Click on the links in the shopping list to explore some of the essential elements that make a successful pervasive media project.


This is not an essay.

This is a set of questions to ask yourself as a designer/developer. These questions have evolved from our workshops that have involved experience, description and reflection on actual pieces of pervasive media.

Our aim is to encourage you as designers and developers of pervasive media to develop critical awareness of your own practice. Remember, just because something is technically possible doesn’t mean that it has to be implemented.

What will cause a backlash against software like google, its practice of reading emails and generating ‘relevant’ adverts that display alongside the emails?

Who is allowed to gather information about us and where does it go?

Who is allowed to link different databases?

Where can people go if they want an alternative?

Can an ethical brand be developed, like a fairtrade mark, that denotes how invasive an app is in terms of data storage and data mining?

So, think about these as a critical framework for what you do next:

  • Is it possible to design an application so that people are able to choose which information they share?
  • What levels of user consent are needed?
  • When does anonymity matter?
  • Is there a right to data anonymity?
  • Is data log-ON your default setting?
  • Is the app/experience set up so that user has to opt-out i.e. they are added by default or opt-in i.e. they choose to engage?
    • Who initiates the interaction between the user/device and the system/app? – Is it push or pull?
    • Does it use Bluetooth scanning i.e. looking out for people’s devices as they pass through a space?
  • Is the content made available only to people who visit a particular space or have access to a particular technology?
    • Is it your intention to restrict access to the content, or will you set up other ways to allow access?
    • Do users have to log in to engage?
  • Are you creating a social network?
  • Can you allow your user to be anonymous? Do you need to know their real name, date of birth, phone number etc?
    • Can people use fake i.d.?
    • Are multiple identities allowed?
    • How does this affect prizes, leader board, high scores etc
    • If so, how much information do people have to give you for your app to work?
  • What is necessary for the game and what is superfluous data?
  • Is permanent data collection necessary and/or planned?
  • Have you made the collection and storage of data explicit to the user?
  • Once you have collected data from your user, what do you do with it?
  • Have they given permission to you to use it?
  • Who has access to the data?
  • Do you allow mining of that data by others?
  • What is the value of the data?
    • economic
    • social
    • personal