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Teasing Out Trends: The Smartphone Revolution

CGCS's picture

John Laprise, an Assistant Professor in Residence at Northwestern University in Qatar, discusses the result of cellphone ubiquity on self-efficacy. For more information on the impact of mobile phones on society, check out the Center for Global Communication Studies' conference titled “Ubiquity, Mobility, Globality: Charting Directions in Mobile Phone Studies,” which took place November 6-7, 2014. Click here for more information. 

Many scholars are examining the effects of the Internet on individuals, but I would like to take a moment to talk about how the increasingly ubiquitous smartphone offers unique affordances to its user. When psychologists speak about an individual’s belief in his ability to succeed, they refer to self-efficacy. Experience (doing it), modelling (seeing someone else do it), and social persuasion (responding to external comments) all impact self-efficacy. Positive outcomes yield improved self-efficacy and negative outcomes result in reduced self-efficacy. By affording their users inexhaustible opportunities to make low cost, low risk, but gratifying choices, smartphones enable their users to develop the confidence to overcome societal barriers to individual choice. Smartphones’ steadily growing utility makes them increasingly ubiquitous. The result is the broad but subtle global growth of self-efficacy and, perhaps, individuality.

The Things We Do: Design with the User in Mind

Roxanne Bauer's picture

City planners and design professionals have long known that the way in which physical space is constructed affects human behavior. Walkways, doorways, and lighting direct people for strategic reasons, colors and textures impact our sensory experiences, and the size and flow of space affects our social interaction.

Physical space is also important in designing transportation infrastructure where entry and exit points direct the flow of traffic, ticketing affects efficiency, and roadways shape the speed and orientation of traffic.

As one architect puts it, “Designers often aspire to do more than simply create buildings that are new, functional and attractive—they promise that a new environment will change behaviours and attitudes.”

Consumers consider these aspects when they decide how to travel in a process known as translation in which they consider personal benefits and costs of a product. In this case, people make ask themselves, ‘I know a new bus line is available, but will it save me money or time?’ or 'I can ride my bike, but will it be safe?'  The process is complex, and occurs over time and through repeated interactions.

In order to put design to good use in changing attitudes and behaviors, the city of Bogotá immersed itself in the lives of its residents and created solutions to tackle the heavy congestion and lack of safety that were common on the city’s streets. They used the economics of nudge, paired with design principles, to increase public use of bicycles and buses.

Campaign Art: Mine Kafon

Roxanne Bauer's picture

People, Spaces, Deliberation bloggers present exceptional campaign art from all over the world. These examples are meant to inspire.

This week, the United Nations and countries around the world will observe International Mine Awareness Day on April 4, 2012, as they have every April 4 since 2006.

The following video captures the "Mine Kafon" (Mine Detonator), a wind-powered device designed and built by hand by Massoud Hassani.  It is heavy enough to trip land mines as it rolls across the ground but 120 times cheaper than traditional techniques.  Hassani drew his inspiration from his childhood on the outskirts of Kabul, where he and his younger brother would play with their homemade, wind-powered toys. These toys would sometimes be blown astray, rolling out into the desert amongst landmines, too dangerous to retrieve.

Mine Kafon