Quality ‘Alone’ Time through Conversations and Storytelling
In this research, I was interested in reaching a better understanding of podcasts as an asynchronous technology. I designed and ran a study for exploring podcasts to better understand and learn how we can design technologies that support quality alone time while still feeling connected to others.
The study: We recruited 18 participants who listened to podcasts at least once a month. Participants were from different age groups and occupations, which created a diverse sample. Each interview lasted between 40 and 60 minutes. Semistructured interviews were chosen as the data collection method for this study due to their ability to provide in-depth knowledge of a topic. Interview questions were categorized in five main categories including” podcast types, timing, location and routines of listening; the factors that made participants like certain podcasts more than others; the challenges of listening to podcasts; and, sharing patterns.
The results of the semi-structured interviews allowed me to understand participants’ behaviors and patterns of use of the technology. Interviews were transcribed and notes were taken during the interviews. Open coding, axial coding, and selective coding were performed to analyze the data.
Our set of participants primarily listened to podcasts when they were alone in order to ‘escape the mundaneness’ of everyday activities (e.g., work, chores), reconnect with themselves, relax and reduce stress, fill the time with spontaneous listening or while engaging in physical activity. From the study, I also learned that people can create an intimate and personal connection with podcast hosts. The way participants listened to podcasts highlighted the multitasking ability of audio files. In contrast to watching videos, audio media did not need the complete attention of the person and allowed participants to multitask while listening to podcasts. Our participants managed to do different activities while listening and connecting with podcasts ranging from gardening to meditating to running and commuting.
The final outcome of the work was published in Graphics Interface 2018 which you can read the full paper here.