P.Comp: Link NYC – Observation



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For class this week we were asked to find a piece of interactive technology in public used by multiple people. On my way home one day, I saw a guy using a LinkNYC on the corner of Flatbush & Rutland Road, and was inspired to learn more about it.  Originally, while passing it in the neighborhood, I knew it was a digital bulletin board for advertising, but unaware of many of its other capabilities.

It seemed like one of the difficulties is that the speaker for it is pretty faraway from your mouth if standing? So when making phone calls, there’s a tendency for it to be a less private conversation. It seemed like the person really had to raise their voice level to be heard over traffic? But it was a good solution for their dead phone, and being lost. The guy was able to contact their girlfriend while simultaneously charging their phone and searching directions.

When taking pictures of the different interface elements, another person walked by and said, “Actually works pretty good, yeah?” In an affirming way. Although they seem to be under utilized? I think its provides a lot of helpful tools: free fast wifi, phone calls, device charging, a tablet for accessing city service info – as well as maps & directions. However, I had no idea it had phone capability to make calls or and emergency 911 button and wonder if it could have made its function more “visible” as defined by Norton in POET? Would it have helped to have had a phone icon on the Link somewhere, like it has the wifi symbol? If the initiative is to replace pay phones with 7500 different link beacons, I wonder if there’s a way to make its utility more transparent? Maybe by adding a phone or map icon?

It seemed like as long as you have your own usb cord? That charging is the easiest function. That calling also isn’t too hard as well, and even better if you have headphones with you? The overall duration of the usage is very variable, depending on how long the charging takes place? or if someone just needs to look up a quick direction. But mostly was used for charging & wifi.




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from Psychology of Everyday Things


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