Sashay: Designing for Wonderment
journal contributionposted on 2006-01-01, 00:00 authored by Eric Paulos, Chris Beckmann
No longer confined to our offices, schools, and homes, technology is expanding at an astonishing rate across our everyday public urban landscapes. From the visible (mobile phones, laptops, and blackberries) to the invisible (GPS, WiFi, GSM, and EVDO), we find the full spectrum of digital technologies transforming nearly every facet of our urban experience. Many current urban computing systems focus on improving our efficiency and productivity in the city by providing “location services” and/or interactive navigation and mapping tools. While agreeing with the need for such systems, we are reminded that urban life spans a much wider range of emotions and experiences. Our claim is that our successful future urban technological tools will be those that incorporate the full range of urban experiences – from improving productivity and efficiency to promoting wonderment and daydreaming. We discuss intervention as a research strategy for understanding wonderment; demonstrate an example of such a study using a matchbook experiment to expose relationships between locations and emotions within a city; and use the results to develop Sashay – a mobile phone application that promotes wonderment by visualizing an individual’s personal patterns across the invisible, manufactured geography of mobile phone cellular towers.