Design beyond the glowing rectangle. What does the internet of things mean for UX people? Claire Rowland & Chris Browne September 2010Tuesday, September 28, 2010We’ll be covering why this is important for us to start thinking about, what the impact may be, and what some of the key challengesare.
“Today’s multimedia machine makes the computer screen into a demanding focus of attention rather than allowing it to fade into the background.” Mark WeiserTuesday, September 28, 2010In 1991, Mark Weiser (the ‘father of ubiquitous computing’) said...
“I hope we don’t end up in a world filled solely with slick, glowing rectangles” Timo Arnall image - The OnionTuesday, September 28, 2010...19 years later, we’ve not really solved this, have we?Our day to day lives involve many interactions with objects, but most of our interactions with computing still happen through theabstracted world of what Timo Arnall calls ‘slick, glowing rectangles’.
UX is moving beyond the screen.Tuesday, September 28, 2010However, we’re starting to see digital dissolve more into our surroundings.Of course, people like Weiser have been talking about this for a long time now.But things are now starting to happen in the mainstream, here and now, which pose new challenges for UX and service design. We think that in the next couple of years, a lot of UX designers are going to have the opportunity to design things that involve not just screens, but for the world around them.
What does this mean for design?Tuesday, September 28, 2010Over the next couple of years, this stuff is due to hit the mainstream and will affect the work UX designers do on an increasing basisHere’s what we think this might mean for design...
Key design challenges.Tuesday, September 28, 2010Here are a few of the key challenges we think UX designers will have to be prepared for, and some suggested ways to do thingsdifferently.We’re just working this stuff out ourselves... these are some of the issues we hope to be able to research over the next couple of years.These touch on bigger issues - they’re important for this but each is a huge topic in its own right
1. Service and interaction design needs to scale.Tuesday, September 28, 2010Classic usability tends to focus on one user, one device, one service and one task at a time.Service designers recognise that services are dynamic but we can often still get away with designing for a limited number of platforms and quite scripted scenarios.That’s all right if your interactions are fairly simple, and your service works in isolation.As embedded components come online, digital services will have to cope with increasing complexity, in 3 ways:
2. What do we do with all this data?Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Data overloadTuesday, September 28, 2010More and more data is being produced in both the physical and digital space, and can be shared in near real time.How do we as designers leverage this huge amount of increasing complex data to help enrich the services we design, and aid us indesigning new forms of services?
4. Ensuring users retain control of their data.Tuesday, September 28, 2010
“There’s a fine line between pervasive computing and invasive computing.” Victor RozekTuesday, September 28, 2010Privacy management is much more than a bunch of tick boxes and security settings. It incorporates less tangible elements such asappropriate use and a user’s ‘comfort level’ etc. These may be determined by the users’ sense of control over their data and its use.The level of ‘appropriate use’ is again dependent on the user and their culture.As designers we need to set ‘sensible’ defaults for users and allow them to quickly and easily manage their privacy settings, whilstclearly communicating the pros and cons of their choices. This is an increasingly difficult challenge as many users can barelymanage Facebook privacy settings.
5. Interactions become tangible.Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Thinking is physicalTuesday, September 28, 2010Cognitive scientists now talk about ‘embodied cognition’*: the idea that the way we think is shaped by, and inseparable from, ourphysical experiences of interacting with the world. (Dourish, McCullough)For example, the idea that up is good and down is bad is rooted in your physical experience of living with gravity. “I’m feeling downtoday” is bad. Up (and fast) is good... “I’m feeling upbeat”. We say someone is ‘boiling over with rage‘ or ‘steam is coming out of theirears’: understanding anger through containment of liquids. These are English language examples, but the principles seem to beuniversal.Cognitive scientists would argue that this perception of up and down is a very fundamental basic level category or building block ofthought used to make sense of other, more abstract things.Embodied interaction seeks to make physical designs make sense to us through harnessing the way we understand the world throughphysical experience. At the moment, much tangible interaction work is happening in R&D labs...
7. User research and prototyping methods.Tuesday, September 28, 2010There are two big challenges here...Understanding needs for things people are not yet familiar withPrototyping and testing complex systems
How can UX people get started?Tuesday, September 28, 2010Everything we’ve talked about is happening now, somewhere.We think this is about to affect the work that many of us do, even if just in small ways.We’d like to suggest a few ways in which UX designers can start to think about this.