Graffiti as conversation

Posted on Feb 28, 2005 in Photography, Place, Urbanism

Phone conversation

I’ve been photographing layers of conversation in graffiti, and tagging the pictures with conversation. Prior art for spatial annotation?

Spatial memory at Design Engaged 2004

Notes on two related projects:

1. Time that land forgot

  • A project in collaboration with Even Westvang
  • Made in 10 days at the Icelandic locative media workshop, summer 2004
  • Had the intention of making photo archives and gps trails more useful/expressive
  • Looked at patterns in my photography: 5 months, 8000 photos, visualised them by date / time of day. Fantastic resource for me: late night parties, early morning flights, holidays and the effect of midnight sun is visible.
  • time visualisation

    2. Marking in urban public space

    I’ve also been mapping stickering, stencilling and flyposting: walking around with the camera+gps and photographing examples of marking (not painted graffiti).

    This research looks at the marking of public space by investigating the physical annotation of the city: stickering, stencilling, tagging and flyposting. It attempts to find patterns in this marking practice, looking at visibility, techniques, process, location, content and audience. It proposes ways in which this marking could be a layer between the physical city and digital spatial annotation.

    Some attributes of sticker design

  • Visibility: contrast, monochromatic, patterns, bold shapes, repetition
  • Patina: history, time, decay, degredation, relevance, filtering, social effects
  • Physicality: residue of physical objects: interesting because these could easily contain digital info
  • Adaptation and layout: layout is usually respectful, innovative use of dtp and photocopiers, adaptive use of sticker patina to make new messages on top of old

    Layers of information build on top of each other, as with graffiti, stickers show their age through fading and patina, flyposters become unstuck, torn and covered in fresh material. Viewed from a distance the patina is evident, new work tends to respect old, and even commercial flyposting respects existing graffiti work.

    Techniques vary from strapping zip-ties through cardboard and around lampposts for large posters, to simple hand-written notes stapled to trees, and short-run printed stickers. One of the most fascinating and interactive techniques is the poster offering strips of tear-off information. These are widely used, even in remote areas.

    Initial findings show that stickers don’t relate to local space, that they are less about specific locations than about finding popular locations, “cool neighbourhoods” or just ensuring repeat exposure. This is opposite to my expectations, and perhaps sheds some light on current success/failure of spatial annotation projects.

    I am particularly interested in the urban environment as an interface to information and an interaction layer for functionality, using our spatial and navigational senses to access local and situated information.

    There is concern that in a dense spatially annotated city we might have an overload of information, what about filtering and fore-grounding of relevant, important information? Given that current technologies have very short ranges (10-30mm), we might be able to use our existing spatial skills to navigate overlapping information. We could shift some of the burden of information retrieval from information architecture to physical space.

    I finished by showing this animation by Kriss Salmanis, a young Latvian artist. Amazing re-mediation of urban space through stencilling, animation and photography. (“Un ar reizi naks tas bridis” roughly translates as “And in time the moment will come”.

    Footnotes/references

    Graffiti Archaeology, Cassidy Curtis
    otherthings.com/grafarc

    Street Memes, collaborative project
    streetmemes.com

    Spatial annotation projects list
    elasticspace.com/2004/06/spatial-annotation

    Nokia RFID kit for 5140
    nokia.com/nokia/0,,55739,00.html

    Spotcodes, High Energy Magic
    highenergymagic.com/spotcode

    ?Mystery Meat navigation?, Vincent Flanders
    fixingyourwebsite.com/mysterymeat.html

    RDF as barcodes, Chris Heathcote
    undergroundlondon.com/antimega/archives/2004_02.html

    Implementation: spatial literature
    nickm.com/implementation

    Yellow Arrow
    yellowarrow.org

Loop city workshop

Posted on Jun 20, 2004 in Conferences, Mapping, Mobility, Place, Social, Travel, Urbanism

Bill Hillier: Cities are movement economies

  • http://www.spacesyntax.com/

    In the city there are

  • space explorers: children, homeless, vendors, skateboarders,
  • space utilisers: commuters, workers,

    Two ways of looking at the city

  • exocentric: external, connected
  • egocentric: centred, point of view,

    Spatial organisation

  • Large, diverse research field.
  • Abler, Ronald Adams: ‘Spatial organisation: the geographer’s view

of the world’

Relative space

  • Expressing thematic data through spatial differentiation

    Scaling areas according to non-geographic data

  • Political maps based on size of army
  • Map of USA based on Elvis concerts

    Time space

  • Irina Vasiliev: ‘Design issues for mapping time’
  • Time as a way of measuring space (one conclusion: world is

shrinking)

Taxicab geography

  • Grid systems make diagonal movement problematic
  • There is study of movement in grid spaces, showing multiple optimum routes: a big L shape is the same distance as a zig-zag.
  • The grid is no longer in Euclidian space

    Social space

  • Philip Thiel: Spatial annotation methods

    John S. Adams:

  • Human geographer

    mapped human interaction over 1 day

  • vertical axis: time
  • horizontal axis: distance
  • made 3D diagrams of this multi-dimensional space, showing relative
  • distances travelled and communicated with over 1 day.

  • Social network maps

    Mental mapping

  • spatial representations of the brain or memory
  • In some ways the analysis by Lynch and others has failed, because
    they focused on trying to know everything about people’s mental
    maps of the city.

  • Richard Long: walking project

    Imagined cities

  • Norman Klein: History of forgetting
  • Fictional writers form mental models of cities
  • Calvino

    Textmaps

  • Dietmar recreated the shape of LA by phoning people and asking
  • directions

  • PML maps

    Single parameter mapping

  • Boylan height maps: Denis Wood
  • Maps of Halloween lanterns in an area

    Multiple parameter mapping

  • Correlating space
  • Chernoff faces: iconographic representations of faces, with
  • expressions that map to different social conditions

  • Eugene Turner
  • Correlating socio-economic factors is common

    Mapping as a game

  • Raoul Bunschoten

    Narrowed the analysis of space down to very simple
    p rocedures

  • erasure
  • origination
  • transformation
  • migration
  • Mapped results as a synthesis?

    Photographic / media mapping

  • Tokyo Nobody
  • Images with text removed, replaced with a textmap
  • Text / image project… ?
  • Graffiti archaeology project
  • Time lapse as a tool: mapping crowds
  • Threshold linear key as a tool: RCA project…

    Diagrammatic / information mapping

  • Tufte
  • Information diagrams representing time, space, actions, events,

people, cause/effect etc.

Collaborative mapping

  • multiple authorship over shared themes

    Sarah

  • Presented her NY Green space project, in which access to green
    space is correlated with socio-economic factors. Refer to Social
    design notes weblog.

    Some ideas for mapping

  • Children’s tactile book: sandpaper for Asphalt, felt for grass.
  • Litter, sky cover, text, colours, people, edges, boundaries, nodes
  • Use gps and digital camera. Use a compass to always orient the
    camera to North, or relevant reference. Then map the space with
    textures or sky cover (down or up). Could make a great map.

  • A method for collaborative presentation might be to use a projector
    to trace physical space onto a wall or large open space, then to
    layer drawn annotations. A public presentation could be achieved by
    projecting digital data (photos, textures, movement) onto this
    annotated area, for interesting layered correlations.

  • Everyone has their own agenda when approaching a space: personal
    ways of looking, awareness, attractions and unnatractions. Could
    try to map what a space makes you think instantly, from one vantage
    point, or multiple, correlated vantage points.

  • Bluetooth mapping of devices. Our personal ‘Auras’ are becoming
    public and this might be useful for mapping.
    h3. What kind of data can we collect about the city and it’s usage,
    that is really reliable and plentiful? The audioscrobbler mapping
    example shows how really simple data can be mapped into
    extraordinary useful spatial representations, just because it’s
    high quality and plentiful.

  • Geographic data is potentially plentiful, because there is a lot of
  • effort put into mapping space.

  • What other things are mapped with effort, or easily?——-

Outside In

Outside In is a forum for involving new voices, media and practices in a discourse about the use and design of public space. It took place from 14 – 15 June 2004.

Roda Sten is amazing, below a suspension bridge, with huge concrete creations. Really windy, but calm inside the lecture space. Here are my notes and a few pictures.











Day 1

Session 2: Hacking the streets (I missed the 1st workshop)

Space Hijackers

  • Putting memories in spaces: spaces arent the same after having been disrupted. after ‘reclaim the streets’ or a ‘circle line party’ you can’t see the space in the same way.
  • Distinction between public and private. What is it?
  • Public space doesn’t exist anymore.
  • Ken’s new city hall is half private half public (private investment was involved in the building, so protests cannot happen outside)
  • Do we need institutions in order to do events, is that the only way to do it legally?
  • What’s stopping people from doing these things is not necessarily capitalism, but the fear of looking like a pillock: self-regulation is a big factor. Can spark things to let down inhibitions or shackles. Uses example of the scooter, became a kids toy and then it wasn’t cool anymore.
  • What’s the connection between anarchism and these spontaneous events. Emergent order is interesting, so much control over actions, and the ways people move through the city. How does this relate to anarchy? Is this anarchy?

    Zevs

  • The city is a workshop: not just walls to tag
  • Shadows of urban furniture: really good
  • Visual kidknapping: Lavazza woman gets cut out of the frame
  • Big poster with bleeding eyes
  • Uses a high pressure water jet to clean the city, but also write at the same time.
  • Digs at the notion of authorship, a site where people find work on the streets
  • The work is anonymous, but there is the projection of authorial control behind it, its individual and definitely authored
  • Would be interesting to explore more about Graffiti authorship: how do public artists want to be recognised?
  • Managing the mystique around the work and the author.
  • Difference between author/instigator
  • Interview
  • Visual kidknapping

    3D bombing: Akim

  • Polystyrene models, matched to fit specific city spaces
  • City of names: what if the writers are the ones who build the houses?

    Day 2

    Session 3: Network experience

    Jonah Brucker Cohen

  • Wants to deconstruct network context
  • Context: physical and social situation in which computation sits
  • How does the network affect the output and experience
  • Companies are claiming ownership of space because of signal
  • strength: strengthening signals to drown out free competion

  • WiFihog: saps out all wifi bandwidth
  • LAN party versus Flash Mob
  • Simpletext: collaborative sms image searching on large screens
  • re-mapping and changing the context of interfaces: what about
  • shifting consequences: changing the input/output relationship.

  • Simpletext project: assigns an image search to inputted text
  • messages, and displays via jitter/max on a large screen.

  • Steven Levy quote on hackers

    Katherine Moriwaki

  • Altering space by altering the body
  • character of a space
  • remnants of things, people, individuals
  • put magnets on wrists and fingers and bodies to reveal the proximity of electronic devices: unexpected connections to other people and lampposts. Nice.

    Data Climates: Pedro Seplveda Sandoval

  • Living in a scanscape city
  • electronic space, synthetic city
  • Congestion charge as walled city, in electronic space
  • London: highest density of cctv in the world
  • will we decide to travel to areas based on the quality of electronic space
  • A new architectural language for electronic space
  • Houses without windows, just cameras. Can start to control life inside. Can also choose to use the weather channel as windows
  • Pay a fee for personal surveillance: ask them to watch you all the way to the supermarket.
  • The city of Yokohama was brought down by the coming of age party for 40,000 teenagers: the networks were overloaded with messages, because the teenagers didn’t want to talk face to face.
  • Palm trees as cell towers (seen in south africa)
  • Looked at a community in Hackney that were campaigning to not have a cell phone tower.
  • Designed a house for them that would shield them from the signals, but they would have to give up cell phone connectivity. Designed it so that windows would open and close based on calls being made, or would give them 10 minute windows in which to make calls every 2 hours.
  • Digital shelter: stand inside the line

    Round up

  • These presentations all use the strategy of showing ‘hypothetical products’ that are really non-products. They are doing this, rather than providing platforms or design methodologies, or distributing resources and infrastructures for people to design their own systems. I understand the need for designers as visionaries, but this could be made more valuable and useful.
  • specialists in electronic space could be similar to lighting design specialists in the ‘70s. Will grow into a general field of understanding.
  • Platforms and inftrastructure for technology is beyond architects, but understanding of the use and consequences is really important.

    Session 4

    Jocko Weyland

  • Skateboarding as adaptive design: difference between skate parks and the street, skate parks become designed over time to mimic certain aspects of streets, but also according to innate, human skaters needs. A combination of factors go into making a good skateboarding space: free, alcohol, quality, location.

    Swoon

  • New to NY: wanted to work outside gallery space, was inspired by collage of city streets. Not from a graffiti background, being a female, can do certain things outside the norms of graffiti.
  • Changes billboards during the day, looks official.
  • Open democratic visual space
  • a visual direct democracy…
  • Cuba used to have street art as a means of free expression, but outlawed by dictatorship
  • Makes lightboxes with imagined cities, and mounts on the reverse side of construction site walls, with peepholes ‘peer here’
  • Interesting mix of opportunism and ‘designed intervention’
  • Sometimes driven purely by visual interest.

    Michael Rakowitz

  • Mike Davis: Public is phantom
  • Bedouin as a model of sustainable nomadic communities
  • Homeless use waste air from air conditioning (airvac exhaust ports) to stay warm and dry
  • Homeless have receded to the peripheral vision of the public. Want to see and be seen.
  • Seeing is important for living nomadically in the city.
  • Started to map the heat and the power of the exhaust fans in the city. Found a high one at MIT plasma lab.
  • Re-routed smell from from a bakery to an art gallery, to subvert a ‘high art’ re-appropriation of space

    Workshop ‘Loop City’

  • Dietmar Offenhuber & Sara Hodges
  • Showed Rybczynski’s film New Book using 9 frames: a good way of mapping space in the city. Starts off and the viewer is not sure if each frame is occurring synchronously, or in the same space, but a bus passes between all of the frames and the spatial link is made immediately. There is also a point where a plane flies overhead and all the actors look up: showing time synchronicity too.

    Looking at the city

  • as a set of repeated actions
  • as a playground: situationists
  • as a balance of social as well as physical architectures

Mobile social software applications

Jabberwocky / Familiar Strangers

This research project explores our often ignored yet real relationships with Familiar Strangers. We describe several experiments and studies that lead to a design for a personal, body-worn, wireless device that extends the Familiar Stranger relationship while respecting the delicate, yet important, constraints of our feelings and relationships with strangers in pubic places.

Encounter bubbles

A visualization tool based on Mobster that enables users to explore their social encounters in new ways. Designed to be an open framework on which locative (meaning location-based) networking applications can be built.

TraceEncounters

A social network tracking and visualization project. The project distributes a set of small stickpins, each of which uses limited-rage infrared data exchange to remember every other pin that it encounters. When pin wearers come to a central location to view the accreting network, they see a thousand circles on a plasma display panel, each representing a pin.

Fluidtime

The first of these services is aimed at public transport users in Turin. While on the move, travellers can find dynamic information on mobile screen-based devices while at home or at the office, people can find the same information on physical display units. The other service is a personalised and flexible scheduling system to help Interaction-Ivrea students organise shared laundry facilities; mobile and stationary tools give them constant updates about the progress of their laundry cycle.

Mobster

Affords the social creation and excavation of proximity history. At its core is a simple question: Who was near who when? Software on users’ mobile devices (laptops, cell phones, PDAs) monitors the presence of nearby devices (Wi-Fi hotspots, cell towers, Bluetooth devices), from which Mobster infers historical proximity models. We call these sociospatial histories.

WiFi Bedouin

Expanding the possible meaning and metaphors about access, proximity, wireless and WiFi. This access point is not the web without wires. Instead, it is its own web, an apparatus that forces one to reconsider and question notions of virtuality, materiality, displacement, proximity and community.

Tuna

A mobile wireless application that allows users to share their music locally through handheld devices.

Jukola

An interactive MP3 Jukebox device designed to allow a group of people in a public space to democratically choose the music being played. A public display is used to nominate songs which are subsequently voted on by people in the bar using networked wireless handheld devices.

Mamjam

One of the first location-based instant messaging platform for mobile phones. Asks the user to input location, and then creates links to others in the same space. (Case study here)

Dodgeball

Tell us where you are and we’ll tell you who and what is around you. We’ll ping your friends with your whereabouts, let you know when friends-of-friends are within 10 blocks, allow you to broadcast content to anyone within 10 blocks of you or blast messages to your groups of friends.

BEDD

A Bluetooth-enabled mobile social medium that allows people to meet, interact and communicate.

BuzZone

Using Bluetooth-enabled laptops and PDAs to find new contacts, communicate over small distances, and share information related to their business.

TxtMob

A service that lets you quickly and easily share txt messages with friends, comrades, and total strangers. The format is similar to an email b-board system. You can sign up to send and receive messages from various groups, which are organized around a range of different topics.

IcyPole

Uses Bluetooth to detect the proximity of other devices and determine whether there is a match between users entertainment profiles. The application can be used as a platform for personal area network music discovery, file exchange and/or sampling, as well as for social networking based on similar entertainment interests.

Peepsnation

Enables users to connect with others with a similar interest that meet your filter criteria using user-definable groups tied to a specific location.

Proxidating

Using bluetooth technology, ProxiDating allows you to meet people with common interests.

Plazes

Plazes is a web service offering information on people and places based on your location. It enables you to tag your location and announce it to your friends or the world. You can find other Plazes in your vicinity or see where your friends are at the moment. It also allows you to see other people you do not know yet at the same Place.

Plink mobile

A ‘people search engine’ and social networking application. You can search for friends, see who they know and who knows them, find people with shared interests. Can use an SMS interface in the UK.

Saw you

Saw-You allows u 2 chat 2 people who go to the same social venues you do on your mobile phone. U don’t see their number and they don’t see yours.

Mobule serendipity

An application for mobile phones that can instigate interactions between you and people you don’t know. A profile, along with your mobile phone provide a connection a community of people around you.

Who at

Lets you find dates and friends anywhere, anytime. Tell WhoAt where you are and we tell you who’s nearby – all from your mobile phone, PDA, or PC.

Hocman

We have performed an ethnographic study that reveals the importance of social interaction, and especially traffic encounters, for the enjoyment of biking. We summarized these findings into a set of design requirements for a service supporting mobile interaction among motorcyclists.

ImaHima

The Japanese expression for “are you free now?”. A mobile, location-integrated, community and instant messaging service allowing users to share their current personal status (location, activity, mood) publicly and privately with their buddies and send picture and instant messages to them.

Socialight

A location-aware mobile social networking platform that allows people to connect with their friends and friends of friends in new, expressive ways.

Socializer

A distributed, peer-to-peer platform that connects a person to people and services in the same location. An open, extensible platform. New features can be developed and propagated by an open-source community running on wired as well as wireless networks.

Aware

A flexible platform that operates a spatio-temporal moblog (mobile log) allowing collective contribution and distribution of media. Considering scalable systems, comprehensive and inclusive models for participation, the project has focused upon how to communicate context-awareness, mobile experience, and its narrative potential.

Meetup

A technology platform and global network of local venues that helps people self-organize local group gatherings on the same day everywhere.

Modus

Music in a venue should reflect the taste of the people in that space, not the owner of the jukebox or the people working behind the bar. What if a jukebox allowed people to add their own music or could help you remember what was played at a particular time? What if the box was aware of who was in the room and could queue up your favorite songs as you walked through the door?

Traces of fire

Transmitters, embedded in cigarette lighters deliberately lost in carefully chosen pubs, illuminate the social relationships underlying daily habits of travel, entertainment and (nicotine) gifting.

Ashphalt games

An Internet-enhanced street game in which players stage and document small interventions or “stunts” on the street corners of New York in order to claim turf on a virtual map of the city. The game is an experiment in collectively reimagining commonplace views of New York. By providing an online counterpart to the urban environment, it allows players to share their visions of the city with others.

Crowd surfer

Enables a user to surf for other Bluetooth devices and get in contact with them, primarily designed for a campus environment.

Pocket rendezvous

A web server for the Pocket PC that advertises itself to other Pocket PCs in the neighbourhood wirelessly using ad-hoc WiFi networks and Rendezvous.

Meetingpoint

A contact/messaging application using Bluetooth wireless technology. Runs on Smartphones/PDA or PC and helps people to meet in mobile situations.

Activematch

Enables users to find their ‘ideal partner’ on the spot (unity of time and venue). Works in any GPRS network and on all mobile phones with Symbian OS and Nokia’s Series 60 platform.

Urban Plexus

Cell phone software that enables Members to communicate with others, blog, chat in forums, file share, publish events, locate others, buy & sell, geo-tag locations and play games.

nTag (Research)

An event communications system using wearable computers that improve networking among event participants while streamlining event management.

Playtxt

A mobile location based friendship and flirting network. Built with a mobile messaging engine, it offers full web integration and dating, flirting and friends networking capabilities, including six degrees of seperation, all mobile enabled.

Mtone

A social networking multi-user game “Cell Phone” is based on the popular Chinese movie of the same name. This comedy movie was directed by one of China’s best known directors, Feng Xiaogang. Customers play this multi-combining romance and SMS and MMS.

Tagtext

Download pictures, wallpapers, screensavers and avatars to use for Bluejacking.

Bluetooth against Bush

Uses bluetooth enabled devices (mobile phones, PDA’s, laptop computers) to create moments of ad-hoc solidarity for people opposed to George W. Bush.

Wavemarket

A suite that can turn a mobile phone user into an on-location broadcaster. You can add information and commentary about restaurant reviews to safety tips. You can find a buddy, or track a truck, inspect a neighborhood for real estate or child safety. It’s good for both social and business and it puts the power of blogging technology into the hands of the masses.

Spatial annotation projects

Yellow Arrow

Image from Yellow Arrow project.

Murmure

An archival audio project that has collected stories set in specific locations throughout Vancouver’s Chinatown. At each of these locations, a murmur sign marks the availability of a story with a telephone number and location code. By using a mobile phone, people can listen to the story of that place while engaging in the full physical experience of being there. Some stories suggest that the listener walk around, following a certain path through a place, while others allow a person to wander with both their feet and their gaze.

Area Code

Invites you to collect and reflect upon your immediate environment, and enables new forms of engagement and information exchange between person and place. Areacode aims to inspire comments about the affect of urban regeneration in the city.

Yellow Arrow

A physical sticker allows people to mark places of interest, then tell a story about it using a photographic record.

Grafedia

Grafedia is hyperlinked text, written by hand onto physical surfaces and linking to rich media content – images, video, sound files, and so forth. It can be written anywhere – on walls, in the streets, or in bathroom stalls. Grafedia can also be written in letters or postcards, on the body as tattoos, or anywhere you feel like putting it. Viewers “click” on these grafedia hyperlinks with their cell phones by sending a message addressed to the word + ”@grafedia.net” to get the content behind the link.

The Blue Plaque project

Collect all of the plaques in London, and then to put the people and events they commemorate in context – with their time, their contemporaries, and location.

Implementation

Implementation begins as sheets of stickers, with a different text on each sticker. We will distribute these sheets to individuals, both personally and via post. Instructions, asking people to peel the stickers off and place them in an area viewable by the public, will accompany the sheets.

Talking street

Using everyday technologies, like your own cell phone, Talking Street offers new ways to explore a destination. It’s having an ultra-savvy resident show you around—a guide who can reveal what a place is really like, and how it got that way.

The intelligent street

The intelligent street will enhance the experience of users in both locations by creating a gentle sonic playground that reflects the cultures of its users, entertain and act as a talking point. Users will be able to interract by sending SMS messages from their mobile phone. A display in each location and on the web will give optional information about how users are engaging.

Neighbornode

Group message boards on wireless nodes, placed in residential areas and open to the public. These nodes transmit signal for around 300 feet, so everyone within that range has access to the board and can read and post to it.

TAG: Scripting Presence

The inundation of consumer and mass media advertisements has eroded the presence of the individual within the city. In my thesis, I will explore how we can reclaim our physical landscape by reinserting the individual through visual representation into her/his urban environment. My intent is to create a momentary place to communicate messages of self-expression contributing to a network in which the next user can connect and experience.

R-Click

An area-information service from NTT DoCoMo incorporating mobile phones and a “wireless tag” device. A small, handheld RFID device will enable users to receive a wide variety of area information as they walk around the new metropolitan cultural complex of shops, restaurants, entertainment facilities, residences and hotels (Roppongi Hills).

Public Play Spaces

A platform for creative work exploring the playful, emotional and appropriate incorporation of technology into everyday public life. Drawing on our combined background in art, architecture, game and interaction design, the work focuses on developing both innovative design methods and experimental prototypes for social interventions in public space.

Trailblazer

A computer-mediated communication tool for supporting a virtual community. It attempts to integrate aspects of physical activity by community members in the real world into the virtual environment and to provide a structure for discourse around those activities.

34 North 118 West

Lets the user uncover samples of Los Angeles’s hidden history as s/he navigates through the multi-layered depths of downtown’s most poetic and surreal space. The result is a new kind of ‘scripted space’…

InterUrban

A user-driven experience that responds to participant’s amble through the city streets. Factors such as the distance traveled by the listener, time of day and proximity to fictive events, determine how the narrative unfolds.

Hidden natures

Location based narrative. Texts read by actors are the voices of the characters you hear as you walk through a space. A double headed arrow on the screen of your pocket computer (PDA) indicates the narrative direction – the future in one direction and the past another

Greyworld: Telescapes

Visitors discover a soundscape of messages left for them by both the artists and the public via voice and email. This interactive installation calls attention to how advances in cellular and wireless technologies contribute to the ubiquity of personal communications in public spaces, while illuminating the relationship between the built environment and the invisible networks that make these fleeting exchanges possible.

Geoloqus

Geoloq.us is a service that lets users leave behind memories, comments and digital artefacts in a physical location, for others to discover and enjoy. A cameraphone with a web browser is all you need to use geoloq.us; browse pictures from the place youre at, comment a location or a picture and find out whats nearby. Tag your items and surf those tags for similar items from other people in other places.

GeoNotes

Based on positioning technology, allows people to attach virtual notes to real world locations. When other people pass the location, they will be notified about the note and will be able to read it. GeoNotes allows mass-annotations with no or little restrictions on accessing others’ GeoNotes. It is also social in the way it incorporates social filtering techniques to sort out unwanted GeoNotes.

GeoStickies

An interactive public art project that enables us to make and access to collective of personal memory that could have been overlaid on to urban space. The project puts some “tags” of small events onto geographical fields so that the audience can feel correspondence between “Information space” and “Urban space”. The audience will find tiny electronic memorials for tiny events. But those are only visible or able to be experienced through mobile phones.

GeoGraffiti

To demonstrate the concept of waypoint sharing we have been developing a number of waypoint sharing applications. These applications access the waypoint lists for retrieval and storage of waypoint data and other accessory information, such as text, images, audio, video, or links to other information.

Digital Graffiti

The application allows mobile phone owners to send a message, similar to an SMS (Short Message Service), to a geographical point where it appears on the screens of other users passing through the defined location. Unlike an SMS, the message is not sent to a person but rather to a location, and can be received by a number of mobile phone users entering the defined radius.

Ambient Wood

An outdoor playful learning experience. Pervasive technologies are used to digitally augment a woodland in a contextually relevant way, enhancing the usual physical experience available to children exploring the outdoor world. Studies show this to be a highly engaging novel experience for learners, that effectively supports collaborative learning, as well as providing preliminary guidelines for designing different ways of delivering digital information for learning.

Thingster

Lets you publish information about places. You can use thingster to discover things in your own neighborhood that might be interesting to you – and you can use thingster to publish information about things that you find interesting. Thingster also provides signalling and discovery services for discovering other nearby folks with interests similar to your own.

World-Wide Media eXchange

The project explores possibilities with digital photographs and geographic location. The location where a photo was taken provides clues about its semantic context and offers an intuitive way to index it, even in a very large collection. The combination is powerful, but still not supported well by either the photo-software or camera-hardware industries.

Mobile Media Metadata

Leverages the spatio-temporal context and social community of media capture to infer media content.

Altavistas

An experimental project to explore how physical and electronic spaces can be designed in conjunction with each other to provide new kinds of experience in the city.

mStory

A mobile mapping and recording system built for the PocketPC platform. It integrates GPS tracking technology with a set of diary-like recording features. mStory assign a variety of attributes to recorded locations, including photos, audio recordings, narrative descriptions and icons.

Katumuisti tositarinoita Helsingista [Street memories]

Personal local stories for public listening using mobile phones & billboard notices.

Interactive portrait of the Liberties

An interactive digital narrative application providing multimedia content to individuals and to groups, which is relevant to them at a particular point in time and space.

Section

A database video project, currently under development, that examines the embedded syntax of our routes through the city and challenges the mediated experiences of the urban environment through methods of collecting, editing and compositing video.

TRACE

A memorial environmental sound installation that is site-specific to the network of hiking trails near the Burgess Shale fossil beds in Yoho National Park, British Columbia.

Map Hub

MapHub is a web-based, multi-user, group managed information storage system and map. Collecting information about people, places, events, and notes, can help to document unseen narratives and histories in public or private theme-based Hubs.

Community Mapbuilder

Offers a range of resources to help organizations get started with standards-based online mapping. The main initial focus is creating an open source framework to allow communities to jointly build geographic databases and share them over the web.

Annotated multimedia Google map

This how-to will show you how to make your own annotated Google map from your own GPS data. Plus, youll be able to tie in images and video to create an interactive multimedia map.

City of memory

A narrative map of New York City that allows visitors to create a collective memory by submitting stories. Visitors link stories together by theme, creating new “neighborhoods” of narrative that can be explored by others. Stories can be recommended, giving new visitors a sense of the narrative created by the populace.

TeleTaxi

A site-specific media art exhibition in a taxicab. The taxi is outfitted with an interactive touch screen that displays video, animations, music, and information triggered by an onboard GPS receiver which allows the displayed artwork to change depending on where the taxi is in the city.

New York Songlines

By relying on maps, signs and Manhattan’s perpendicular geography, New Yorkers have given up something important: a sense of place. If you can get from your starting place to your destination without knowing anything about the points in between, chances are you won’t pay much attention to them.

Touch Tone Tours

Delivers tour guides of popular landmarks, museums, attractions and the unusual to wireless devices. More info.

Soundwalk

Sound recordings as guides to specific locations. Available as audio for sale or as downloaded format from Audible or iTunes.

Tag

A street activity proposed for the site of Times Square, NYC. Employing mobile phone text messaging, it focuses on increasing personal contribution and interaction to the experience of this public space. Individuals will participate with one another as they tag designated areas or nodes?? by displaying their inscription.

Mogi

A collecting game ‘item hunt’. The game provides a data-layer over the city of Tokyo. As you move through the city, if you check a map on your mobile phone screen, you’ll see nearby items you can pick up and nearby players you can meet or trade with.

ASAP: another spatial annotation project

Allows you to visualize your location on a map, use a GPS unit (I use a GPS-based GPS device) to mark your coordinates (or just navigate the map to find your location – especially useful in cavernous cities like Manhattan), annotate that location by titling it and giving it a description, optionally adding an icon or snapping a digital picture with the attached camera.

Urban Tapestries

A research project exploring social and cultural uses of the convergence of place and mobile technologies.

HyConExplorer

HyCon is a framework and infrastructure for context aware hypermedia systems developed primarily by the hypermedia group at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. The HyCon framework encompasses annotations, links, and guided tours associating locations and RFID- or Bluetooth-tagged objects with maps, Web pages, and collections of resources. The HyCon architecture extends upon earlier location based hypermedia systems by supporting authoring in the field and by providing access to browsing and searching information through a novel geo-based search (GBS) interface for the Web.

Herecast

Provides location-based services on a WiFi device. At its simplest level, it can tell you where you are. More advanced services can use your location to enhance information lookups, publish presence information and create games.

Texting Glances

This ambient “waiting” game establishes a symbiotic relationship between a transient audience, a waiting place, and a story engine that matches SMS inputs to image output. By incorporating culturally current messaging norms, the audience becomes an active collaborating author in a layered exploration of social familiarity and public space.

Public alley 818

Creating and performing artworks in a public alley in Boston, MA, with work selected by participants in the space and online.

One block radius

Psychogeographic survey of one block in New York, building a multi-layered portrait of a particular part of the city.

Annotate space

A project to develop experiential forms of journalism and nonfiction storytelling for use at specific locations. Stories are presented through text, images and audio files that participants can download from the Web to their handheld computers and take with them to the place of interest.

Annotated Earth

The goal of AnnotatedEarth is to create a user-driven community of quality location and spatial information, a infrastructure for accessing that information, and software that uses that information to provide location-aware information.

Embedded Theatre

A system for creating immersive narrative experiences where location is an actor. It is the result of an intensive research and design project addressing how interactive narrative can be successfully realized through mobile technology.

Tag and Scan

London-based locational application and service for mobile telephones. The technology allows users to “tag” a physical locations, placing them into meaningful context. Tags can be private or public. Other TagandScan users can scan their environment for public tags left by others. TagandScan essentially enables the community to annotate its physical features.

Spotcode

Each Spot is a circular symbol that holds data like a two dimensional bar code. Users of the latest camera phones point their phone at the Bango Spot circular symbol, click and the mobile site opens on their phone in a matter of seconds.

PDPal

A mapping application that transforms everyday activities and urban experiences into a dynamic city that you write. Engages the user through a visual transformation that is meant to highlight the way technologies that locate and orient are often static and without reference to the lively nature of urban cultural environments.

AmbieSense

Context-sensitive technology based on the use of context tags. These small electronic tags are a means of capturing and communicating information about the surroundings.

Hypertag

A commercial service allowing access to info and content on a mobile phone directly from objects like adverts and signs. It works by allowing infra-red mobile phones, and PDAs (e.g. Palm Pilots or Pocket PCs) to interact with a small electronic tag which is attached to the advert or sign.

Pathalog

Exploring the ability of a path-based publishing system, based upon GPS tracking technologies, to foster new relationships between communities of users and their environments.

Waveblog / Wavemarket

Three commercial platforms for location based services. You can add information and commentary about restaurant reviews to safety tips. Waveblog lets users upload blog-like information with geographic metadata.

Rabble

Rabble enables a new kind of self-expression that informs, entertains and connects people through the media they create. Create your channel and post location-based media – your favorite places, photos or an up-to-the-minute newsworthy event. It’s like putting virtual sticky notes on the world around you.

Earthcomber

Lets you connect with customers in a timely, efficient and positive way. By providing a direct match between a user’s favorite and something you offer, Earthcomber brings you to the customer’s attention. In multiple information screens, they can see what you offer and where you are on the map.

Timespots

Offers ‘location-based services’ on mobile devices (PocketPC/phones) enabling new uses of traditional travel and tourism services. We overcome current limitations (in reach of and access to information and services) by combining information and navigation services with communication services on one device.

Websigns

HP research labs. Using a handheld computer, cellular phone or other device, users can get information on the Web related to physical structures and objects in the immediate vicinity.

Microsoft Aura

The Advanced User Resource Annotation system (A.U.R.A.) is designed to provide the ability to access and author annotations on objects and places using machine readable tags. In our system, a user can associate text, threaded conversations, audio, images, video or other data with specific tags. Users can also review the tags and descriptions of the objects they have encountered and annotated in a custom web portal.

Active Campus

Community-oriented ubiquitous computing, exploring the problem and opportunity of sustaining community through mobile wireless technology. The two principal applications in operation are: ActiveCampus Explorer, which uses students’ locations to help engage them in campus life; and ActiveClass, a client-server application for enhancing participation in the classroom setting via small mobile wireless devices.

Mobile Augmented Reality Systems

Exploring the synergy of two promising fields of user interface research: Augmented reality, in which 3D displays are used to overlay a synthesized world on top of the real world, and mobile computing, in which increasingly small and inexpensive computing devices, linked by wireless networks, allow us to to use computing facilities while roaming the real world.

Living Memory LiMe

A network of augmented places within the local community which support the creation and meaningful distribution of informal content within that community. LiMe provides low-threshold interfaces in natural meeting and crossing points within that community, such as cafs and bus stops.

Location linked information

LLI is similar to augmented reality systems which overlay digital information on top of the physical world. Whereas augmented reality systems typically concentrate on solving the user interface problem, LLI attempts to solve the data access and search infrastructure issues. In LLI users navigate the physical world with a variety of XML-speaking devices, discovering and leaving “handles” to information nuggets.

MUD London

A kind of collaborative mapping project. it consists of geographical models which are represented as RDF graphs. you can wander round them, like a MUD or MOO, with a bot interface which you can use to create and connect new places.

Psychogeographical Markup Language

A protocol that can be used to capture meaningful psychogeographical [meta]data about urban space. PML is a unified system of classification that lurks behind the psychogeogram: the diagrammatic representation of psychogeographically experienced space.

Spatial Annotation with Locative Packets

An attempt to fuse powerful concepts of existential declaration (I am here experiencing this!) with networked social communication media. By mixing together a set of terms about space, time, description, social relationship, and media, the locative packet project has described a unique ether over which one form of collaborative map can travel.

Wooster Collective

Huge archive of street artists work, techniques, interviews, and guides.

Here I am only including projects that mark space, not mobile social software or dynamic gaming, smart-mobs, friend-finders or GPS drawing projects, although I have included a couple of spatial platforms, that aim to standardise the way we mark-up space.

Public markup

I have made a selection of research images over at Flickr, and more of the text and research will be online soon.

Creative Crossings workshop

Some of our ambitions were:

  • Investigate transformative use of space and place
  • Address gaps in infrastructure: access to standards, material frameworks and technology
  • Instigate a triangular network: tried and trusted network practice
  • Pursue research and practice, less engineering
  • Explore relationships between media, gaming, locative, mobile, visual media

    Anne Galloway has posted our collaborative summaries from the workshop and my full notes are here, until they can be put on the collective server.

    The discussion is continuing, and the next informal meeting of participants is happening at ISEA 2004.

    Some pictures
    Creative Crossings workshop: Graham Harwood and Michelle Kasprzak
    Creative Crossings workshop: Jo Walsh and Gabe Sawhney
    Creative Crossings workshop: Rachel Baker and Tapio Makela on the 19 bus
    Creative Crossings workshop: Tapio Makela on the 19 bus
    Creative Crossings workshop: Finnish Ambassador's residence, Battersea
    Creative Crossings workshop: Finnish Ambassador's residence, Battersea
    Creative Crossings workshop: Finnish Ambassador's residence, Battersea
    Creative Crossings workshop: Finnish Ambassador's residence, Battersea
    Creative Crossings workshop: Finnish Ambassador's residence, Battersea

Urban GPS experience

It’s possible to use the GPS Map 60c in an old Marimekko bag in a mobile phone pocket just small enough that the aerial sticks out. In this way it can be placed in windows of buses or cars without it sliding around, and I can walk around without looking like a geek or getting mugged.

Rendered trail of three months walking in Oslo

Problems

In short, GPS doesn’t work well in dense urban environments like most European cities. This is from the perspective of a pedestrian confined to the pavements (sidewalks) and public transport. From a few experiences whilst being driven around, it seems to work well in a car, probably because of the clear sky area available in the middle of the road. Inclement weather and green trees also seem to be problematic.

In these last few months, attempting to record a good quality database of tracks to geo-locate my photographs, I must have looked really odd. Face in device, stopping on street corners, stopping in the middle of street crossings and scrambling to grab the front seat of the bus. Discovering that GPS doesn’t just passively work is a great disappointment and my dataset is clouded with gaps and anomalies.

Some other observations

  • Fast turns when using public transport or car result in wild deviations: re-aquiring satellites is the problem
  • Need a road that aligns with at least 4 satellites to get an acceptable track, anything else and the errors can accumulate
  • Glass buildings can result in ‘reflections’ of position, eg jumping to other locations due to reflected signals
  • I sit on the outside or front of buses: to get a wider expanse of sky area: I am constantly aware of sky cover
  • The relative position of satellites is beginning to have an effect on the side of the street that I walk on
  • Walking in the middle of the street: had a couple of near misses with cars – the moving map is just too engaging
  • I would like an explanation of the lost track calculations: this device seems to use the last-known bearing and velocity to guess new tracks when the signal fails. This is very unreliable and problematic as it fills the map with phantom trails
  • The track can be more useful over time than the (base) map: it shows my personal space and personal routes, I know where I have been and can use it to retrace routes or places. Popular routes build up in blackness and thickness. Home area becomes an abstract scatter plot of routes, but it’s very familiar
  • Stored waypoints are really useful for getting large, general bearings on location: zooming out and seeing a relationship to two known landmarks can be really useful in an unknown area

    Rendered trail of two weeks walking and public transport in London

    GPS receiver resting on the top deck of the number 4 bus, London

    GPS receiver in the window of a train, Oslo

Travelogue

Posted on Mar 25, 2004 in Art, Mapping, Media, Narrative, Photography, Place, Travel, Urbanism

Architecture theory books

Posted on Feb 3, 2004 in Architecture, Place, Reading, Research, Urbanism

City of Collective Memory

M. Christine Boyer.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Breathing Cities: Visualizing Urban Movement

Nick Barley.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Metapolis Dictionary of Advanced Architecture

Manuel Gausa.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Rebuilding the Reichstag

Norman Foster.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Towards a New Architecture

Le Corbusier.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Architecture and Disjunction

Bernard Tschumi.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Manhattan Transcripts

Bernard Tschumi.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

The Logic of Architecture

William J. Mitchell.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Mobile: The Art of Portable Architecture

Jennifer Siegal ed.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

City of Bits

William J. Mitchell.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

E-topia

William J. Mitchell.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Strangely Familiar

Iain Borden, Joe Kerr, Alicia Pivaro, Jane Rendell.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Invisible Cities

Italo Calvino.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

The Poetics of Space

Gaston Bachelard, Etienne Gilson, John Stilgoe.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

De Stijl

Paul Overy.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Fragments of Utopia

David Wild.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Architects in Cyberspace

Neil Spiller, Martin Pearce.
amazon.co.uk / amazon.com

Mobile interaction design case study

Pollen Mobile develops location-based services for the consumer and business markets. Mamjam is their first product: a location based, social entertainment service based on Short Messaging Service (SMS) messages. It enables people in the same venue to chat with each other by sending text messages from their mobile phones. Mamjam interface: user match screen 1 Mamjam interface: user match screen 2

Brief

Pollen approached us with a very broad intention to use SMS to drive social interaction and entertainment in new ways.

We initially developed three quirky ideas based on playground games, internet chat, and community storytelling that we presented as the basis for discovering business goals and user-needs.

After our initial brainstorm, we initiated a more rigorous user-centred, interaction design process that is detailed in this case-study.

Handsets & Networks

We found several pivotal issues we needed to resolve: SMS has extremely limited functions; with few opportunities to create rich, engaging, extended interactions.

Handsets

Mobile phone handsets provide no navigation between multiple messages, no indication of user status or location, and have no practical means of viewing session history. Users are accustomed to using SMS for quick functional communication, and extended contact with friends. They certainly do not rely on messages for any kind of complex interaction.

Every transaction between user and server on a mobile phone is a sessionless operation. Each message contains only the time it was sent, the number it was sent from and the content of the message [1].

Unlike http systems, the server cannot rely on location and session information being stored in the message address. This is complex from a user experience perspective because people are used to responses exhibited by systems that do carry session information and behave quite differently [2].

Networks

SMS messages are managed by the networks with cells, each cell carries messages particular to that region. Cells are notoriously unreliable, and we found that it was common for messages to hang in the system for over ten minutes. This presented some serious problems. Satisfying communications rely on a high level of continuity, and the timing between messages is a critical indicator of the emotional state of your chatting partner.

Mamjam’s service is location based: users are in contact with other users in the same area. However the existing (second generation) handsets cannot determine location, and although locations are triangulated by the network, this information is not publicly available. The location thus had to be manually provided by the user; in a way that then could be usefully interpreted by the server.

Researching and developing a reliable language for users to identify their location became central to the interaction design problem.

Many competing SMS services are currently internet-based: requiring a signup for services from a web site, rather than directly from handsets.

Modes

A system like this could conceivably be built without the use of modes [3]. From the users perspective a modeless system could be overly complex and exhausting: every message must somehow include exact commands and instructions for the server. But a modeless system is very attractive from a technical perspective: the server is more likely to correctly interpret instructions.

Process

Requirements

We consulted with Pollen and selected SMS users to draw up several personas and scenarios. This included contextual enquiry, business goals and user-requirements gathering. We identified the following requirements:

  • Users must be able to join the service immediately, not just from a website prior to use.
  • The service should accommodate both new and returning users.
  • Users are likely to be exposed to the service through all sorts of channels, and therefore signing up should accommodate all points of entry.
  • The structure should be designed to accommodate expansion of the service.
  • The basic structure of the handshake should carry to other SMS systems Pollen may choose to develop.

    First Iteration

    The initial interaction architecture outlines our first intentions for the system. (For legal reasons we can’t include the full size diagram.)

    mamjam interaction design version 1

    The system works in a similar way to internet based chat rooms, connecting users who are ‘online’ at the same time, with the extra dimension that they are in the same physical place. Mamjam supports private, one-to-one communications only: users can’t shout to groups or broadcast messages. Once a user has found a chatting partner the system simply directs the text traffic between them until one party decides to pursue some one else, or signs off.

    This structure required users to enter a lot of information about themselves before they could initiate contact with one another. We felt this was valuable in order to reduce the interaction load while chatting. This also resulted from a (perhaps misguided) adherence to the ‘internet chat room’ model.

    This system was implemented on Pollen’s test servers, and we organised user-testing sessions. This revealed several problems:

    The sign up process was off putting. Users motivation for this product is for entertainment and social contact: they weren’t happy to tolerate a lengthy sign-up process. This architecture required four messages for a new user to sign up. In some cases the user would be spending the equivalent of a 10 minute voice-call before they had connected with someone to chat. It was clear that the service needed to offer a quick method of signing up, perhaps at the expense of more advanced features.

    In trying to optimise the system for both new and advanced users; signing up for the first time required a different interaction process from signing up for a second time. There were also several different methods of identifying your location to anticipate every possible user-interaction. There were thus four or five possible entry points into the system. This caused more modal problems than anybody anticipated; the SMS server had to process language and match patterns in an almost infinite realm of possibilities.

    Second Iteration

    It became clear that the three biggest problems for the social interaction process were:

  • Aligning the systems perception of user-context with actual user-context.
  • Ensuring users have an accurate perception of the system state.
  • Maintaining a rich connection between users, allowing them to interpret and react to one another accurately.

    This discrepancy between user perception and system perception can be referred to as ‘slippage’. Slippage is most problematic during the initial handshake when the user is most insecure about their request and about the system itself.

    Text messages to and from SMS servers rarely arrive as punctually as they seem to in normal use. This meant it was possible for one of two users, both having agreed to start chatting, to reject the other on the basis that they had failed to reply to their confirmation. In fact the rejected user had replied with confirmation, but their message had been delayed. The message would then arrive with the first user who had since moved to a new part of the interaction process. Their reply could potentially interrupt another process or get lost in the system, confusing and infuriating both users. Serious slippage!

    We also found, as predicted, that users did not read back through their old messages. Some phones have a very limited capacity for storing messages and no phone facilitates simple navigation of previous messages, so the current message was the only one through which we could usefully rely upon for users to react to.

    mamjam interaction design version 2

    The second interaction architecture was developed with the problems described above in mind. Some changes have been made to the system since, mostly around modal issues, and the commands through which users communicate with the server. Although there are still issues regarding slippage, the second iteration makes this much less of a problem. The system is basically modeless, except for the first transaction. All users (new and existing) enter the system in the same way, new users are chatting within two messages, and existing users are potentially chatting after their first message.

    For an overview of the commands and interactions possible with the system look at the Mamjam How To and Advanced Features.

    In Use

    Mamjam is now fully operational, spinning off other services based on the basic interaction architectures we designed for the initial chat service.

    Extended Services

    In a recent, typical promotion, at the Mood Bar in Carlisle, Mamjam sent a message to people who had Mamjamed there, offering them a discounted drink if they showed their mobile at the bar. The conversion rate from message sent to offer redeemed was 30%.

    Building relationships, Community and Storytelling

    Having heard that a large number of people were texting their ex-partners late at night; under the influence, Mamjam sent a message asking for their own dating disasters. 13% of people responded with their own story by SMS; 50% of those responding within the first hour.

    These users were not given incentives like promotional offers, the call to action was not a simple generic mechanic like reply YES or NO; it was much more involved. Users were required to read and understand the message received, then conceive and craft a response to fit into 160 characters. Yet the response was high and the quality of response excellent.

    Stimulating usage

    By reminding BT users of a free messaging offer, the objectives are to stimulate Mamjaming outside of the locations in which they first Mamjamed.

    Message: Spice up your text life for FREE! Mamjam is still FREE to receive for BT users. To chat now just reply with mamjam and your location eg MAMJAM LONDON.

    7% of the database of BT users read the message, and then decided to log on to Mamjam. Between them on that day they sent 3,400 chat messages.

    Some usage statistics

  • First time Mamjam users begin chatting by sending only 2 SMS messages.
  • Users are matched with someone within 120 seconds of logging onto the service for the first time.
  • The average Mamjam user sends and receives 24 SMS messages per session.
  • The top 10% of users send 60 SMS per month and generate an additional 72 outbound messages. Generating an additional 18 for the network operators.
  • The top 50% of users send 20 SMS per month and generate an additional 24 outbound messages, generating 6.30 of revenue for the network operator.
  • Repeat usage: 30% of daily users are repeat users.

    Conclusions

    We think that the best solution to this particular service has been found, given the limitations detailed above.

    There are obvious and not-so-obvious limitations to SMS communications. The most notable limitations are the handsets continuing to rely on short messaging rather than a more advanced chat service, and the network operators inability to develop services and platforms outside of their own internal structures.

    This research and product development has generated a lot of further ideas for asynchronous communication structures, and communication solutions for packet switched networks for mobile devices.

    Footnotes

    [1] Some phones support greater functionality than others, Mamjam needed to support a broad demographic so only the most bottom-line functionality was available to us.

    When sending a message from a server it can be set to “Flash” mode, causing the message to open in the users phone immediately. Some cells also support a “broadcast to cell” function, whereby a single message can be sent to all phones within that cell. This function is expensive and only available to phones on a given network. back

    [2] Information transferred with HTTP is also sessionless, but browsers and servers are afforded with functionality to help them overcome modal issues, like cookies, history bars and links for example. There are other interface restrictions to consider regarding the manipulation of text like the absence of cutting and pasting for example. back

    [3] The most comprehensive discussion of modes I have come across is in The Humane Interface by Jef Raskin , pp37. back

    References and Links

    At the time of writing the Mamjam numbers are 82888 (BT/Vodafone) or 07970 158 158 (all other networks). Just send any text message to sign up and test it for yourself.

  • Mamjam website
  • Pollen Mobile
  • Mamjam reviewed at The Guardian
  • Jef Raskin ,”Modes 3-2” The Humane Interface , 2000, pp37.

    Professional Credits

    Interaction design

    Jack Schulze Adi Nachman Timo Arnall

    Technical Architecture

    John Gillespie

    Information Design

    Jack Schulze