Field Research Report: The Gallery

Michael Brandt

Adrienne Shaw

Mobile Media

13 March 2014

Field Research: Observing Mobile Media in The Gallery

  • 2:50 P.M.: Arrived at initial location (food court area of The Gallery; a shopping mall located in Center City).
    • Area is very large, and very crowded. Can see at least 15 people in any given direction.
    • There are several booths in the mall with cellphone/iPod related merchandise, as well as an FYE and a Radioshack.
    • There is free Wi-Fi for mobile devices.
    • Upon entering mall, I noticed several people wearing earbuds while walking in a group with other people.
    • Majority of people are high school students, as it is the time of day that school lets out. Some people sitting/eating/talking, others walking through area.
    • Observed several people sitting alone, all wearing headphones and minding their own business. One younger looking guy appears to be surfing the web and has not looked up from phone in ten minutes.
    • One guy sitting alone with headphones in, singing aloud.
    • People who are alone use iPods/Phones as tools to keep occupied. Mobile media occupies our brains when we do not have other people present to do so.
    • Have seen many groups of kids (3 or more people) walking together, and noticed that at least one person will be wearing earbuds or using their phone.
    • Some people wear earbuds as fashion accessory (not fully in ear).
    • Two kids standing next to eachother wearing headphones/listening to different things/not speaking to one another.
    • iPods mostly used to keep people in their own “worlds”.
    • Noticed 3 people reading from Kindles (all white, middle aged-business types). Some people balance using an iPod/Mp3 Player with texting, using kindle, real-time conversation, shopping, etc.
    • Keep noticing people wearing headphones while with other people…perhaps it is a fashionable trend, or just a way to have “your own music” at all times because it is possible.
    • Atmosphere of food court area is mostly relaxing, yet lively because it is crowded. Leisurely type of vibe encourages people to zone out into music or into web browsing. Mall tries to make patrons feel secure so they want to hang out on premises and play with their devices.
    • Majority of patrons during this time seem to be between the ages of 16 and 25 and of minority races. There is also a small but observable amount of senior citizens, one of which is listening to music on headphones, the others tend to just sit and look around and not be on cell phones.
    • Several shoppers seen talking on phone while walking – perhaps because shopping is usually a free-time activity, thus making it an opportune time to make phone calls?
    • People using phones suddenly appear occupied, or even like they are not alone, could be a reason as to why some impulsively use their devices while sitting alone.
    • Commonly seeing people stop/stand in place to text (some in line for food, others just stop walking).
    • There is a group of people filming a rap video in the middle of the mall, (using cameras).
    • People using phones while still with other people in real-life juggle both conversations with the same amount of care. It is like the phones are another “member” of their group.
    • Spotted several adults with Bluetooth earpieces in, talking aloud while walking around.
    • Dominating mobile media useage thus far: 1. iPods 2. Texting, 3. Talking on phone.
    • Various restaurants encouraging using web. (#howdoyoukfc)
    • Spotted 3 other people carrying cameras.


  • 3:50 P.M.: Left food court area, and walked around mall to observe misc. places for remainder of research.
    • People mostly use phones alone as a way to remain occupied and go about their own business.
    • People do not want to be bothered (most are coming from school or work). Phones give people a way to avoid being involved with strangers.
    • Sitting and using a mobile device is a simple alternative to sitting and looking around, risking looking creepy.
    • Noticed that I am drawing attention to myself by looking around and paying direct attention to people around me instead of sitting and gazing into phone.
    •  Most people walking around mall have some sort of downtime.
    • Some people are occupying spaces and using their phones, and nothing else. Just sitting to have downtime and use their devices.
    • Phones provide entertainment, connectedness, and appearance of being occupied/doing something important.
    • Many employees of various stores wearing headphones.
    • Atmosphere while walking around in similar to train station or street.

Observing the usage of mobile media at The Gallery made me realize the importance of cell phones and how they connect adults and kids alike to one another throughout any opportune moments they may have during the day. It is important and so common that it should not be considered luxurious to be able to touch base with loved ones while walking through or hanging out in a mall such as The Gallery.



One thought on “Field Research Report: The Gallery”

  1. It’s not clear from this report what you think your social justice design would be. Is it connected to the social interactions you highlight as so important in the interactions you saw? If so, is there a social justice slant to promoting these kinds of social interactions? Some of the readings from our social interactions week should help provide background theory and empirical evidence for such an argument. You are really attentive to the variety of reasons people might be on these devices, as opposed to just disparaging that use. Ideally your design would incorporate that sensitivity to the need to be connected these devices help fulfill.

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