Physical Computing: Observation

Our second assignment for the week was to observe people using interactive technology, preferably without them noticing.

I chose the LinkNYC kiosks that I’ve seen scattered around the city. Admittedly, I didn’t know much about them other than I could charge my phone at them if I needed to. My expectations were that people would use them for that purpose most of the time. What I found, was that most people intuitively knew how to work the kiosk, often using it to charge their phones. Occasionally, I’d see someone stare at it for a bit before pressing options on the screen and walking on.

Looking into the kiosks further and speaking with a fellow student, helped to solidify my understanding of the kiosk. Not only could I charge my phone there, but I could also use free public wifi, make free calls within the US using the vonage app or keypad (with or without headphones), access city maps and services, and contact 911 in case of emergency. The kiosks also displayed ads, which funds its services.

Given all that the kiosk can do, I was surprised to see that not many people used it. Instead, they seemed to prefer to use their phones, only using it for charging and perhaps wifi.

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