Context is Everything: The Importance of Context in Mobile Experience Design
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Context is Everything: The Importance of Context in Mobile Experience Design

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A brief introduction to a workshop at Mobile Experiences : Cultural Audiences symposium. This presentation looks at the impact of context when designing mobile experiences for different audiences.......

A brief introduction to a workshop at Mobile Experiences : Cultural Audiences symposium. This presentation looks at the impact of context when designing mobile experiences for different audiences. The workshop uses 'context cards' to develop new mobile experiences and test the usability of existing mobile experiences.

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  • Consultancy working with cultural heritage organisations wanting to develop digital interpretation – specialising in mobile. Our work is a mixture of design research, strategic planning, concept development and getting in up to our elbows in the implementation.
  • A couple of things have bubbling away in the back of my head. First off - as mobile began to take off I imagined a huge range of possibilities for experiences. But actually there seems – with some honourable exceptions – that a relatively narrow range of projects and experience types were happening. And so I ’ ve been ruminating on why that might be.   At the same time we ’ ve been seeing a number of projects where the experience itself didn ’ t perhaps quite live up to the initial hope or objective.   In thinking about it I felt that many of these projects simply weren ’ t born mobile – they lacked in their origination and production an awareness of the context for which they were intended.   It seemed to me that if we embedded this awareness and focus on context earlier and more centrally in our working practice we could open up the potential for a wider and richer range of projects and improve the user experience.
  • Why do I think that? Lets take a look at what I mean by context. Chronology or time - might affect the overall experience we identify as needed A planning tool versus interpretation for example Physical - And they might impact on how we design that experience – the interface, the interaction, the look and feel. Situational - And they might impact all those other things that are critical to the success of a mobile experience that aren ’ t digital – what we term the service design – front of house, marketing etc.
  •   I think that for digital teams there can be a tendancy to bring to mobile projects some of the underlying – even subconscious – assumptions and processes of static web… Oddly, for non-digital teams I ’ ve seen people disregard their knowledge about what its like on foot in the gallery… believing perhaps that digital changed all the rules. It doesn ’ t.
  • These service elements might include training front of house staff in order to support visitors accessing your wifi network or the marketing and signage to communicate the availability of mobile services. We have seen a number of instances where lack of attention to these details has led to a failure of belief in digital as a tool - Utah
  • Then I came across the Haptimap research project in Sweden. They suggest that understanding the nature of the mobile experience shifts our thinking so that we understand that – quote   In other words there aren ’ t the fully able and the disabled or needy - everyone experiences needs and loss of ability at some point and in some context. Here ’ s an example from my own life - the Tune in radio app – two versions of interface, one for use in the car – acknowledges impact of driving experience - need to focus our attention on the road means we have less ‘ bandwidth for reading a detailed screen - on ability to ‘ read ’ a mobile screen.   So how can we bring context into our thinking and processes… Clearly getting out from behind our desks is one factor! But it led me to think about some of the tools Lindsey and use in our work to help us challenge our processes and thinking– we ’ re great fans of the Ideo Method Cards for example – and whether something like that could help.   Haptimap are working in a somewhat different context but they had developed a series of what they term context cards. And what with my love of the Ideo cards these seemed a perfect tool to steal and adapt. So we ’ ve created a
  • If you realise there is a location, timeframe or situation missing from the deck or inappropriate, please make a note. If there is an error in the language or details of the context/audience you would like to amend then please make a note too.
  • What are the design parameters that we regularly have to work in?
  • What are the design parameters that we regularly have to work in?
  • What are the design parameters that we regularly have to work in?

Transcript

  • 1. CREATED FOR: PRESENTED BY: DATE ISSUED:ME:CA SYMPOSIUM MARTHA HENSON + LINDSEY GREEN + ALYSON WEBB 21ST MARCH 2013
  • 2. CONTEXT IS EVERYTHING
  • 3. WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT CONTEXT?
  • 4. CHRONOLOGIAL PHYSCIAL SITUATIONALWHAT DO WE MEAN BY CONTEXT?
  • 5. The static web experience is more often The mobile experience is more typicallystable and used in a near to optimal unstable and constantly changing and non-context – seated in a particular location, optimal – sunlight on screens, externaluser in control of lighting, noise, settings noise, movement, pushing a buggy.
  • 6. WHAT HAPPENS IF WE DON’T CONSIDER THE CONTEXT?• More prone to to miss critical factors impacting needs• Less likely to become aware of all the non-digital aspects of the service design• Less likely to create successful mobile experiencesWE HAVE A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON THE VISITOR EXPERIENCE
  • 7. “…Our physical, sensory, cognitive, emotional and social abilities are not static – they change continuously depending on the contexts and situations that we are immersed in.”
  • 8. THE PURPOSE OF THE ACTIVITY1. Explore the ways in which physical, situational and chronological contexts can help inform, shape and inspire mobile experience design.2. Test a prototype design tool – exploring whether it can play a useful role in the design process and, if so, refining the design of both the activity and content of the cards
  • 9. THE PLAN1. One member of the team is ‘the client’ and will use their own venue for the purposes of the activity.2. Two decks of cards – audience and context.3. Pick an audience card – this is the audience you will focus on4. Then pull a context card.5. The aim is to use that card – the context or situation - to trigger and shape experience ideas for your chosen audience and client.6. Capture you ideas on the flipcharts – you can use words or pictures7. Keep pulling cards to develop a ‘bank’ of experience ideas
  • 10. THE RULES1. No idea is bad2. No idea is critiqued during the brainstorming3. Set aside any thoughts about the technology you’re going to use – it’s all about the experience!
  • 11. THINGS TO CONSIDER A new experience might involve no new digital development – using or supplementing existing services/tools is just as valid Any device can be used – from tin cans and string to a raspberry pi - it simply needs to be shown to be the best option for that audience and that client mission. But DO NOT choose your technology until you’ve figured out the experience you’re aiming at! Your service is not restricted to on- site – it can be designed for anywhere and anytime provided it meets audience motivations/needs and client objectives.