The research that had gone into the portability of cell phones was responsible by Bell Laboratories scientist. They made a replacement of the bulky vacuum tubes with the transistor through the 1970s, making the cell phone easier to use. Bell Labs developed a lot of innovative technologies that contribute to making the cell phone possible. AT&T couldn’t compete with Bell and was forced to itself of local telephone service but they remained a service for long distant communication. AT&T lacked the ambition on jumping on board with the new wireless services. Charles Brown, a chairman at AT&T, said they weren’t going to offer cellular services.
Citizens’ Band radios became popular in the 1970s when trucks were in need of communication and when the movie Smokey and the Bandit came out. CB Radios were made possible because of integrated circuits. This type of technology allowed having radios, calculators, and two-way radios. Push-to-Talk mobile services became popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Millions of people liked the idea of paging services and devices for paging were even patented in 1949 by Alfred Gross. He was also credited with making the first walkie-talkie, CB radio, and cordless phone. (Goggin, pg. 28)
Motorola coined the term “spectrum” in 1959 but the FCC approved it for public use a year before. Motorola manufactured the first successful pager, Pagebay 1, in 1974. A person would call an operator, whom would text the sender’s message to the receiver. Pagers were used widely for business and industrial practices. Especially by doctors who couldn’t be reach because he was mostly on the floor or in surgery a majority of their work shift, this is perhaps the most iconic view on how pagers were used.
While all of these devices are being made past, present and future the idea of using a phone is still hard for many people. The idea a person not being able to actually use the phone is due to illiteracy is true. Many people struggle with day-to-day issues of not being able to communicate efficiently like their peers.
The idea of having a mobile phone based on icons would be a way to solve an illiterate person’s issue of not using a phone. Designing a GUI that relies solely on icon usage cannot be done because it varies from person to person. Icons cannot be only the GUI itself because each icon would have to represent many task of the phone. For example, if iPhone did away with file names on each of their icons when iOS 7 was debuted, I wouldn’t have known what the Photo and Game Center was. I would have thought it was something to draw with at first glance and probably ignore it like I do with the Stocks app.
Besides turning on the phone and answering the call, the challenges present itself when a person cannot write a message, save a number, or remember it. Literate family members will usually make a contact book in different colors to help the person remember who to call. Sometimes the illiterate person will also remember how many calls ago did her cousin call, was it three calls or five? (Chipchase, pg. 84.)
When people are rote, they usually face errors, when they make a mistake they have to usually to start over again. “Textually nonliterate people are required to make assumptions for the textual prompts based on how the device responds to their actions.” (Chipchase, pg. 84.) As with any tools, once you learn it, motivations to go forward with learning are lessened. People are using the full potential of the device as much as they can.
Nonliterate users choose wisely when making a decision to explore the phone and actually learn the settings. Straying away from making a call or answering a call can result in loosing data, changing settings, or even breaking the phone. Users wouldn’t want to chance something that could prevent them from an opportunity like a job.
The answers to having a phone with minimal features would be a start to the issue. Menu buttons could be solely icons. All buttons, soft keys, should only be one button. Standard settings should not have to be altered. Audio menus should be spoken when a button is pressed.
The product placement would be great for nonliterate users. This could possibly be extremely profitable depending on how this device is made and how well it works. Mobile phones are extremely important regarding a person’s need in governmental, commercial, and social service space. These services are much-needed since a majority of them are online such as applying for SNAP or other social needs. Phones are almost a need in today’s world and one that could provide help to some feeling confused and lost could go a long way.
Coxworth, Ben. “Voice game helps introduce the illiterate to phone-based services.” Voice game helps introduce the illiterate to phone-based services. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. <http://www.gizmag.com/polly-telephone-service-voice-game/27161/>.
Goggin, Gerard. (2006). Cell Phone Culture: Mobile technology in everyday life. London: Routledge. Chapter 5, p. 89-103.