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Systems, discontinuities and thinking beyond UI:
Key questions for designing connected
products
Claire Rowland (with thank...
Hello
2
• Product/UX strategy consultant
• From software UX background
• Specialising in IoT/connected
products/hardware e...
2015 3
Peak hype!
2016 4
So hype it
had its
own hype
cycle
2017 5
Not one
thing
anymore,
but a
bunch of
things
enabled by
connected
hardware
http://www.digitaltrends.com/home/heck-internet-things-dont-yet/
-…
Shiny visions of the future
…but reality can be less stellar
‘It’s a bit glitchy but it’s OK, you just have to be in the room at the same time’. 

Act...
…and security is a serious concern
9
Designing
hardware
Designing web/mobile
apps to control or display
data from devices
When we think of design for connect...
Designing the parts separately won’t
result in a great experience
Designers need to create a coherent UX
for the whole sys...
11
UX
BusinessTechnology
12
Key questions to ask
1.Is it a product… …or a service?
2.How does your product work……and how can it fail?
3.Is your bus...
1
Is it a product…
…or a service?
13
14
Connected
product
15
Hardware-
enabled
service
16
Many products are a mix
17
Connected things challenge
the nature of ownership
2
How does your product work…
…and how can it fail?
18
19
Putting computing into real world objects
enables awesome things
http://www.gyenno.com/spoon-en
20
…but it also enables
new ways to fail
“The battery died. I need
to charge my wine bottle.”
The Verge review of kuvee.co...
21
smartbe.co
Some connected products have the potential to fail in
worse ways than the products they replace
Ask: how do devices connect?
22
Apparently similar products can work in different ways
Ask: which code
runs where?
23
When parts of the system lose
connectivity or power, what
stops working?
24
Any product that users rely on should
maintain basic functions in the
temporary absence of connectivity.
3
Is your business model
a good fit for user expectations?
25
26
The risk of underestimating
support/service costs
via https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/science-technology/864968/Ca...
27
Can you persuade users to pay a subscription?
Unlocking your
front door:
£10/month
?
Remote
concierge:
£20/month
?
4
How do we design not just for individual
UIs but for distributed UX?
28
This model from: Cross-platform service user exp...
29
Caution: contains app UIs 🙄
30
Caution: does not advocate ‘No UI’! 😬
We’ll get to that later.
Image via davehall.io
Composition
31
Which bit does what?

How should the user
understand that?
Similar products, different interaction decisions
32Images: Tado, British Gas
(Nearly) all interactions via
phone app
Inter...
Consistency
33
What’s appropriate, given
different form factors and
conflicting conventions?
Many, often conflicting,
forms of consistency
34
Consistency with cultural
expectations or industry standards
Consistency
w...
Industry standards,
and hardware
conventions
35
Top priority: terminology
36
However different the
UIs, identical functions
must have the same
name
Images: British Gas
5
How often do devices connect?
How responsive are they?
37
Continuity:
Designing the network
experience
38
Don’t just think of
devices and UIs - design
for the spaces in
between
39
Continuity does not mean
seamlessness
It usually means
Handling delays and
sporadic connectivity
gracefully
Latency: Hue over WiFi and 4G
40
[video]
Connected device
interactions often break
guidance on response
times
41
https://www.nngroup.com/articles/powers-of-10-time...
At worst, latency/delays in
connecting can undermine
the value of a product
42
Users don’t know whether the device is
work...
Handling latency: the
impact on UX design
43
A conventional switch both confirms the
user action and shows the state of the...
Option 1: the white
lie
44
Pretend it’s working.
Backpedal if something
goes wrong.
Drawback: can make you
look flakey.
[vi...
Off
In progress
On
45
Option 2: 

be transparent
Acknowledge action,
show that it is in progress.
Confirm only once it’s
don...
46
Drawback: can introduce perceived possibility of failure into every interaction.
Intermittent
connectivity:
British Gas Hive
47
[video]
The need to save battery
life means many devices
are offline most of the time
48
The viability of a product can hinge on
the...
Power sources shape the
nature of the interactions you
can offer, and the data you
can extract
49
• A mains powered sensor ...
6
How do we give users
visibility and control of system
functions and privacy?
50
51
No UI is neither
feasible nor desirable
52
If you’re going to infer the user’s needs you have
to get it right
For a… An AI model should be….
Curated experience

e...
53
Algorithms reflect and entrench our biases
• …
What are the unseen rules governing the system’s behaviour??
54
Are explicable systems the answer?
https://www.darpa.mil/program/explainable-artificial-
intelligence
“Enable human user...
Privacy UX: honest
conversations about
the value of data
56
It’s hard to
understand what
can be inferred
from your data...
Home energy consumption while at home all day
Home energ...
57
https://www.theguardian.com/
world/2018/jan/28/fitness-
tracking-app-gives-away-
location-of-secret-us-army-
bases
58
GDPR is a chance to
improve things
• Companies need a valid reason to
collect a piece of data, and must be
clear about ...
59
Visibility of
what is shared
and collected
“On the Internet Everybody Knows You’re a Whatchamacallit” by Joseph Lindley...
60
Redesigning informed
consent
“GDPR says you can’t just have a huge
swathe of terms and conditions and get
somebody to t...
61
It takes a team to make an IoT product
1.It takes a diverse team to make an IoT product or service… more diverse
than f...
62
Recap: ask these questions!
1.Is it a product… …or a service?
2.How does your product work……and how can it fail?
3.Is y...
Thank you!
63
Image: BBC
64@clurr | claire@clairerowland.com
www.designingconnectedproducts.com
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UX Scotland 2018: Systems, discontinuities and thinking beyond UI: Key questions for designing connected products

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Key questions to ask when designing for connected products/hardware-enabled services:

Is it a product, or a service?
How does your product work……and how can it fail?
Is your business model a good fit for user expectations?
How do we design not just for individual UIs but for distributed UX?
How often do devices connect? How responsive are they?
How do we give users transparency and control?

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UX Scotland 2018: Systems, discontinuities and thinking beyond UI: Key questions for designing connected products

  1. 1. Systems, discontinuities and thinking beyond UI: Key questions for designing connected products Claire Rowland (with thanks to Martin Charlier) UXScotland 2018 1 Photo: Stefan Siebert via https://www.wired.com/2014/08/absurd-creature-of-the-week-siphonophore/
  2. 2. Hello 2 • Product/UX strategy consultant • From software UX background • Specialising in IoT/connected products/hardware enabled services: everything from health devices to industrial systems • AKA Thermostat Woman
  3. 3. 2015 3 Peak hype!
  4. 4. 2016 4 So hype it had its own hype cycle
  5. 5. 2017 5 Not one thing anymore, but a bunch of things enabled by connected hardware
  6. 6. http://www.digitaltrends.com/home/heck-internet-things-dont-yet/ -… Shiny visions of the future
  7. 7. …but reality can be less stellar ‘It’s a bit glitchy but it’s OK, you just have to be in the room at the same time’. 
 Actual review of the Wink hub
  8. 8. …and security is a serious concern
  9. 9. 9 Designing hardware Designing web/mobile apps to control or display data from devices When we think of design for connected products we often think of… Exploring novel, alternative UI paradigms
  10. 10. Designing the parts separately won’t result in a great experience Designers need to create a coherent UX for the whole system 10
  11. 11. 11 UX BusinessTechnology
  12. 12. 12 Key questions to ask 1.Is it a product… …or a service? 2.How does your product work……and how can it fail? 3.Is your business model a good fit for user expectations? 4.How do we design not just for individual UIs but for distributed UX? 5.How often do devices connect? How responsive are they? 6.How do we give users transparency and control?
  13. 13. 1 Is it a product… …or a service? 13
  14. 14. 14 Connected product
  15. 15. 15 Hardware- enabled service
  16. 16. 16 Many products are a mix
  17. 17. 17 Connected things challenge the nature of ownership
  18. 18. 2 How does your product work… …and how can it fail? 18
  19. 19. 19 Putting computing into real world objects enables awesome things http://www.gyenno.com/spoon-en
  20. 20. 20 …but it also enables new ways to fail “The battery died. I need to charge my wine bottle.” The Verge review of kuvee.com
 • Power • Connectivity • Interoperability • Service provider goes out of business • Failure to account for real world context
  21. 21. 21 smartbe.co Some connected products have the potential to fail in worse ways than the products they replace
  22. 22. Ask: how do devices connect? 22 Apparently similar products can work in different ways
  23. 23. Ask: which code runs where? 23 When parts of the system lose connectivity or power, what stops working?
  24. 24. 24 Any product that users rely on should maintain basic functions in the temporary absence of connectivity.
  25. 25. 3 Is your business model a good fit for user expectations? 25
  26. 26. 26 The risk of underestimating support/service costs via https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/science-technology/864968/Canary-Home-Security-Camera-Monthly-Subscription-UK-Price
  27. 27. 27 Can you persuade users to pay a subscription? Unlocking your front door: £10/month ? Remote concierge: £20/month ?
  28. 28. 4 How do we design not just for individual UIs but for distributed UX? 28 This model from: Cross-platform service user experience: A field study and an initial framework. / Wäljas, Minna; Segerståhl, Katarina; Väänänen-Vainio-Mattila, Kaisa; Oinas-Kukkonen, Harri. Proceedings of the 12th international conference on Human Computer interaction with mobile devices and services MobileHCI'10, Lisbon, Portugal, September 7-10, 2010. 2010. p. 219-228. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/221270744_Cross-platform_service_user_experience_A_field_study_and_an_initial_framework
  29. 29. 29 Caution: contains app UIs 🙄
  30. 30. 30 Caution: does not advocate ‘No UI’! 😬 We’ll get to that later. Image via davehall.io
  31. 31. Composition 31 Which bit does what?
 How should the user understand that?
  32. 32. Similar products, different interaction decisions 32Images: Tado, British Gas (Nearly) all interactions via phone app Interactions mirrored on phone and device
  33. 33. Consistency 33 What’s appropriate, given different form factors and conflicting conventions?
  34. 34. Many, often conflicting, forms of consistency 34 Consistency with cultural expectations or industry standards Consistency within your own service Consistency with device/hardware expectations Consistency with platform conventions
  35. 35. Industry standards, and hardware conventions 35
  36. 36. Top priority: terminology 36 However different the UIs, identical functions must have the same name Images: British Gas
  37. 37. 5 How often do devices connect? How responsive are they? 37
  38. 38. Continuity: Designing the network experience 38 Don’t just think of devices and UIs - design for the spaces in between
  39. 39. 39 Continuity does not mean seamlessness It usually means Handling delays and sporadic connectivity gracefully
  40. 40. Latency: Hue over WiFi and 4G 40 [video]
  41. 41. Connected device interactions often break guidance on response times 41 https://www.nngroup.com/articles/powers-of-10-time-scales-in- ux/ 0.1 Second • Decisions about visual appeal • Direct manipulation 1 Second • Users notice the short delay, they stay focused on their current train of thought 10 Seconds • Users get impatient and notice that they're waiting • Breaks the flow 1 Minute • Users should be able to complete simple tasks in about 1 minute 10 Minutes 1 Hour 1 Day … We’re not used to latency and reliability issues in the physical world
  42. 42. At worst, latency/delays in connecting can undermine the value of a product 42 Users don’t know whether the device is working or not… and may assume no response is coming Nicolas Calderone via macsources.com [Ding Dong] ………………………. …………. “Oh never mind” ……….……….
  43. 43. Handling latency: the impact on UX design 43 A conventional switch both confirms the user action and shows the state of the lamp. But in reality, latency and reliability issues mean this can’t be guaranteed over a network. The user can’t tell whether their action has been executed or whether it’s in progress.
  44. 44. Option 1: the white lie 44 Pretend it’s working. Backpedal if something goes wrong. Drawback: can make you look flakey. [video]
  45. 45. Off In progress On 45 Option 2: 
 be transparent Acknowledge action, show that it is in progress. Confirm only once it’s done.
  46. 46. 46 Drawback: can introduce perceived possibility of failure into every interaction.
  47. 47. Intermittent connectivity: British Gas Hive 47 [video]
  48. 48. The need to save battery life means many devices are offline most of the time 48 The viability of a product can hinge on the cost and practicality of putting in a big enough battery to support useful functioning
  49. 49. Power sources shape the nature of the interactions you can offer, and the data you can extract 49 • A mains powered sensor can tell you how much power you’re using right now… • A battery powered sensor can tell you a general pattern of how much energy you used throughout the day SSE app
  50. 50. 6 How do we give users visibility and control of system functions and privacy? 50
  51. 51. 51 No UI is neither feasible nor desirable
  52. 52. 52 If you’re going to infer the user’s needs you have to get it right For a… An AI model should be…. Curated experience
 e.g. Netflix suggestions 70% confident it has the "right" answer Corrective experience
 e.g. turning off the lights when motion 
 is not detected 85% confident it has the "right" answer Predictive experience
 e.g. Google Assistant uses data from your home 
 to predict that you are leaving for the airport and 
 calls a taxi 99.999% confident it has the "right" answer > > > Via Mark Spates (markspates.com)
  53. 53. 53 Algorithms reflect and entrench our biases • … What are the unseen rules governing the system’s behaviour??
  54. 54. 54 Are explicable systems the answer? https://www.darpa.mil/program/explainable-artificial- intelligence “Enable human users to understand, appropriately trust, and effectively manage the emerging generation of artificially intelligent partners.”
  55. 55. Privacy UX: honest conversations about the value of data
  56. 56. 56 It’s hard to understand what can be inferred from your data... Home energy consumption while at home all day Home energy consumption while on holiday
  57. 57. 57 https://www.theguardian.com/ world/2018/jan/28/fitness- tracking-app-gives-away- location-of-secret-us-army- bases
  58. 58. 58 GDPR is a chance to improve things • Companies need a valid reason to collect a piece of data, and must be clear about what can be done with it. • Users have the right to ask what the company knows about them, and to force the company to correct wrong information or delete their data. • Companies are also prohibited from profiling users on the basis of data. image
  59. 59. 59 Visibility of what is shared and collected “On the Internet Everybody Knows You’re a Whatchamacallit” by Joseph Lindley, http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/ 84761/4/Polly_Design_Fiction_Booklet.pdf
  60. 60. 60 Redesigning informed consent “GDPR says you can’t just have a huge swathe of terms and conditions and get somebody to tick the box because that’s not meaningful consent. You have to demonstrate that they understand and the only way you’re going to do that is actually to rethink what terms and conditions look like, how they’re presented, whether they come through as part of the service, how they evolve, how you can change them… “ Professor Paul Coulton, Chair of Speculative and Game Design, Lancaster University See “The Little Book of Design Fiction for the Internet of Things”.
  61. 61. 61 It takes a team to make an IoT product 1.It takes a diverse team to make an IoT product or service… more diverse than for pure software 2.No-one fully understands everyone else’s jobs, but try to understand their biggest concerns (e.g. saving power, trying to ensure the hardware can support future features that might not be defined yet) 3.Foster communication: everyone shares what they are working on and their issues 4.What looks like a design decision could impact API design, or even firmware
  62. 62. 62 Recap: ask these questions! 1.Is it a product… …or a service? 2.How does your product work……and how can it fail? 3.Is your business model a good fit for user expectations? 4.How do we design not just for individual UIs but for distributed UX? 5.How often do devices connect? How responsive are they? 6.How do we give users transparency and control?
  63. 63. Thank you! 63 Image: BBC
  64. 64. 64@clurr | claire@clairerowland.com www.designingconnectedproducts.com

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