Does Digital Data Consumption Resembles The Act of Consuming Food?
During the recently concluded Market Research in the Mobile World Europe 2013 event in London, Fabian Hemmert, a researcher from the Design Research Lab, delivered a presentation tackling the various opportunities in the field of mobile research.
According to Hemmert, the ubiquity of mobile and digital communications can be leveraged if done thoughtfully, an argument that has already been broached by many market researchers who use mobile tools and methodologies. He also said that data mining can be leveraged if the researcher focuses on the consumer data appropriate for the study being conducted.
In his talk, Hemmert touched on numerous controversial aspects of the human-technology relationship–and some of those aspects had eerie implications. He described and showed prototypes of devices built in cooperation with Telekom Innovation Labs. The futuristic prototypes explored, among other things, how mobile devices can be made to enhance and limit the range of human experiences.
Hemmert discussed the potential of understanding mobile through the sensory qualities it imparts to the user. For instance, the ease by which a touchscreen interface lends itself to scrolling and the heft of a mobile device when held by a user can both impact how mobile is experienced as a wholly physical implement. Market researchers can take that into consideration when designing their methodologies.
The weight-shifting mobile, one of the prototypes unveiled by Hemmert, is a mobile phone with a varying center of gravity. It can be heavy on one side and lightweight in another, guiding the mobile user to navigate a location by shifting its weight around. Since resistance can also figure greatly when it comes to how users experience their mobile devices, Hemmert then described a device that operates and enables control via frictional resistance against the touch of the user, like a pen that can be stopped by applying pressure.
The most interesting part of the presentation was when Hemmert talked about how readily digital data consumption resembles the act of consuming food. The analogy seems amusing at first, but it does encapsulate the dark side of the digital age. He likened the present to the “fast food age,” a fitting name for a generation bombarded by a plethora of both useful and irrelevant online information. The main challenge had now something to do with practicing selectivity to weed out the relevant from the irrelevant information, according to Hemmert. And the most important resource, which used to be time, was now replaced by attention.
The major points of the presentation were communicated in a metaphorical level–which was sufficient as the talk successfully raised a lot of questions, as well as bigger possibilities. Market research can, indeed, move forward or be hampered by mobile technology.
You can view the full video of Fabian’s presentation below: