An Interactive Visual Tool for Analyzing Phone Use During Drives

A screenshot of the interactive visual tool designed for user experience researchers at Intel to analyze the context of phone use that occurred while a participant was driving.

This visual analysis tool was developed for Intel’s Local Experiences of Automobility project, in which GPS and cell phone tracking data were combined with ethnographic research to create a deep understanding of how participants related to their cars and phones while driving. One of the central areas of interest in the project was the question of routine: what makes a drive routine? This interactive visualization allows a researcher to investigate the patterns in a participant’s phone use while driving.

This tool consists of two timelines. The top timeline shows the selected participant’s drives over the whole study period, with time of day as the horizontal axis and date as the vertical axis. Drives are shaded to show the average speed the participant was traveling. Phone use appears as bright pink vertical lines in the drive. The bottom timeline is a detail view of a single drive selected in the top timeline. The horizontal axis is still the time, but the vertical axis is split into three variables: speed, compass heading, and elevation. Phone use, again, appears as a bright pink line across the timelines. This view allows the researcher to delve into the context of phone use.