Excessive smartphone use has negative effects on our social relations as well as on our mental and psychological health. Most of the previous work to avoid these negative effects is based on a top-down approach such as restricting or limiting users' use of smartphones. Diverging from previous work, we followed a bottom-up approach to understand the practice of smartphone use in public settings from the users' perspective. We conducted observations in four coffeehouses, six focus group sessions with 46 participants and three design workshops with 15 designers. We identified five themes that help better understand smartphone use behavior in public settings and four alternative design approaches to mediate this behavior, namely enlighteners, preventers, supporters, and compliers. We discuss the implications of these themes and approaches for designing future interactive technologies aimed at mediating excessive smartphone use behavior.
The ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems