Volume 12(1), 2016-05, 5—30

Ways of walking: Understanding walking's implications for the design of handheld technology via a humanistic ethnographic approach

Parisa Eslambolchilar
Computer Science Department
Swansea University
UK

Mads Bødker
Department of IT Management
Copenhagen Business School
Denmark

Alan Chamberlain
School of Computer Science
University of Nottingham
UK

It seems logical to argue that mobile computing technologies are intended for use “on-the-go.” However, on closer inspection, the use of mobile technologies pose a number of challenges for users who are mobile, particularly moving around on foot. In engaging with such mobile technologies and their envisaged development, we argue that interaction designers must increasingly consider a multitude of perspectives that relate to walking in order to frame design problems appropriately. In this paper, we consider a number of perspectives on walking, and we discuss how these may inspire the design of mobile technologies. Drawing on insights from non-representational theory, we develop a partial vocabulary with which to engage with qualities of pedestrian mobility, and we outline how taking more mindful approaches to walking may enrich and inform the design space of handheld technologies.

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