Smartphone as Lifeline: Designing technology for a changing world

In late 2018, Cade and Rose Regina worked together at Tactical Tech, researching the shift of smartphones from lifestyle items to critical lifelines. Working alongside the NGO’s co-founders, we documented the landscape of smartphone use in communities beyond the typical users. Across universal themes of dependency, identity, and agency — and covering mobility, surveillance, crisis, economic precarity and even device build and resillience — the study is a stark portrait of intersectional technology use, challenging popular assumptions by technology designers and documenting the contradictory roles of smartphones in a rapidly changing society. This is an essential read for anyone who builds digital tools at scale.

Illustration by Ann Kiernan.

Tactical Tech - Smartphone as Lifeline: Designing Technology for a Changing World.
Stephanie Hankey, Cade Diehm, Rose Regina Lawrence and Marek Tuszynski.