The findings, which have implications for computer program design the world over, will be presented at CHI 2010, the Association for Computing Machinery’s Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, being held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, April 10-15.
Last summer, Thomas Smyth, Ph.D. student in the College of Computing at Georgia Tech, was working at Microsoft in Banglaore, India, when he had a thought.
“As you might expect, Microsoft employs a lot of people to maintain the building, so one day we called a couple of them into a room and asked them, ‘What do you do with your phones,’” said Smyth.
After a few interviews, Smyth and fellow researchers from Microsoft India and one from the University of California, Berkeley, set out to the lower-income neighborhoods and interviewed about 30 people on how they used their mobile phones. They found that most people, in addition to calling and texting, used their phones for transferring media files via Bluetooth. Obtaining media this way, via peer-to-peer transfer, is free, whereas downloading content from the Internet can be costly. On the other hand, Bluetooth sharing involves a cumbersome process that many Americans don’t bother with.
“To send a text message on your phone, for instance, it takes three or four steps. If you’ve ever transferred something on your phone with Bluetooth, you know it takes 15 to 20 steps. So for people whom you might not expect to have a lot of expertise in this area, the motivation to transfer music and video files to be entertained seems to be enough to turn these complicated user-interface obstacles into mere speed bumps,” said Smyth.
Some people watched films on their phone, listened to music and recorded lecture notes in school.
“Of course, there’s the one where the guys would use Bluetooth to transfer data with the phone in their pockets while they were doing side-by-side work on a construction site,” said Smyth. “That’s my favorite, because if you really want to transfer a big file, it can take a half an hour over Bluetooth.”
Others removed their microSD chips and use them to transfer files.
“Some people would swap those around, or they would have several microSD chips in their wallet, because that’s a faster way to transfer stuff. There was no end to the kinds of things people would do,” said Smyth.
Some studies have claimed that usability barriers prevent people from being able to use technology to improve their lives, but Smyth and colleagues discovered that their interview subjects had constructed elaborate systems to obtain, view and share their entertainment content. Other types of content related to areas that are typically identified as “needs” by researchers and aid practitioners, such as healthcare or education, did not show up in Smyth’s study.
And the multimedia-capable phones aren’t cheap in India. They often cost more than a month’s salary, yet people said they save for long periods to buy one.
“Maybe we’re putting too much weight on these usability barriers and it’s just more a question of motivation,” said Smyth. “Even if you asked these folks, they might say ‘Oh no, a good job is more important for me,’ because that’s what they think society wants to hear, but the proof is in the pudding here, that they’ve constructed this really remarkable system around entertainment.”David Terraso
David Terraso | Newswise Science News
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy