“Moving with a magic thing”

Finding Uses for New Technology: Moving with a Magic Thing by Anu Kankainen. The paper describes a user research method called “moving with a magic thing” proposed by Giulio Jaucci for "discovering appropriate markets for technology-pushed mobile products" as it says.

“Moving with a magic thing” is a field method. Users are met in their environment and given a “dummy” mock-up of a mobile device. They are told what functionality the device has and are asked to show what they would like the magic device to do for them as part of their daily activities. To collect more scenarios, users can be asked to also create a “moving with a magic thing” photo diary. After the initial observation day, they are given a digital camera for a week and asked to take pictures of the situations where they would use “the magic thing”. At the end of the week, users are interviewed based on the photos they have taken.

This method results in high-level use scenarios which do not come from brainstorming activities conducted in a meeting room but are based on the observation of users in real contexts.

Why do I blog this? it seems that this notion of magic is so omnipresent lately in human-computer interaction that it even pervades methodologies.