• What do people want to tell their contacts while they are on the road?
  • Why do people take contacts with them?

In this longitudinal study of ten days, participants took a knob with them when they were on the road. A knob, representative for a contact person, has the ability of wireless ‘poking’ the contact. We explained the participants that when pressing the knob, a signal would be send to that specific contact person. A list was provided to able the participants to write 1) which contact they took along with them, 2) why they choose this contact and 3) what they wanted to tell their contact when they were not near the board.  This data was accompanied with time of departure and arrival.

Test material:
  • Wooden knob with magnet
  • List

Start test: July 29th 2009



  • August3 – work – Mirko – Want to remind him of his agreement with her
  • August4 – work – Grandma – Wanted to let her know that she thinks of her
  • August5 – work – Mother – Shall we dine together and chat a little bit?
  • August6 – work – Martin – Thank you for all that you have done for me!
  • August7 – in town – Chris – Want to meet some time today?
  • August8 – Oldenzaal – Femke – I miss you! Please come back soon from India and let’s chat

Other results will follow


For this test, participants were free to use any person they liked. Marian said that these persons were all people she do not speak very often. People she speaks to daily do not need to be informed about things on-the-road, they can wait untill the evening (boyfriend) or the next working day (colleagues).  This is interesting because this means that it seems that, to Marian, KeyPing is more about improving relationships with persons which she does not speak very often instead of loved ones.

Second, all persons are different with different relationships to Marian. There is no evidence that Marian takes persons that are more important more frequently.

Last, the things that she wants to tell cannot be told by the idea we have now (press Thinky to send a “I think of you”-message). They are both more complex questions and messages that can be interpret wrongly when only to leds burn as a signal. This is clearly something that needs further research and user-involvement.


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