User Experience of Camera Phones in Social Contexts

User Experience of Camera Phones in Social Contexts

Hanna Stelmaszewska (Middlesex University, UK), Bob Fields (Middlesex University, UK) and Ann Blandford (University College London, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-871-0.ch004


This chapter reports on a qualitative study into people’s use of camera phones for social interaction in co-present settings. The study examined people’s behaviour and positive experiences (e.g., fun, enjoyment, or excitement) when camera phones were used in different spaces (public and private). It was found that camera phones influence social practices. Three distinct practices were observed: sharing a moment now, sharing a moment later, and using photos to initiate social interaction with strangers. The knowledge obtained through the study will offer a conceptual contribution that deepens our understanding of how this emerging and evolving technology is coming to be accommodated into the leisure-related practices of its users.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Co-Present Interaction: Interaction that happens between two or more people that are physically present at the same time and location.

Social Interaction: Interaction that happens between individuals typically mediated by, or in the presence of technological artifacts.

Triangulation: The application and combination of at least two research methods or data gathering exercises to research the same phenomena in order to cross-checking one result against another, and increasing the reliability of the results.

Bluetooth: A wireless protocol that is used to connect compliant devices that are in close proximity with each other in order to transfer information between them. Bluetooth is commonly used with phones, hand-held computing devices, laptops, PCs, printers, digital cameras.

Qualitative Data Analysis: A collection of methods for analyzing qualitative data, such as interviews or field notes. One example of such method is Grounded Theory, which is used to generate theory through the data gathering and analysis. Data is sorted to produce categories and themes of concepts emerging from the data.

Digital Photo Sharing: An activity of two or more people, who share images by showing pictures to others. Sharing digital photos can occur at the co-present location or remotely. The former happens using different devices like camera phone screen, digital cameras, TV screen, or computer screen. The latter is often done via email or by posting them on the web.

Theoretical Sampling: The process of data collection for generating theory where the researcher collects, codes and analyses data and makes decisions about what data to collect next. Researchers consciously select additional cases to be studied according to the potential for developing new insights or expanding and refining those already gained. Sampling decisions depend on analysis of data obtained, which relate to the developing theory.

User Experience: A term that is used to describe the overall experience and satisfaction of a user while using a product or system.

Field Observation Studies: A qualitative data collection method, which is used to observed naturally occurring behavior of people in their natural settings. The data can be gathered in a form of: film or video recording, still camera, audio type (to record spoken observation), or hand-written note taking.

Camera Phone: A mobile phone with a camera built-in that allows the user to take pictures and share them instantly and automatically via integrated infrastructure provided by the network carrier. Camera phones can transfer pictures via Bluetooth, Infrared, or MMS messaging system.

Digital Photography: A type of photography where pictures are taken on digital cameras or camera phones. Images can be viewed, edited, stored, or shared with others using different means of communication medium such as email, Web-based applications and services, Bluetooth, Infra-red, MMS, computers or TV screens.

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