Design Principles for Mobile Soundwalk Applications

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
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In this contemporary world of advanced technologies and rapid development, where we are overloaded with information, we tend to spend too much time dealing with our digital devices to listen, read or watch different sets of content. We tend to be consumers and/or observers rather than contributors and/or creators of content which as a result we spend less time experiencing the environment which we walk through daily. This thesis investigates to find design solution to improve the engaging interaction experience of users with mobile soundwalk applications. The idea behind this is to add a layer of awareness to the society, and also to enable people to practice listening more often and a bit closer rather than just walking through a space and focusing on their digital devices. Also, to take advantage of smartphones as a tool to help people record their soundwalk experiences to enable more people to create rather than just consume content. This thesis is based on a research process with the main focus on executing a set of design principles within a participatory design approach, and qualitative research. According to the analysis and findings from (1) Metrobeat (personal project) (2) Interviews with David (Foundsounds), Joshua (Echoes), and Asmund (Podwalk and Recho) (3) Task scenario exercise survey results (4) Paper-prototype user test results, (5) Creative workshop outcomes, (6) Analysis of my 2 week user test, and (7) Creative workshop user test results, it was concluded that the existing applications do not provide an engaging user experience. In addition, key findings were used to outline the design principles for improving the design for mobile soundwalk applications. I believe this thesis helps designers deliver a more delightful user experience. In order to do that, I realised that designing elements for user interaction with digital products is needed. Thus, this thesis has delivered these key elements to help create a great mobile user experience. Nevertheless, I believe mobile user experience is still an ongoing field where improvements are to foster and emerge.
Vuori, Rasmus
Thesis advisor
Tahiroglu, Koray
locative media, soundscape & soundwalk, interaction design, user experience design, participatory design, new media