Friday, September 21, 2007

Mobility is cultural, not just functional


In a research article of importance to designers, user researchers and others interested in urban communication, UC Irvine professor Paul Dourish and Intel researchers Ken Anderson and Dawn Nafus argue most approaches to urban user research are too narrow:
While these applications clearly meet needs, they fail to take the urban environment on its own terms; they are based on the idea that urban life is inherently problematic, something to be overcome, in comparison to the conventional desktop computing scenario. Further, they fail to acknowledge the lived practice of urban life, and in particular its diversity and the different urban experiences of different groups. In focusing on abstracted rather than concrete behaviors, on individual consumption rather than collective sociality, and on the pairing between discretionary mobility and urban consumption, this approach paints a very partial view of urban living that leaves many people out of the picture.

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