Why mobile phones are annoying
Andrew Monk and colleagues from the University of York have performed a study to assess why it’s so annoying when other people have cellphone conversations in public.
“The researchers staged one-minute conversations in front of unsuspecting commuters who were either riding a train or waiting for a bus. In half the cases, two actors conversed face-to-face while seated next to a potential test participant. In the other half, a single actor talked on a mobile phone while seated next to a potential participant.
Furthermore, the actors conducted half of the conversations at a normal loudness level, whereas the other half were exaggeratedly loud (as measured on a volume meter). The actual content and duration of the conversations were the same in all conditions.
After each test conversation, researchers approached the bystanders and asked them to complete a small survey about the conversation. In other words, while the conversation was taking place, the participants didn’t know that they were part of an experiment, but rather assumed that the conversation was the normal behavior of one or two other commuters.”
[Summary of results from Jakob Nielsen’s newsletter.]