Texting from the Toilet: Mobile Computing Use and Acceptance in Public and Private Restrooms

Submitted by Julie Kientz
Affiliation University of Washington
All authors Kientz, J.A., Choe, E.K., and Truong, K.N.
Keywords Mobile computing, mobile phones, restrooms, social acceptance, social norms, etiquette
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Submitted 2013-01-09 12:49
Last edited 2013-01-09 12:50
Submission history


The proliferation of mobile computing devices, wireless and cellular Internet connections, and an always-on culture have led to an upsurge in usage of mobile devices in unexpected and possibly unusual settings for many different tasks. As technology becomes adopted, it is important to examine how it is used and people’s reactions toward these unusual uses. This will help in understanding and describing the expected etiquette surrounding the technology’s usage. People now often use their mobile computing devices in both public and private restrooms. Through a survey of 204 respondents, we explored the acceptability of those practices and the types of tasks people complete using their mobile devices while in a restroom. We discovered 77% of respondents report using some type of mobile computing in restrooms, both public and private, for activities such as text messaging, web browsing, and email. We also determined that younger, male, and heavy technology users were more likely to use technology within restrooms. We discuss the various uses, social acceptance, and implications for technology design.
Jonathan Friedman, Northwestern
wrote on 2013-01-14 18:11
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Hosub Lee, Samsung Electronics
wrote on 2013-01-22 03:10
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Quality: 6 Clearly written w/ pilot survey result
Appropriate: 6 Device usage in WC is rarely studied
Discussion potential: 4 Lack of concrete application scenarios

Emilia Pesonen, TUT
wrote on 2013-01-25 05:50
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Quality: 5 Some ambiquities in presentation
Appropriate: 5 Not much talked about topic
Discussion potential: 5 Topic is fun but not so future oriented

Andrew Cordar, University of Florida
wrote on 2013-01-27 12:53
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Quality: 5 Was well written
Appropriate: 6 Interesting/unique topic
Discussion potential: 4 paper needs to initiate more discussion

Shaun Lawson, University of Lincoln
wrote on 2013-01-28 16:54
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Quality: 6 well written, solid study
Appropriate: 7 bathrooms and alt.CHI go hand in glove
Discussion potential: 6 good synergy with other submissions

Brian Clark, University at Buffalo
wrote on 2013-02-03 12:54
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Quality: 6 clear, well-organized
Appropriate: 6 restrooms should be discussed more
Discussion potential: 5 interesting, fun topic

Julie Kientz, University of Washington
wrote on 2013-02-03 22:10
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