CTI-Lab

Activities

Workshops “Studying technology use as social practice” (Winter session 2020)

FIRST WORKSHOP – February, 12th 2020 – 2pm-4pm (FTX 413)

Unboxing apps: The walkthrough method as a step-by-step app analysis Workshop presented by Stefanie Duguay, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication Studies, Concordia University.

Software applications (apps) are the site of significant sociocultural and economic transformations across many domains, from health and relationships to entertainment and finance. As relatively closed systems, apps pose methodological challenges for digital media research. This session will introduce the walkthrough method as an approach to analyzing apps that combines cultural studies and science and technology studies (STS). The first part will cover the method’s foundations, which include vernacular walkthrough practices, such as unboxing. The method’s two phases will be explained and then attendees will have a chance to apply them to an app of choice through group collaboration. Through instruction and guidance, groups will establish an app’s “environment of expected use” by assessing its vision, operating model, and modes of governance. Then they will conduct a technical walkthrough to systematically step through stages of registration, everyday use, and discontinuation to identify the app’s embedded cultural meanings and implied ideal users. Bring your smartphone phone, a charger (if necessary), and a curiosity about the apps that populate our everyday lives!

Recommended reading: 

Light, B., Burgess, J., Duguay, S. (2018). The walkthrough method: An approach to the study of apps. New Media & Society, 20(3), 881-900. doi: 10.1177/1461444816675438