www.nordkapp.fi

@Nordkapp
Designing
Discreetness
Thingscon

Sami Niemelä
@samin / sami@nordkapp.fi
Hello, my name is Sami...
www.nordkapp.fi

@Nordkapp
First, a bit of where I’m coming from. In brief I’ve done things on and for the web since 1996,...
www.nordkapp.fi
@Nordkapp
Nordkapp is a design agency working in strategic consulting, design services and product and ser...
One of the reasons I’m here is probably this piece of work on urban screens. First we did a piece of design fiction for
Hel...
We also try to figure 

out internet of things.
!
Lofi stuff like this we made w/
@teppo is quite useful on trying
to get ...
About discreetness— by dictionary definition it is “intentionally unobtrusive”
Not a smart puppy at all, but more the holy ...
We are here
we all here are the innovators, and everything
is very very early still.
There are a lot of things — software, cars,
anything— talking back to us.
!
A large majority of these seem
like the design...
We try to solve most problems by
putting screens everywhere.
!
Tesla seems to be one of the first well designed
instances ...
At the same time, there’s a lot of technology
out there looking for its purpose.
!
To riff on Alexandro’s (@iotwatch) poin...
A lot of wearables have a problem
with battery life.
!
I really loved my Pebble Steel for the first five
weeks until I for...
mobile first › behaviour first
So we need to approach things not mobile first but behavior first. Think how things behave an...
Context &
Simplicity over
complexity.
Things like context and simplicity matter more than even. Say what you say about Gla...
Language
matters
speech recognition is getting pretty
good already. But so far it’s a lot about
predefined pattern recognit...
Looks to me we’ve been here 

before haven’t we?
Behaviour
matters
This is what I mean by not smart puppies — things seem quite easily way too excited
like this example of...
www.nordkapp.fi
@Nordkapp
So here’s the thing —I believe the key on cracking this is do things for humans first, then servi...
The best examples of discreetness
out there tend to be startups &
individual things.
!
Corporations are just learning this...
Moves, a Finnish app
recently bought by Facebook
has near-magical algorithms
figuring out what you do,
where and so forth....
iZettle, the Swedish payment terminal.
I really like their card reader and how it
is done. it is a very discreet, almost
s...
Aether Cone is an intelligent speaker which
learns from how you use it. There’s a lovely
physical interface and it also un...
Then there’s this more conceptual side.
Massimo Banzi of Arduino fame talked about
hardware as poetry, and that’s what I t...
The Good Night Lamp is a perfect
example of discreet thing tapping into
something that is everyday and
turning it into a m...
Based on Android Wear, Google is also getting
this. I haven’t used one yet but based on the
video they seem to be the firs...
So based on this, we had yesterday good
25-30 people discussing, sketching out and
reframing a few familiar everyday
exper...
“How could we make ______ more discreet?”
The question we asked was “how could we make this (blank) more discreet?”. We ha...
I like frameworks. I like em because they help you to focus your thinking and go past the blank paper syndrome really
fast...
And this is what happened in 60 mins or so, in five groups. We got a merchant thing turned into a self cleaning
nanotech cl...
www.nordkapp.fi

@Nordkapp
Awesome stuff in such a short time. I really
enjoyed thinking out loud and making sense
of this...
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Designing Discreetness recap @ Thingscon

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I ran a two hour workshop on designing discreetness yesterday, and this is my attempt to recap the framing and what we did in 10 minutes or less. This is an edited version of the recap from second day at Thingscon — look for more precise blog post up at http://nordkapp.fi/blog soon!

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Designing Discreetness recap @ Thingscon

  1. 1. www.nordkapp.fi
 @Nordkapp Designing Discreetness Thingscon
 Sami Niemelä @samin / sami@nordkapp.fi Hello, my name is Sami. I ran a two hour workshop on designing discreetness yesterday, and this is my attempt to recap the framing and what we did in 10 minutes or less.
  2. 2. www.nordkapp.fi
 @Nordkapp First, a bit of where I’m coming from. In brief I’ve done things on and for the web since 1996, mobile 2000. I’ve been a freelancer, worked at Nokia Design with a team of brilliant 2005-07 and since 2007 I’ve been the creative director of Nordkapp, a design firm I also co-founded. www.nordkapp.fi
 @Nordkapp
  3. 3. www.nordkapp.fi @Nordkapp Nordkapp is a design agency working in strategic consulting, design services and product and service development. We do the usual things like business strategy and product design, digital service design, UX, IxD, information design and so forth. 
 For the past year or so we’ve also been figuring out product development, mostly in the form of connecting ideas, corporations, people and money to each other. It’s a work in progress and has been very interesting. At the office, we do mainly two things: ! 1— Consulting & Design Services ! 2— Product development
  4. 4. One of the reasons I’m here is probably this piece of work on urban screens. First we did a piece of design fiction for Helsinki’s World Design Capital year 2012 called Urbanflow Helsinki, then an actual prototype last summer running on the streets of Helsinki. http://helsinki.urbanflow.io
  5. 5. We also try to figure 
 out internet of things. ! Lofi stuff like this we made w/ @teppo is quite useful on trying to get your head around on how people would actually react on physical things talking back at you? ! Slow WIP at #invisiblethings @NKLabs !
  6. 6. About discreetness— by dictionary definition it is “intentionally unobtrusive” Not a smart puppy at all, but more the holy grail of digital service design — the butler. The steward Alan talked about. I actually think smart puppy is not a good analogy at all. Puppies tend to be quite excited, and I am not sure if I want my tech to be excited all the time…
  7. 7. We are here we all here are the innovators, and everything is very very early still.
  8. 8. There are a lot of things — software, cars, anything— talking back to us. ! A large majority of these seem like the design part just happened. They are accidental things, which are not really considered at all. This is a picture of a rental VW car which has nothing wrong really. But it is still shouting things at me, and I have no idea why.
  9. 9. We try to solve most problems by putting screens everywhere. ! Tesla seems to be one of the first well designed instances of “big ass touch screens in places” but I’m still not convinced this should be the be-all-end-all of car UIs. ! There is more to this, we can do better.
  10. 10. At the same time, there’s a lot of technology out there looking for its purpose. ! To riff on Alexandro’s (@iotwatch) point earlier today it seems to be mostly done by white males, for white males. ! It’s still the “because we can”-tech.
  11. 11. A lot of wearables have a problem with battery life. ! I really loved my Pebble Steel for the first five weeks until I forgot my charger cable home. And here we are.
  12. 12. mobile first › behaviour first So we need to approach things not mobile first but behavior first. Think how things behave and talk back to us. Mobile first is just a technological lens to approach a tiny part of a problem which is really more about understanding how people behave and then design for that. !
  13. 13. Context & Simplicity over complexity. Things like context and simplicity matter more than even. Say what you say about Glass, but there is something quite magical about information hovering in front of your eyes. The hardware may not quite be there yet, but that is just a matter of time. ! UI example; Eaze (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wu7tMD3ufKI)
  14. 14. Language matters speech recognition is getting pretty good already. But so far it’s a lot about predefined pattern recognition and matching — what we really need to do next is to design the software behind the magic.
  15. 15. Looks to me we’ve been here 
 before haven’t we?
  16. 16. Behaviour matters This is what I mean by not smart puppies — things seem quite easily way too excited like this example of my first go with Nike Fuelband. This was the first Facebook update on the first day I used the thing. Best. Day. Ever, right?
  17. 17. www.nordkapp.fi @Nordkapp So here’s the thing —I believe the key on cracking this is do things for humans first, then services, software and hardware. Not the other way around. This is pretty visible for example on how corporations approach #iot; they all look it at based on their own history because that is what they understand. But instead you should start from empathy and real problems, do the rest afterwards. Human factors Services Software Hardware
  18. 18. The best examples of discreetness out there tend to be startups & individual things. ! Corporations are just learning this. ! Things like Shine which resembles more jewelry than a wearable sensor ! http://www.misfitwearables.com
  19. 19. Moves, a Finnish app recently bought by Facebook has near-magical algorithms figuring out what you do, where and so forth. ! ! http://moves-app.com
  20. 20. iZettle, the Swedish payment terminal. I really like their card reader and how it is done. it is a very discreet, almost silent blank object. ! http://izettle.com
  21. 21. Aether Cone is an intelligent speaker which learns from how you use it. There’s a lovely physical interface and it also understands voice commands. ! ! http://aether.com
  22. 22. Then there’s this more conceptual side. Massimo Banzi of Arduino fame talked about hardware as poetry, and that’s what I think things like this Twitter cuckoo clock by BERG are really are like. Beautiful, discreet things. ! ! https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=Haq4oP3B4rE
  23. 23. The Good Night Lamp is a perfect example of discreet thing tapping into something that is everyday and turning it into a meaningful experience. ! http://goodnightlamp.com
  24. 24. Based on Android Wear, Google is also getting this. I haven’t used one yet but based on the video they seem to be the first ones who get the role of a wrist device with a screen in it. In the video there’s this scene where a girl opens up a garage door with a simple voice command. That’s how things should work. ! http://www.android.com/wear/ !
  25. 25. So based on this, we had yesterday good 25-30 people discussing, sketching out and reframing a few familiar everyday experiences.
  26. 26. “How could we make ______ more discreet?” The question we asked was “how could we make this (blank) more discreet?”. We had six starting points where there are either screens or very in-your-face tech. Vending machines, atms, cars UI, public screens, merchants and wearables.
  27. 27. I like frameworks. I like em because they help you to focus your thinking and go past the blank paper syndrome really fast. For this, we had a this simple privacy framework we’ve used in our projects, few triggers on how it works and of course when is it for — now or few years out. Reframing: ! What: private → personal → shared → common → public ! How: (haptics + screens + touch + voice + other) = 100% ! When: Now → next year → three → five years or more !
  28. 28. And this is what happened in 60 mins or so, in five groups. We got a merchant thing turned into a self cleaning nanotech clothing, a car UI to self driving car experience — what do you do when there’s barely any driving to be done? Do we need public screens when we can replace it with a smartphone and a sensor network? There was a vending machine turned into a 3D printing closet in your home or at a public place, and a public screen turned into a discreet transport ticketing being basically invisible unless you were cheating by not paying. ! Awesome stuff in such a short time. I really enjoyed thinking out loud and making sense of this with other people and then sketching out the experiences really quick and dirty through reframing. from a… merchant thing to self cleaning clothing car UI to self driving car experience public screens to smartphone + sensor network vending machine to 3D printing closet public screen to discreet transport ticketing
  29. 29. www.nordkapp.fi
 @Nordkapp Awesome stuff in such a short time. I really enjoyed thinking out loud and making sense of this with other people and then sketching out the experiences really quick and dirty through reframing. ! THANK YOU! ! I am at @samin on Twitter.
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