We had a really interesting seminar with Fabiano Pinatti recently about nomadic work/life in the knowledge economy and also about research methods. For starters it got me thinking that my life has been a good deal more nomadic than many others. Having moved 22 times before I started school probably has something to do with it. As a result I expect to be on the move, I enjoy it and like to complete repetitive tasks quickly so that I have time to participate in other less frequently occurring activities. I get irritated when these tasks become time consuming and tie me to a particular place. As many of my necessary domestic tasks are repetitive (and therefore extremely dull) I would be a fan of anyone/anything making these easier.
Mobile phones have have started this process. They form a direct link between me and my children enabling flexibility and informality in our relationships. My children have rarely experienced the ‘waiting for a lift from a delayed parent’ that I did on a regular basis, as we are able to communicate the delay and our exact whereabouts as they happen and as we need to know, rather than make specific and inflexible arrangements in advance.
However, during the seminar I also began to realise that I have no idea whether other less ‘nomadic’ people would have the same interests. I might be able to make a gadget that solved my own frustrations but it might not suit others. As part of the point of such a gadget is to be useful to the world at large I will have to check this out.
I had already planned to use performance scenarios with a magic gadget to design my project more explicitly as this technique will help to contextualize it for a wider range of people than just my own family and also pre-empt user appropriation . Now I think I should also carry out some more general preliminary research to discover whether there is actually any interest in such a device at all. Perhaps my life experience is so far from the norm nobody else would be interested at all!