Response to User Research

Technological systems have continued to help us make more informed decisions and advancements in all areas of life. However, with many systems, our values as humans are sometimes overlooked or infringed in order to supply more information or “better user experiences”. One great example of this is that of the mobile phone.

Cell phones have connected people across countries and the world but they continue to run into issues with privacy and human values. Cell phones as a whole have changed how people interact with one another. It is a common sight to see two people in the same room choosing to interact through the cell phone rather than face-to-face. Over the years, this has diminished human interaction and with some individuals made it harder for them to create real, personal connections with someone. Despite this problem, cell phones have also connected more people together. They have made it possible to have friends in different countries or for people to meet who never would have before.

In addition to this, mobile phones have also infringed on the privacy of individuals, but often in order to better help them. A great example is that of Snapchat. Snapchat brands itself as a messaging service that revolves around disappearing pictures being sent to your friends. But Snapchat also includes in its application a map that live-tracks your location if you have Snapchat open. This is something you can opt out of, but it is a service to better connect people. It is meant to get a better understanding of where your friends are and whether you are nearby them, which could give you the chance to spend time with them. However, with full access to the mobile phone’s array of sensors and without the disclosure regarding how those disappearing pictures are managed by their system, it is difficult for their users to have confidence regarding them.

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