Information, Interfaces and Technological Consent:
A critical analysis of the impact of digital screen technologies on information control and democratic debate
Dr Kirsty Best
Primary research question
1. How do users experience control in relation to digital screen technologies (DSTs)—both control over technologies due to greater usability, and control by technologies in terms of limited functionality and surveillance?
Secondary research questions
1. How do participants express their relations with their DSTs?
a. What kind of relations are created and maintained through interaction with their DSTs?
b. How are these relations experienced as communicative?
2. How do participants define and express the functionality of their DSTs?
a. What language do participants use to define and express the functionality of their DSTs?
3. How do participants negotiate their relationship to the functionality of their DSTs?
a. How and under what circumstances do participants ignore problems of functionality as a strategy?
b. How and under what circumstances do participants modify the DST as a strategy?
c. How and under what circumstances do participants make use of a different strategy?
d. How effective or successful do participants find these strategies?
e. How do participants define their feelings when employing these strategies? During? After?
1. Functions and affordances
Can you describe your device for me?
What do you like about your device?
What do you dislike about your device?
Have you changed or modified anything on your device?
2. Habits, learning and understanding
Can you describe to me something you have learned to do with your device?
What did you learn? How?
b) The development of habits
Can you describe to me a habit you have acquired for using your device?
c) Transparency and understanding
How would you rate your knowledge of the functioning of your device?
Would you classify your device as user-friendly?
How important is it to you that you know how the software of your device works?
3. Experience of device 10 minutes
a) Experience of device in relation to device
What do you like about owning your device?
Can you describe for me a time you used the device without having a clear sense of purpose behind it?
b) Experience of device in relation to body/self, distraction and play, immersion
How do you feel when you use your device?
Have you ever caught yourself fiddling with your device?
c) Experience of device in relation to aesthetics
Can you describe for me a time when you used your device in an artistic or aesthetic way?
d) Experience of device in relation to emotional release
Can you describe for me a time when you used your device as an outlet for emotions?
e) Experience of device in relation to code/translation, communication, metalingual functions
Can you describe a time when you felt you weren’t able to communicate with the device?
Can you describe a time when you misinterpreted what the device was saying to you to do?
Can you describe for me a time when you tried to convince your technology to do something?
4. Relations 10 minutes
a) Characterizing relationship with the device
If you were to describe your relationship between yourself and your device (where you each take on human roles), how would you do that?
b) Relations to social network
Would you say you use your device in similar or different ways from other people you know?
Can you describe for me the last time you discussed your device with another person?
c) Other devices
What other devices have you had of a similar nature? How does this one compare?
What do you feel most in control of when you use your device?
What do you feel least in control when you use your device?
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