Mobile contacts study

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Personal study during a mobile strategy project at Telefónica
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Senior UX consultant
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High-Level multi-device strategy

Humans manage 150 contacts

contacts studies

Every child knows this intuitively. Only when it has people that make it feel sheltered and secure, when it senses that it belongs, only then can it evolve into a full person, can it develop self esteem and a sense of morals, of justice, needed to interact with a world full of strangers and acquaintances.

Once we reach puberty, we’ve already sorted our contacts into 5 essential groups, each giving us diverging degrees of intimacy, trust and exposure. In digital contact management, we don’t have the functional granularity yet to reconstruct this elaborate contact layer model. People we hardly know become our friends, we allow people we’ve never met to judge our credibility. Everyone in a group of friends gets to see the pictures of me drunk.

Toaday’s contact management allows us to from groups (Identity management), but we can’t efficiently finetune the level of intimacy within the group (Privacy management). All future contact management apps must face this challenge.

privacy and identity

Mobile contact study

Mobile contacts management

Real-world human contact management has 5 levels, and in each we use different senses and apply different forms of communication to satisfy a different set of needs. The chart shows these 5 levels and which types of communication channels and media access functionalities a contact app must provide in each.

Background research

[1] Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Abraham Harold Maslow (April 1, 1908 – June 8, 1970), professor of psychology at Brandeis University, founded humanistic psychology and created Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
[2] Dunbar’s Number, the size of the human brain’s neocortex can only comprehend social circles of 150 before cohesion gives out.
[3] Allen Curve, rather than finding that the probability of telephone communication increases with distances, as face-to-face probability decays, our data show a decay in the use of all communication media with distance (following a near field rise. We do not keep separate sets of people, some of which we communicate in one medium and some by another. The more often we see someone face-to-face, the more likely it is that we will telephone the person or communicate in some other medium.
[4] Altman’s Privacy Regulation Theory, privacy is a selective control of access to the self or to one’s group.
[6] FLow is the mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. Proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmi- hályi, the positive psychology concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields. =vector
[7] Portfolio_GASSET.pptx, Portfolio de productos GASSET, “Profundizando en el conocimiento del cliente”, Septiembre 2010, Telefónica I+D
[8] Aristotle hierarchy of the senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch. Later philosophers have privileged the “distance” senses such as sight and hearing over the “bodily” sense of taste due to notions that distance from the object perceived yields objectivity (which in turn might lead to knowledge)
[9] Stefana Broadbent, anthropologist who leads the User Adoption Lab at Swisscom, Switzerland’s largest telecoms operator, has been looking at usage patterns associated with different communications technologies. She and her team based their research on observation, interviews, surveys of users’ homes and asking people to keep logbooks of their communications usage in several European countries., how_the_internet_enables_intimacy.html

[ 19/08/2016 09:42 pm ]

I find your approach very smart and consistent. furthermore some of your work is outstanding. refreshing to find real talent from time to time.
keep it together.