Week3-Observation(LinkNYC Kiosk)


Pick a piece of interactive technology in public, used by multiple people. Write down your assumptions as to how it’s used, and describe the context in which it’s being used. Watch people use it, preferably without them knowing they’re being observed. Take notes on how they use it, what they do differently, what appear to be the difficulties, what appear to be the easiest parts. Record what takes the longest, what takes the least amount of time, and how long the whole transaction takes. Consider how the readings from Norman and Crawford reflect on what you see.

I assume every NewYorkers might’ve seen Link NYC’s kiosks. Recently, they have installed a lot of them and provided to the public with various services. It includes free wifi, phone calls within US area, charging station, touch screen tablet for city maps and services, and emergency call.
Even though it’s been more than 3 years living in NYC, It is somewhat surprising to me that not all NewYorkCity has an access to the wifi(Especially in a subway). Comparing to the NYC, my hometown Korea has a better wifi connection in almost every places. So when my phone lose its connection in some places in NewYork, it stresses me out. Many people might have thought the same way and from that problem, this kind of device have been developed.  

How it works
It is similar to the phone. The system itself integrates Android tablets. You go to the kiosk on the sidewalk. First, you tap the button shown on a screen that says “tab to begin”, which I think is pretty straight forward. If you want to access the wifi, you go into the settings on your phone and select “link NYC free wifi”. Then you just need to enter your email address. 
It is hard to find out whether people are actually using their free wifi a lot since they are doing it with their personal cell phones. So I might have to talk more about the functions that people can use with the kiosk itself. Although they seem to have different functions, I guess what people really do in front of the kiosk is mainly charging their phones. But even though it says you can charge your phone, I’ve never used it before since it needed the USB cable anyway. Also, most importantly, people have to stay there until you charge your battery, which isn’t a nice thing to do especially at night. 

Nonetheless, I think it has a very easy interface that people can use. Similar to the iPad layout, app icons are at the bottom of the screen and people can choose what they want. When you select google map, the keypad shows up so that you can enter the destination. If you want to make a phone call, you can either type on a screen or use an actual keypad on the right. The usage of global icons for explaining the functions(Audio, USB) also helps user easy to understand how it works. People just need to plug in their USB and connect it to their phone.

The Graham’s reading allowed me to reconsider all different possible users. I found out that the Link kiosk had the web browsing function, which got eliminated now because of some reports that many homeless people used it inappropriately. (Link for reports)

There are always variables when you design something. That's why designers always need to user test their designs as much as possible before they go into the real world. Also, it was not approachable for disabilities, especially for blinds. Although we might have thought that screen-based device is the solution for future devices, it still does rely hardly on our visual sights. This reliance blocks the opportunity for some disabilities since they cannot feel the sense through the flat screen. Even though there is an actual keypad on the right, you still need to see the map through the screen when finding the place. As I mentioned in the 1 week's reading, the future of interaction design should not only rely on one sense. We should rather fully understand the human capabilities, which will lead us to use our devices more efficiently.