Buzz, Shout, Poke: Rethinking the Ringtone

Session Title

Buzz, Shout, Poke: Rethinking the Ringtone


Margaret Shear and Blake Engel

Session Type: Presentation

Re-evaluate your mobile design practice through the lens of the most important mobile interaction — the ringtone. Will we need the ringtone in tomorrow’s mobile world? If your phone was a person, how would it interact with you? Would it poke you? Yell at you? We will take a historical, cultural, and technological look at the ringtone, and propose new ways to connect human beings through mobile devices.


Margaret Shear and Blake Engel

Margaret Shear is a San Francisco-based independent design consultant specializing in web and mobile experience design. She has worked with Adaptive Path on projects for Flickr, Citysearch, and Harvard Business Review, and independently for Nokia, PBWiki, and a variety of startups. Margaret holds degrees from Stanford University in Studio Art and Science, Technology, & Society.

Blake Engel is an entrepreneur and mobile strategist based in San Francisco.


  1. Posted September 18, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Interesting topic! Please discuss cochlear implants and the like. I like the idea of no one having to hear my phone ring. Also, designers could save space in the device by removing the speakers.

  2. Posted September 25, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Also might want to mention recent work presented at CHI on this topic, “Texture Displays.”

  3. Posted September 26, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    You might want to check out T. Foley’s public art project: