Is There an App For That?

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From the Dot Dot Dot Lecture Series in NYC, hosted by the MFA in Interaction Design at SVA on June 10, 2009. A presentation about about the challenge of designing services in today's data-rich web-enabled world, and how our experiences online have changed our expectations of the way things work offline.

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Is There an App For That?

  1. 1. “Is There an App For That?” A few ways in which online services have messed with the ways in which we see the real world A few ways in which online services have messed with the ways in which we see the real world. Jennifer Bove Dot Dot Dot June 10 2009 Hi, I’m Jennifer Bove. I’m a founder and principal at Kicker Studio. I’m here to talk about online and offline services and the relationship between the two.
  2. 2. Technology has changed our approach to solving problems the real world. Our relationship with technology, and specifically web services has changed the way we relate to the real world.
  3. 3. It bothers me that I can’t ⌘-f finding my wallet. Who hasn’t wished they could hit ⌘-F to find their missing wallet or keys?
  4. 4. Why can’t I make my iPhone into a ruler? And a friend of mine mentioned the other day that she often finds herself reaching for her iPhone when she needs to measure something, instead of looking for a ruler, as if measuring with a phone is easier than a ruler. Turns out there are *several* apps for that.
  5. 5. (btw - I also found this.) And I also found this, which has nothing to do with technology or services. Just another approach to the measuring problem.
  6. 6. Our expectations of real- world services have changed. As service designers, this ever-growing reliance on technology means two things: Our users’ mindsets have changed, and this makes designing offline services more challenging. But this same technology provides new opportunities for seamlessness when combining the online and offline within a service experience.
  7. 7. Immediacy We want everything yesterday. And thanks to smart phones, we walk around with answers in our pockets.
  8. 8. Realtime Services like Google text and KGB provide near-realtime responses to dumbest questions - who texts these things?
  9. 9. Realtime And there’s lazyweb. I don’t even have to do the research myself anymore. I just throw questions out there and the internets answer it. Instant gratification. Love it.
  10. 10. Still takes two days But we’re so used to near real-time internet response times that our expectations for offline timelines are skewed. The U.S. mail takes *two* days -- how many of you still send letters? This is something to think about as service designers -- what is the timeline of your service? What is the response time? How do you design for your users’ appetite for instant gratification?
  11. 11. Co-created The online services are all about participation. Many of the websites we know and love are often crowd sourced, or co-created.
  12. 12. • listings • zagat • recipes • mashups Crowd-sourced information authority Sites like Wikipedia...
  13. 13. Everybody’s home movies and You-Tube rely on users to create the content that other users will consume. For these services to work, users have to *participate*. This is co-creation model presents an opportunity for service designers as well.
  14. 14. “...the biggest untapped resource in the NHS is people themselves: how can we harness the power and expertise of patients and their families to co-create better health outcomes?” - http://www.designcouncil.info/mt/RED/health/ The UK Design Council has done several studies in co creating services, like this service for encouraging activity among seniors called “Active Mobs.” They’ve found that by involving users in the creation process, giving them accountability for the service, they’re more likely to participate and it’s more likely to succeed.
  15. 15. A voice With participation comes a sense of voice. Everybody has an opinion, and the web lets everyone share it.
  16. 16. News that people dig(g) Digg surfaces news stories based on readers’ votes.
  17. 17. Scoring designs And Threadless chooses teeshirt designs based on popular scoring. These sites capitalize on the opinions of the masses, giving users a place to express their preferences and see the impact of their opinions online.
  18. 18. Connecting consumers to companies Many offline services have started using the web to a similar effect. Some use Get Satisfaction, an SF-based start up that gives people a neutral platform for communicating with companies (and other customers) for questions, comments and customer support.
  19. 19. Customer outreach Comcast was one of the first companies use Twitter to actively address service needs and concerns. They *pay* people to tweet, and it works.
  20. 20. Consumer wrath Consumers are not shy about to telling companies exactly what they think, in public, and real time. Technology-enabled social media makes it easier than ever to create a groundswell of feedback, and companies listen. These new ways of speaking up aren’t going anywhere, and can be incorporated into service delivery and quality assurance in new and interesting ways.
  21. 21. Expertise These days we’re armed with much more knowledge than we used to be.
  22. 22. How much does a carpenter charge? Thanks to the web, we have access to myriad experts, and can quickly learn all we need to prepare ourselves for new service experiences.
  23. 23. What do I do about a bee sting?(true story) We can find expert advice without ever dealing with an actual person.
  24. 24. Will this cartridge work with my printer? The availability of expert information online has changed our expectations of offline services -- it's easy to forget that people are not computers, nor have they memorized the contents therein. However knowledgeable a service provider may be, their differentiator is no longer exclusive access to information. But the opportunity lies in how they use the information and the human quality of their expertise. There's a reason we still consult doctors instead of relying on WebMD.
  25. 25. Customization One of the advantages of online services is that they can track user behavior and provide opportunities for customization.
  26. 26. I can program my TiVO to pick shows I might like I can train TiVO on my TV taste...
  27. 27. I can make lists, or shop based on previous orders And keep track of my staples at my online grocer. Sadly, my Safeway Grocery down the street never remembers what I usually buy from them -- I have to do all the work myself.
  28. 28. Zipcar knows what I need from them at each stage of the service Zipcar uses multiple platforms well to customize their service delivery based on context. Because they’re tracking your experience over time, they can surface what you might need when and where you’re most likely to need it. So one the web the service experience starts with searching for available rentals. But when you’ve rented a car and you call them, the first option is to extend your rental time. And now they’ve got an app for finding and unlocking the car you’ve just rented. It all fits together to enable a seamless offline experience.
  29. 29. real example But “quick cash” always asks me “how much?” It has to make you wonder... how come the ATM still doesn’t know what we mean by Quick Cash?
  30. 30. How do we decide whether there should there be an app for that? What are the qualities we want to hold onto in a world where everything is data? All of this is to say: not everything needs to be online and in our pockets, but our habits have come to expect that. How do we design for smart and effective use of technology to enable better experiences in the real world? And what are the qualities that can differentiate the services we design in a world where our users are so plugged in?
  31. 31. Thank you. Thanks!

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