The team responded with specific design solutions addressing different aspects of the youth market, showing how diverse technologies could coordinate to deliver integrated support of the social networking so desirable to these users. InContext’s solutions included modifications to the cell phone itself, altered ways of using ad-hoc wireless networking, integration with larger devices, and integration with internet portals:
This project gave the cell phone manufacturer insight into where this market would move over the next 5 years, and how this critical market segment—the next generation of adopters—would use their technology.
Because cell phones are personal life tools, fitting intimately into a person’s self-image and needing to integrate seamlessly with their daily tasks, the manufacturer knew traditional marketing techniques would not give them the insight they needed.
InContext designed a market study to propose solutions that would leverage the cell phone manufacturer’s unique technology. Since the manufacturer was not American and they wanted better penetration of the US market, the whole study was done in the US. InContext used Contextual Inquiry to conduct in-depth observations of 10 young adult’s lives, meeting them for the work/evening transition and observing periods of leisure and work. InContext investigators accompanied the users on their life activities and discussed their attitudes, needs, and ideas during the interviews. InContext used these interviews to identify friends and relatives who could also participate in the study.
This in-depth study revealed new aspects of the users’ lives and attitudes, and showed key differences between this group and older cell phone users.
Based on these findings, the team began to see a huge unmet need to support this population in their desire to maintain a constant web of interconnections with their peers—using coordinating and communicating devices to help accomplish this.