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Fighting exclusion: a multimedia mobile app with zombies and maps as a medium for civic engagement and design

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This paper presents a study on urban data crowdsourcing driven by Geo-Zombie, a multimedia mobile application we designed and developed to engage pedestrians in taking note of urban architectural impediments and facilities by documenting them through pictures and multimedia data. Geo-Zombie aims at transforming the civic activity of contributing into a virtual gamified experience where players attempt to escape from horrific situations in which zombies are ready to cannibalize unsuspecting walkers. In some sense, walkers that kill zombies deeply reconnect with the concept of imminent danger which can be fought resorting to appropriate civic actions. To challenge our initial hypotheses we conducted a design process, starting with a concept generation where three different concepts were discussed which gave rise to five different multimedia mobile apps including the one with zombies. Then, focus group, experience prototyping, application design and implementation, and finally field trials were exploited to refine the design and to select the best apps out of the five that better responded to the need of involving common people in collecting urban accessibility data. It is worth noting that the experiences of use with 50 avid walkers have demonstrated that a multimedia mobile app with maps and zombies can be a concrete step towards a social inclusion strategy while inviting new reflections and discussions on the issue of urban data crowdsourcing.

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We thank all the participants (from the Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute and from the University of Bologna) involved in this study. We would also like to thank Steven Dow and Jodi Forlizzi (Carnegie Mellon University) who provided us with precious suggestions, feedbacks and ideas.

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Correspondence to Catia Prandi.

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Prandi, C., Roccetti, M., Salomoni, P. et al. Fighting exclusion: a multimedia mobile app with zombies and maps as a medium for civic engagement and design. Multimed Tools Appl 76, 4951–4979 (2017).

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