for people to articulate their wants and needs – within the context of their community.”
Jan Chipchase of Nokia explores convergence, connectivity and dis-connectivity in a new and smartly written essay titled “A Little Switch With a Big Impact“, pointing out four trends that will ensure the practice and willingness to disconnect evolves.
“In time the design, language and social norms for connecting, dis-connecting and re-connecting will have reached the point where switch becomes the primary interface to our digital selves.
Of course by then it will called something else, will do something else such as appropriately syncing with everything else that matters to you and your stakeholders. Think of a world where everything is by default on, where the “record” and “capture” button is replaced by “pause”. And then re-imagine the Airplane Mode.”
Raphael Grignani (Nokia Design, USA) talked about how Nokia Design addresses environmental and social issues including recycling, energy and making the benefits of mobile technology available to more people, as exemplified by the Homegrown project.
Presentation (with audio)
Jan Chipchase (Nokia, Japan) explains the trends that will shape the future social, when we will have to evolve new use-practices and put a greater emphasis on communicating our intended use to people in proximity.
Now Adam Greenfield (Nokia Design, Finland) still.
Session: Networked city
The new digital layers provided by ICTs are transforming contemporary urban environments. What does that mean for its inhabitants? What changes can we expect? How will ubiquitous computing influence the way we live? « Everyware » author Adam Greenfield (Nokia Design, Finland), as well as architects Jeffrey Huang (EPFL, Switzerland) and Yang Soo-In (The Living, Korea) provided their vision on this not so distant future.
> Report by Nicolas Nova
> Report by Bruno Giussani
Session: Techno-nomadic life
Mobile technologies have freed us from the tyranny of “place”, but have they introduced new constraints? New behaviors? Is the mobile web going through the same process as the Web in the 90s?
Star design researcher Jan Chipchase (Nokia, Japan) will present some insights nomadic work/life practices enabled by mobile technologies, while i-mode father Takeshi Natsuno (Keio University, Japan) and Christian Lindholm (Fjord, UK) will talk about the future of mobile services.
> Report by Nicolas Nova
> Report by Bruno Giussani
Chipchase stresses that his research is more than just “an attempt to understand the similarities and differences to what we already knew in order to create products and services that are more in tune with local markets”:
Increasingly we’ve had our eyes opened to the sheer ingenuity of people who figure out ways of doing a lot with very little – highly relevant for a planet having to make stark choices about sparse resources. For example the practices around sharing have helped shape our notions of ownership and access – that we’ve applied to the thinking and design of future infrastructures. Our research into illiteracy highlighted the practice of delegating tasks that require an understanding of words and numbers to other people – and that in fact delegation is a solution for many system design problems – what do we expect the user to do, what can be delegated to technology, and especially relevant to the close-knit communities in emerging markets – what can be delegated to other people? The extent and sophistication of the street repair cultures have changed the way we think about how our products are made, distributed, disposed of and recycled. And occasionally we come across something so elegant and in tune with the local conditions that it could never be designed for – like Sente, the informal practice of sending and converting airtime into cash, effectively allowing anyone with a mobile phone to function as a rudimentary ATM machine. Not least if you want to create a service that people value, you’d be hard pressed to find a more critical group of consumers than people with limited and infrequent levels of disposable income.
In three years we worked with some of the best companies in the field and some of the best people too.
Here they are in alphabetical order:
Alcatel-Lucent (France, Spain), Area Association (Italy), Arits Consulting (Belgium), AVIS (Italy), Barclays (Italy, UK), Blyk (Finland, UK), Cittadellarte (Italy), City of Genk (Belgium), Condé Nast (Italy), Conifer Research (USA), CSI (Italy), CVS-Pharmacy (USA), Design Flanders (Belgium), Deutsche Telekom (Germany), Expedia (UK), Facem (Italy), Fidelity International (UK), Finmeccanica (Italy), Flanders in Shape (Belgium), Haier (China), Hewlett Packard (India), IEDC-Bled School of Management (Slovenia), IKS-Core Consulting (Italy), Istud Foundation (Italy), Kodak (USA), LAit (Italy), Last Minute (UK), Max Mara (Italy), Media & Design Academy (Belgium), Microsoft (USA), Motorola (USA), MPG Ferrero (Italy), Nokia (Denmark, France, Finland), Research in Motion (Canada), Samsung (Italy, Korea, UK), Swisscom (Switzerland), Tandem Seven (USA), Torino World Design Capital (Italy), Voce di Romagna (Italy), Vodafone (Germany, Italy, UK), and Whirlpool (UK).
Our collaborators (interns, consultants and staff)
Sven Adolph, Ana Camila Amorim, Andrea Arosio, An Beckers-Vanderbeeken, Josef ‘Yosi’ Bercovitch, Enrico Bergese, Niti Bhan, Elena Bobbola, Janina Boesch, Giovanni Buono, Donatella Capretti, Manlio Cavallaro, Gaurav Chadha, Dave Chiu, Raffaella Citterio, Sarah Conigliaro, Piermaria Cosina, Marco Costacurta, Laura Cunningham, Regine Debatty, Stefano Dominici, Saulo Dourado, Tal Drori, Dina Mohamed El-Sayed, Marion Froehlich, Giuseppe Gavazza, Valeria Gemello, Michele Giannasi, Young-Eun Han, Vanessa Harden, Yasmina Haryono, Bernd Hitzeroth, Juin-Yi ‘Suno’ Huang, Tom Kahrl, Erez Kikin-Gil, Ruth Kikin-Gil, Helena Kraus, Francesca Labrini, Alberto Lagna, Shadi Lahham, Jörg Liebsch, Cristina Lobnik, Maya Lotan, Ofer Luft, Davide Marazita, Claude Martin, Camilla Masala, Myriel Milicevic, Kim Mingo, Emanuela Miretti, Massimo Morelli, Peter Morville, Muzayun Mukhtar, Giorgio Olivero, Pablo Onnias, Hector Ouilhet, Christian Pallino, Giorgio Partesana, Magda Passarella, Romina Pastorelli, Danilo Penna, Andrea Piccolo, Rachelly Plaut, Laura Polazzi, Laura Puppo, Alain Regnier, Enza Reina, Anna Rink, Michal Rinott, Silvana Rosso, Emanuela Sabena, Vera de Sa-Varanda, Craig Schinnerer, Fabio Sergio, Manuela Serra, Sofia Shores, Massimo Sirelli, Natasha Sopieva, Yaniv Steiner, Riccardo Strobbia, Victor Szilagyi, David Tait, Beverly Tang, Akemi Tazaki, Luca Troisi, Raymond Turner, Haraldur Unnarsson, Ilaria Urbinati, Carlo Valbonesi, Marcello Varaldi, Giorgio Venturi, Anna Vilchis, Dvorit Weinheber, Alexander Wiethoff, Junu Joseph Yang, and Mario Zannone.
Amberlight, Design for Lucy, Fecit, Finsa, Flow Interactive, Foviance, Italia 150, Launch Institute, Prospect, Savigny Research, Syzygy, Torino World Design Capital, UPA, URN, Usability Partners International, Usercentric, UserFocus, User Interface Design, and UXnet.
Our friends (insofar not covered by the above)
Nik Baerten, Valerie Bauwens, Toon Berckmoes, Ralf Beuker, Marco Bevolo, Daniella Botta, Stefana Broadbent, Francesco Cara, Jan Chipchase, Allan Chochinov, Elizabeth Churchill, Gillian Crampton-Smith, Regine Debatty, Federico De Giuli, Jesse James Garrett, Adam Greenfield, Hubert Guillaud, Wilfried Grommen, Laurent Haug, Bob Jacobson, Marguerite Kahrl, Anna Kirah, Simona Lodi, Peter Merholz, Bill Moggridge, Donald Norman, Nicolas Nova, Bruce Nussbaum, Laura Orestano, Vittorio Pasteris, Gianluigi Perotto, Carlo Ratti, Hans Robertus, Bruce Sterling, John Thackara, Joannes Vandermeulen, Lowie Vermeersch, Judy Wert, and Younghee Yung.
Thanks to you all!
Pierpaolo Perotto, Mark Vanderbeeken, Michele Visciola and Jan-Christoph Zoels
The Experientia partners
PS. We are constantly looking for great talent! We currently have openings for interaction designers, communication designer, information architect, IT staff, usability consultants, etc.
“Most of us take mobile phones for granted. Not so for Jan Chipchase, a design researcher for Nokia, who travels the globe exploring how people use their mobile devices, discovering how to make them better, how to reach the billions of people who don’t own a phone – and learning a whole lot about people along the way. Jason Palmer caught up with him in Japan – by phone of course – and found that nothing about the mobile phone is as straightforward as it seems.”
Of English and German parentage, 38-year-old Jan Chipchase grew up in London and studied economics at London Guildhall University, going on to do a master’s in user interface design in 1992. He then worked at the Institute for Learning and Research Technology at the University of Bristol. In 1999 he moved to Japan, where he still lives, and joined Nokia’s usability group. He became a member of the Nokia design group last year.
(via Usability in the News)