Sunday, June 1, 2014

Wi-Fi and Notes in a Hengyang Black Tide

Admittedly, it was the name of a cafe on Changsheng Road in Hengyang, Hunan, which first caught my attention.

Black Tide (黑潮) cafe in Hengyang, Hunan, China

But I have returned to Black Tide (黑潮) several times due to its decent inexpensive iced milk tea and the friendly woman who has been working there anytime I have stopped by.

cup of iced Black Tide (黑潮) milk tea

When there, I have seen a mostly younger crowd. Sometimes they are using a piece of modern technology, whether a laptop ...

boy using a laptop at the Black Tide (黑潮) cafe

or, more commonly, a mobile phone, useful for taking advantage of Black Tide's free Wi-Fi.

girl viewing Chinese video on a mobile phone and many colored notes with messages on them at the Black Tide (黑潮) cafe

And sometimes they are writing messages on colored paper to publicly post there.

Free Wi-Fi, mobile devices, and colored notes with customers' messages can be found in many other cafes in China. This mix reminds me of issues and questions I earlier discussed regarding the value of looking at people's offline world when conducting user research for online services.

And it shows, like a reading protest in Thailand (related AP report), how paper can still matter in a high tech world.

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