Design and Theory – ZHughes

One may say the importance in designing the prototypes of these technologies for uses in aiding social justice is not only the intention to help in the “fight”, but to also to make sure that these prototypes are designed with the proper mobility and social properties in mind. And also any possible privacy and accessibility complications should be addressed if possible. My technology prototype is an app that acts as an information hub while also featuring some recruiting and social aspects with the proposed Indeed or LinkedIn inclusion. This app is designed only for smartphones. It attempts to address the underrepresentation of minorities in leadership roles in education through two components. The first is providing a channel for awareness by pushing information about prominent black admins, and their contributions to their respective universities. The second component allows for action following awareness by providing information on job openings in these moderately high to high ranking admin positions, specifically at more racially diverse universities. Addressing underrepresentation is important because, while what one sees at an institution regarding diversity shouldn’t determine their success or their pursuit of helping to set the stage for the next generation that follows, seeing someone who is alike in a position of deciding power is sure to bare positive results.

 

Regarding social interactions and the mobility of this app; there is much to be discussed. First, we must understand mobility. By using Kakihara and Sorensen’s Expanding the ‘Mobility’, we look to understand how one breaks down mobility. Mobility is more than just actual travel of people from one place to the next. It’s more so the way we interact with each other socially (2001, p. 33) The three types of mobility are spatial, temporal, and contextual. Spatial mobility involves the movement of objects, symbols and space. Each carry its own importance. The movement of objects can be defined as the movement of people and the objects attached to people. For instance, the Sony Walkman; (2001, pg. 34) it is mobile in its design. It is designed to be a part of one who is in constant movement. Being that my technology is an app designed for smartphones,  it will live inside of the ultimate modern mobile object and thus takes advantage of this. Then, there is the movement of symbols; “Global satellite television networks, for example broadcast visual images and sound enabling billions of people to receive news almost simultaneously. Likewise, the internet has become a place where an immense amount of information, sound, and images travel beyond national borders.” (2001, pg. 34) To an extent my application takes advantage of movement of symbols as it lives in a space where everyone with the app, through the internet is “pushed” the information about the minority admin. With the movement of space, Kakihara and Sorensen speak of existing in a virtual space between people. I do not think my app takes advantage of this in its design. This is because this is an automated information hub pushing information to whomever has the application, and providing opportunities to find job openings, but it does not allows those to directly communicate with these admins they read about or with other people who are also reading about these people via the app. The next type of mobility is temporal mobility.

 

Temporal mobility regards time. “Efforts to invent new technologies and introduce them into existing work settings are motivated to a large extent by the desire to accelerate the pace of work and save time” (2001, pg. 34) Tech is being designed to help perform work and at a more desirable rate and save us time in doing so. My app does not engage this at all. My app prototype aside from possible job recruiting isn’t time sensitive. One has the information pushed to them or they can actively search for the information inside the hub. The third type of mobility is contextual. Contextual mobility regards the context in which objects interact. “…not only enables people to asynchronously connect with others in distant areas, it also transforms the contextual constraints amongst those interacting” (2001, pg. 35). My app does not engage here either. This is because my object does not really involve the interaction of people of distant areas as much as it involves the movement of information through objects and symbols. All in all my app design engages with mobility in a very limited but still possibly effective way.

 

Regarding social interaction, my design does not engage very much. It does not operate through a social network even though it does request the opportunity to work with other networks that are social.  In its core design it’s not social media. Using Lee Humphrey’s Connection, Coordinating, Cataloguing we understand that mobile interactions with these social media are based on people communicating with people through these media (2012, pg. 495). My app is information based and not interaction based. You do not know who else has the app; at least not directly using the app.

 

While there aren’t any main concerns regarding privacy, there are concerns regarding accessibility with my app. However, lets first look at privacy the main concerns of privacy in technology is information and surveillance. Using Alice E. Marwick’s The Public Domain: Social Surveillance in Everyday Life we come to understand that people reveal and conceal personal information when making connections with other people, and also that the information is digital and thus is can be replicated, searched, disseminated, and accessed easily. (2012, pgs. 378, 381 [referenced Boyd, 2010] ). Although there is a possible privacy concern regarding sensitive information with LinkedIn and Indeed collaborations, that concern would be with the design of those social networks, not the design of the app. My app’s design does not require the input of any sensitive information. One way to address this possible privacy hiccup would be to provide a warning stating that you may be posting sensitive information in the databases with the network that my app is collaborating with.

 

There are definitely some accessibility concerns with my design. My app is designed for smartphones only; and so anyone who either cannot afford a smartphone or has trouble looking at screens will struggle with this app. It is also information pushed by the internet, so anyone who lives in an area that struggles with internet connections,  albeit from a internet provider or cell phone service provider, will struggle using this app as well. Gerard Goggin’s Cell Phone Culture: Mobile Technology in everyday life details accessibility with mobile phones. Goggin speaks specifically on disability and cell phone use. This includes those who are blind, deaf, or color blind along with other disabilities. He also speaks on how in designing to fix one accessibility issue you may alienate another. Smartphones have some features that help to fix the accessibility issues regarding the screen issues that could accompany my app design flaw. However, my app can not tend to the accessibility issue regarding the price of smartphones, and the possible inconsistencies of internet access. These will have to stand as accessibility flaws.

 

Work Cited:

 

-Humphreys, Lee. (2012). Connecting, Coordinating, Cataloguing: Communicative Practices on Mobile Social Networks. Retrieved 2015, March, 29 From https://mobmedsp15.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/humphreys-lee_connecting-coordinating-cataloguing.pdf

-Kakihara, Masao & Sorensen, Carsten. (2001). Expanding the ‘Mobility’ Concept. Retrieved 2015, March 29 From https://mobmedsp15.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/kakihara-and-sorensen_mobility.pdf

 

-Marwick, Alice E. (2012). Public Domain: Surveillance in everyday life.  Surveillance & Society. Retrieved 2015, March, 29 From https://mobmedsp15.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/marwick_the-public-domain.pdf

 

-Goggin, Gerard. (2006). Cell Phone Culture: Mobile technology in everyday life. Retrieved 2015, March, 29 From https://mobmedsp15.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/goggin-gerard-cell-phone-culture_ch-5.pdf

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