#Swap: Contextual Analysis


Our problem is attempting to understand how people communicate. We wish to make it easier for people to connect quickly and help to remove the stress of exchanging contact information. There are many situations when individuals exchange contact information and we are looking at two of them: social situations and professional situations. This project stemmed from the idea of streamlining the process by which phone numbers are exchanged.

Our team is currently exploring the complex social interaction of exchanging contact information. The process of giving someone contact information takes more time than what seems necessary for such a small amount of information. It has social and relational implications which go far beyond the ten simple digits of one’s number. So, we are observing and questioning this action with the hopes of determining a solution that is more efficient and more accommodating of the users’ needs.


F.B. — a much older college student and a psychology major, approaching the end of his years in college, somewhere in the age range of 21–25 and has seen much of life, or at least as much as anyone who is under 30 can see. He was picked because he is known to be extremely outgoing constantly interacting with new people. He is a member of a fraternity but also frequents the bars and likes to spend a very large amount of time working in the library where he can see friends and talk to them. Overall he is an extremely social person, willing to talk to anyone and listen as well. FB is your stereotypical single male; his reason for collecting phone numbers is that he’s looking for a hook-up and that’s why he gives his phone number out. He has his core friends and doesn’t feel the need to communicate with more people unless it might lead to a happier ending in his night. He is a good choice for an example user because he exchanges contact information in a highly social setting for personal reasons.

M.W. — Student, 18–25 years old, mathematics major at Bucknell University. Kenny’s friend, recruited due to the relatively large number of social interactions and phone number exchanges she participates in. As a Bible study leader, she often finds herself meeting new and interesting people she would like to get to know better. Exchanging phone numbers is a great way for her to stay connected to these people and develop friendships with them. Her technical experience is about average relative to her peers. She uses her phone, an Android device, to stay connected with her friends through SMS. Additionally, she likes to keep organized with Google Calendar — a widget she treasures significantly for its ability to easily and quickly set up meetings with people. She would be a great example of a target user because of the frequency at which she goes through the number exchange process, something she notes is only “fairly” straightforward.

J.K. — Student, 18–25 years old, Computer Engineering major, friend. He is involved with one of the athletic teams at Bucknell and enjoys going to parties in order to establish new friends. His primary purposes of exchanging numbers is for informative collaboration and the facilitation of personal interactions.

A.B. — Faculty, 40–45 years old, Dean at Bucknell. A.B. was picked because of the large number of social interactions she engages in due to her job. She is constantly in contact with students at Bucknell, as well as other faculty members. She often goes to business conferences as a result of her work as well. A.B. exchanges phone numbers to keep in contact with students, or to have new business contacts. A.B. is comfortable using her iPhone and seems to easily use technology. A.B. relies mostly on email and phone to contact people. She explained that one of the difficulties of constantly using a phone is needing to wear glasses to see the screen. Overall, A.B. depends heavily on calling and texting people for her job.


The primary need described is to have to ability to contact individuals at some point in the future. This could be for a variety of reasons, such as meeting for group work, getting help with challenging homework, or communicating to develop professional or personal relationships. Each of our users feel this need and because of the many technologies now attached to their phone there are a plethora of ways to get in contact with another person. As a result, users enjoy the ability to use any combination of these media for communication.

Another need that is important to note is capturing context when exchanging contact information. Our users seemed to struggle to remember when the interaction happened or what happened during it. Sometimes they failed to remember where the interaction took place or specific details about the individual. A few noted that they would want to be able to have quick, easy notes that helps prompt their memory. These could be pictures, or little memos that bring back to memory the details of the interaction where they acquired the contact information.

A third need was the desire for speed in the interaction of exchanging contact information. The user wishes that they didn’t have to do the same task and plug in the same information into someone else’s phone over and over again. M.W., for example, notes that it is “weird to give someone else your phone”, and physically handing someone their phone and waiting for them to plug in their number is agonizingly slow and awkward. The users wish to make the exchange of contact information as fluid and simple as possible.

Unique Thoughts:

M.W. found the act of typing in new contact information to be overly cumbersome. She noted that there was “too much information” in the contacts section of her phone: there are too many fields to fill out, and too much room for inaccurate information to be entered. While this may not be a problem for other people, someone who wants a perfectly curated and accurate contact list might feel that making sure all of this information is filled in and correct just takes too long.

F.B. uses a variety of other methods to connect with new people. He uses six different texting apps in addition to to his actual phone number. This accomplishes his goal of connecting with new people, but is very decentralized. He seems to be an outlier in this however, as none of our other users use more than one or two additional texting apps. This may be because of their desire for a unified interface.

A.B. found the act of typing on a phone difficult in itself due to her need to wear glasses.


Current Interaction:

This is an outline of a typical phone number exchange interaction:

Person A:

  1. Ask for phone number

Person B:

  1. Debate whether to give contact information
  2. Decide on communication method
  3. Pull out phone
  4. Hand phone over

Person A:

  1. Receive phone from Person B
  2. Enter information
  3. Create a new contact
  4. Type your first name and last name
  5. Complete contact
  6. Wait for text with new contact’s name

Current Tasks:

  1. Establish mutual Interest
  2. People need to (or at least would prefer to) meet in person before exchanging contact information.
  3. Enter Personal Information
  4. This can be done in a number of ways, but two stick out:
  5. The new person will give the user their phone and tell them to input their contact information.
  6. The new person will give the user their number, and user will enter this information into their contacts.
  7. Send/Receive Reciprocated Info
  8. Again, this can be done in a number of ways, but typically it involves texting or calling the new number the user was given, and adding the information of the number that responds

Desired Tasks:

  1. Capture contact context — understanding when and where the user met their new contact. It can be quite easy to forget a new face or not remember the name of the person you just met, especially in high-density social situations where you meet many new people (First-Year orientation, rush events, parties, etc.)

Scope: Complex

Frequency: High

Importance: Medium

2. Exchange Bundled Contact information — the ability to send a clean piece of contact information that another user can quickly save into their contacts, this can range from name/# to name/#/fb/snapchat/etc

Scope: Moderate

Frequency: High

Importance: High

3. Retrieve unexchanged info at a later point — if they missed the opportunity to exchange contact information you might want to be able to find it days, or even months, later.

Scope: Complex

Frequency: Medium

Importance: Low/High — depends on the situation of the specific user interaction

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