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Nokia Talk - Values in technology design and use: ethnography's contribution
 

Nokia Talk - Values in technology design and use: ethnography's contribution

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Values in technology design and use: ethnography’s contribution As a sociologist, I’ve been trained to ask macro questions about underlying social conditions. As an ethnographer, I’ve been ...

Values in technology design and use: ethnography’s contribution As a sociologist, I’ve been trained to ask macro questions about underlying social conditions. As an ethnographer, I’ve been trained to ask more grounded questions about the everyday lives of people and how they experience underlying social conditions. While incredibly illuminating for society, sociological findings do not readily appear relevant for industry and people outside of academia. My talk today is about how I came into the research internship at Nokia wanting to answer the question: how can ethnographers contribute to the product design process of a mobile device? Ethnographically grounded research on technology use is a method that aims to reveal users’ values, beliefs, and ideas. Nokia was one of the first mobile companies to concertedly hire ethnographers as part of its design process. I discovered while working here that more specifically, I wanted to find out how could ethnography be part of the Nokia’s transition from a company that produces hardware to software.
I discuss how working at Nokia these past three months have initiated a critical shift in my research practices from being an ethnographer in the clouds to an ethnographer on the ground. I provide two examples of how I’ve reframed my research in terms of how values influence technology design and use: China and Mexico. First, I share my analysis on how my research on Mexican migration and migrants’ use of technologies in Mexico and in the US had led me to believe that Nokia already has an American market with a strong brand connection but unfulfilled technology needs. Second, I provide examples for how I will conduct fieldwork in China around four central themes: gaming and leisure, value clashes, social connections, and communication needs. I will be interviewing Chinese entreprenuers of failed copy-cat social networking technologies and conducting one year of ethnography on how Chinese rural-urban migrants use mobiles and internet cafes. I also review the following projects I worked on while at Nokia that have helped me re-envision and re-frame how my ethnographically minded research can contribute to technology use: 1.) Inventive Leisure Practices: I worked with Jofish Kaye to interview local hackers to better understand how they form communities around their practice. We see leisurely hacking communities as critical, yet understudied sites of innovation. 2.) Farmville: Liz Bales, Jofish Kaye, and I did some preliminary surveying to gain insight the popularity of this Facebook game. Liz and I were most interested in understanding how Farmville supported less-meangingful social ties. 3.) The Dream House: this is a project that Janet Go, Liz Bales, and I initiated as a collaboration between 19 Entertainment, Simon Cowell’s company and Nokia Research Labs. The If I Can Dream House is the first “post-reality entertainment” production. As the show is only available online through a 24/7, 60+ camera live stream and weekly Hulu releases, we wanted to better understand how audiences connect with this new form and content of interactive media and how we could use these insights to rethink mobiles device as the primary interactive device.

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  • And I was really excited to come here b.c 1) nokia was 1st company to hir ethnographers (qualitative research based on observations, interpretations of what is observed and heard) and 2.) it was a game changer – it made mobile phones accessble – by centering itslef around core design values of usability, nokia phones changed the world. I believed in the values of nokia. My research sites are in low income areas. I am a a sociologist and ethnographer, we ask big questions about the society – underlying social conditions – race, socio-economic mobility, institutional theory, capitalism! I came into nokia asking how do ethnographer’s contribute? While many issues of businesses are much deeper than what an ethnographer can do – what it can do is help a company return to it’s core values and how it relates to its users. Ethnography work is invisible – what is it? Long term, live with people, hang out with them, interpreting their actionsWorking with the IDEA team – values values and social use of technology
  • Liz, jofish and I independently all wanted to study Farmville – so we decided to make a project out of it! We Created a survey, put it up online, 100 responses, Liz and I were most intesested in understanding MEANINGLESS social ties.
  • While we may know that our social ties aren’t all equal, our technologies don’t –Social ties obligate people in different waysGames with minimal engagementAllows people to manage social tiesMobile devices –people using mobiles to stay in touch with different types of ties
  • LeisureCommunityIdentityReputationLearningSkillsparticipation
  • 200875% of population east palo alto latino75% of population white!The median income for a household in the city was $45,006, and the median income for a family was $43,342. Males had a median income of $25,631 versus $28,044 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,774. About 17.5% of families and 19.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.6% of those under age 18 and 11.9% of those age 65 or over.According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $119,046, and the median income for a family was $153,197.[10] Males had a median income of $91,051 versus $60,202 for females. The per capita income for the city was $56,257. About 3.2% of families and 4.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.0% of those under age 18 and 5.0% of those age 65 or over. The reason for the difference between the household income and the family income can be explained by the fact that some areas of Palo Alto are populated by graduate students from Stanford University who do not live on the Stanford campus.
  • Exciting market: lots of competition to cheap high-end phones for low-income users, totally different design opportuniteisDesigning softwareNew issues on transparency, family connection, migration
  • What are the underlying values that information mediating institutions draw upon? What values do people bring to the table as users, consumers or citizens of these technologically mediated spaces
  • social medias created in the west build in values of information transparency
  • Immediate chat vs delayed Different use scenariosDifferent roles in interational global economy – one group is the informal, industrial wage – vs those who are information workers, service oriented jobs

Nokia Talk - Values in technology design and use: ethnography's contribution Nokia Talk - Values in technology design and use: ethnography's contribution Presentation Transcript

  • FarmVille
    Inventive leisure practices
    Nokia’s Mexican and North
    American Market
    My Research in China!
    Tricia Wang | www.triciawang.com
    Values in technology design and use: ethnography's contribution | June 9, 2010
    IDEA Team | Nokia Research Center, Palo Alto
  • How do online casual games support less-meaningful social ties?
  • Not all ties are equal
    we know this, but our technologies don’t!
    How can mobile devices be designed in such a way that it enables users to effortlessly engage with various degrees of social ties?
    Stronger social ties
    Less meaningful social ties
  • Why casual games such as Farmville are appealing
    Practicing socialness: activities that map onto familiar social interactions
    (reciprocity, giving, work-time management, budget rationalization and etc.)
    easy enough to want to learn, difficult enough to easily learn
    offers a form of low stake engagement with contacts
    people like to share - practicing reciprocity
    balances incentive motivated play and ethic motivated play
    structured play
  • How do members of hacking communities make sense of their practices?
  • Hacker ethic
    Information should be free
    Information should be shared
    Computer access should be free
    Mistrust of any form of authority  decentralization
    Computers and free-information improves quality of life
  • What are the major commonalities among
    hacking communities?
    Users as creators, consumers as producers
    Knowledge sharing as a form of gifting
    Hacking as productive sites of leisure and innovation
  • I conducted 3 years of research in a migrant sending community in Oaxaca, Mexico
    Remittances: migrants in the US send a portion of their income to their families in Mexico
  • How can Nokia strengthen its South American market?
  • Nokia has a strong brand in Mexico
    cross promotion with local operators
  • Nokia already has an American Market
    (it just doesn’t know it yet!)
    user needs
    • Cellphone 24/7
    • Remittances
    • Constant cross-border connection with family
    • Protect documentation status
    • babysitting
    statistics
    • 10.6 million migrants from Mexico living in the US (projected to be 22.2 million in 2050)
    • 6 – 7 million undocumented
    • 500,000 undocumented arrive each year
    Design features
    • secure financial transactions
    • ubiquitous communication
    • gaming to support transnational communication
    • Family friendly cellphone
    user profile
    • Relatively young
    • Low-income
    • Have families
    • Little education
    • Varying identification
    • No insurance
  • Strategy
    Design awesome and
    affordable phones for low-income users
  • Where do we start?
  • East Palo Alto!
    East Palo Alto
    16.2% of residents have income below the poverty line (CA 14.2%)
    $54,115 median household income
    (CA $61,021)
    Palo Alto
    4.8% of residents with income below the poverty line (CA 14.2%)
    $108,020 median household income
    (CA $61,021)
  • Moving to China for 1 year of fieldwork!
    Rural to urban migrants families, cellphones, internet cafes, consumption
    Education/schools
  • How values are designed into technologies
    clash in values
    cultural values on transparency of social connections
    tech failures as a result of differing values
  • 1. gaming, leisure
    3. social connections
    2. value clashes
    4. communication needs
  • 1. gaming, leisure
    3. social connections
    2. value clashes
    4. communication needs
  • 1. gaming, leisure
    3. social connections
    4. communication needs
    2. value clashes
  • access to information
  • Hacker ethic
    Information should be free
    Information should be shared
    Computer access should be free
    Mistrust of any form of authority  decentralization
    Computers and free-information improves quality of life
  • 20th-21st
    century
    17th-18th
    century
    The Enlightenment
  • 20th-21st
    century
    17th-18th
    century
    200 BCE
    Confucianism
    The Enlightenment
  • What values do people bring to the table as users, consumers or citizens of these technologically mediated spaces?
    How can technology be designed in such a way that is sensitive to value(s)?
  • 1. gaming, leisure
    3. social connections
    4. communication needs
    2. value clashes
  • Nokia moving from hardware to software
    Cultural orientations towards services & solution
    Address Book Model
    Social network model
    Experience model
  • Cultural orientation towards
    social connections/guanxi
    EXPLICIT
    United States
    IMPLICIT
    China
  • How can services/apps be designed for communities with alternative orientations towards transparency?
    guanxi
    China
  • 1. gaming, leisure
    3. social connections
    4. communication needs
    2. value clashes
  • How can Nokia design technologies that respond to differing communication paradigms?
    China - QQ messenger
    US - Gmail
  • Thank you Nokia!
    See you all in 2012 when I return from my fieldwork!
    www.triciawang.com