My team explored the context of phone use during meals, we were curious about how people felt when they and others used their phones at restaurants.
After conducting interviews, we learned that responding to the phone was an obligation and negative feelings arose out of this responsibility to the person messaging them as well as to the person/people in front of them.
Out of our research, Phone Lounge was born. A service that would eliminate the presence of the phone during meal times, without offending those trying to contact you. The lounge would be offered by restaurants as a place guests could keep their phones – meanwhile the phones would be getting a charge and a shine.
We wanted to test several touchpoints and assumptions we had about anxiety customers would feel when handing their phone over.
We developed several prototypes of the phone lounge and tested them out with downtown Copenhagen restaurants and tourists.
We learned restaurants were thrilled about the idea, and that many people were willing to hand over their phones – as long as the restaurant staff was 'taking care' of the phones.
The Phone Lounge validated our assumption that face to face interactions would be improved without the presence of mobile phones.
'our conversations were faster without the phone, and more topics were covered.'