Touchscreens Help Collect Teenage Input on City Issues

By February 02, 2012
Keywords : Smart city, America
2 teenagers with a touchscreen

Technology can encourage teenagers to give their opinion on city issues. Touchscreens create teen-friendly environments for teenagers to express their views on specific community matters.

When a particular town or neighborhood tries to engage youth in the community’s decision-making process, surveys and formal consultations are likely to put them off. Researchers from Lancaster University found that using touchscreen technology can easier allow teenagers to voice their opinions in regards to community life. Already tested on students at Queen Elizabeth School in Kirkby Lonsdale in the United Kingdom, touchscreen technology enables users to upload pictures of themselves and then articulate their views regarding their town. When it comes to involving all citizens in community decision-making, touchscreens are probably the best way to get young users to participate. Once comments are made regarding a specific topic, results are then fed back to the town council.

Easy User Experience Helps Teenagers Feel More Comfortable

Involving teenagers through the use of touchscreens has proven to be useful because of how simple they are to use and interact with. Touchscreens are a fun and easy to use, and therefore put less pressure on young users who can smoothly integrate their comments about a given subject. The easy layout of user interfaces and the interactivity touchscreens provide, makes them an informal way of expressing one’s views or opinions, more adapted to teenagers. Research showed students who previously had difficulties expressing themselves on a given topic now felt more at ease doing so with a touchscreen.

Social Media a Driving Force

Touchscreens also allow to add a social aspect to community decision-making process. After having uploaded photos and posted comments regarding a particular project with a touch screen, subsequent users can add comments and information from previous posts. This creates a forum where information is public. Previous studies have showed that social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter can be leveraged to engage citizens in decision-making processes. However, Lancaster University researchers wanted to go beyond crowd sourcing and create a comfortable atmosphere for teenagers to express their opinion, which touchscreens seam to provide. 

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