Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Unique Aspects of Mobile Usage

Still working on the paper on mobile devices, social media and information seeking and sharing. I hate writing papers this time of year. Whomever made academic terms end in late December is a real Grinch that has stolen my Christmas for way too many years!

Anyway, in my research I think I have found three ways that mobile usage is unique from other media technology. I'd love to get some feedback (hopefully in time to incorporate into my paper!) on these, so I thought I'd share them here.

1) Ubiquity of access
Mobiles allow and encourage always-on, anywhere and anytime access.

Repercussions: nomadic information access; attention deficit; information capture to read later; changing sense of personal, work, and social spaces

speed of access; atomized content; file syncing and version control

cloud computing; proactive search; automated metadata

2) Unique design
Mobile devices not only entail smaller screens than PCs but also have a variety of (smaller) input mechanisms (touch screen, trackball, keyboards, etc.) modalities (text, speech, photography, video) and platforms .

Repercussions: multi-platform support

Needs: small scale design; multimedia content; touch screen input; limited user input (based on difficulty in entering large amounts of text)

Innovations: QR Codes; automated linking and integration with native applications; actions based on various input methods, e.g. user shaking device (iPhone); clustered browsing

3) Contextual awareness

Mobile devices are aware of a user's time and location and as mobiles tend to be single-user devices can draw upon automated or supplied profile data. The aspect most unique to mobile devices is the ability to determine a user's geographic location.

Repercussions: participatory surveillance; privacy concerns; geographic relevance

geotagged resources, GPS; precise location determination; widespread network access (incl. basements, rural, etc.)

Innovations: location-based applications and advertising; location sensitive maps and wayfinding aids; augmented reality; personalized content

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