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"Feel lost without it" : the impact of mobile phones on the market place experience

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Nugent, TR (2016) "Feel lost without it" : the impact of mobile phones on the market place experience. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

The research described within this thesis provides an update to and an extension of our understanding of the role of mobile phone technology in those communal public spaces that allow and encourage social interaction amongst its participants. This work explores the current uses of mobile phone technology in outdoor markets, offers insight into the uses of mobile phones by market participants, and creates a framework to aid future researchers. All of which was validated through the design, development, and evaluation of a mobile prototype for outdoor markets.
Mobile phones are now a ubiquitous technology across the world: There are literally billions of mobile phones of many different types, our mobiles are constantly within our reach and where we go they go, and they have woven themselves into our social fabric becoming an integral part of our day-to-day lives. Unfortunately our understanding around their use in public spaces has not kept up with the new ubiquity that mobiles now occupy.
Past research into public space has included work from the “Third Place”, urban design, and information grounds but despite offering insight into how people exist and operate in these spaces they fail to account for the impact of computing and mobile technology. This is ignored or relegated to footnotes and future work. The human-computer-interaction fields of ubiquitous computing, awareness, computer-supported-cooperative-work, and urban informatics on the other hand provide information into which tools can be used in public space and how best to develop them. These fields, however lack any insight into how people work in these spaces other than as the entity which will be using the newly introduced artefacts.
Using a methodological approach from urban informatics, mobile technology in communal public spaces is explored through two phases. A variety of different data collection tools were used and analysed using a grounded approach. Based upon the gaps identified in previous research, this thesis creates an understanding of communal public spaces and the role mobile technology has within them through the example of outdoor markets. This understanding is used as a basis to develop and evaluate mobile application prototypes as well as to create a new conceptual representation of communal public spaces to account for the new insight gained.
This thesis used multiple tools to collect data including surveys, individual and group semi-structured interviews, and prototype evaluation. The prototype evaluation was based on the exploratory findings of the work and informed the theoretical contribution of the research as a framework to guide future public space research. The data was analysed using a grounded approach common to the human-computer-interaction fields and used a novel technique during the analysis of the data: live audio coding.
The findings of the work provide a better understanding of the part mobile technology occupies in outdoor markets in particular and communal public spaces in general. The major contributions of the thesis include the exploration of an outdoor market as an information ground, observations on the importance of mobile technology in outdoor markets, and the design and evaluation of an iterative mobile prototype to encourage social awareness. The capstone of the thesis is the modification of a pre-existing framework from information grounds literature to better guide future researchers and developers. The new framework is explored and justified through the aforementioned iterative prototype.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: communal public spaces, mobiles, HCI, urban infomatics, ubiquitous computing, outdoor markets
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2016 the Author

Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2017 04:28
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2017 00:41
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