Abstract

The design of existing mobile phone technology has emphasised the primacy of person-to-person communication for voice, SMS and image-based communication. It may be contrasted with place-to-place communication, the key property of fixed line telephony. However, other forms of communication may mix these two approaches: these include place-to-person or person-to-place for example. These patterns may afford different values to users. This reports a field study of a prototype person-to-place SMS communications device, ‘TxtBoard’. This is a small, fixed display appliance for home settings. It displays text messages sent to it from any standard mobile phone. The study highlights how the person-to-place character of the device, combined with the ‘public’ or situated characteristics of its placement within home settings in particular, create new opportunities for use of SMS.