Touch screen installations are by no means new. We have been using them in airports and ATMs for years now. With the advances in computing and gestural touch interfaces, we are starting to see them even be considered at the local Ann Taylor. This trend has often times made processes more streamlined and allowed people to interact with information and services in ways that were impossible a few years back. There is a downside to this however, germs. New studies have shown that our touchscreen devices, most notably our iPads are germ magnets. So while we should not be running back to our caves in fear, we need to understand the implications of touch-based interfaces — especially in the context of public environments. One place in particular where touch-based interactions pose a serious hazard are hospitals. The CDC estimates that 1.7 million hospital-associated infections, or Nosocomial infections occur each year with 99,000 resulting in death. When germs are a deadly issue, the last thing you want is to have thousands of people touching the same thing.
In Adaptive Path’s newsletter of September 28, I shared my views on the European UX scene. In response, several people wrote to me with additions to the landscape. Below are the most interesting ones, followed by my impressions of 3 more European conferences: Euro IA, UX Russia and Design by Fire. And yes, I will count Russia as part of Europe in this respect.
Updates to the European UX Landscape
I did not mention UXCamp Europe, but that event attracted 400 attendees last May and plans are forming for next year’s event. (thanks, Henning Grote!)
I did mention one London IA…
Browsing the internet, I haven’t noticed much basic guidance for visual designers new to the UX world. A few get a start here, but many matriculate from traditional backgrounds like branding and print, or areas with semi-similar processes like interactive ad agencies and in-house web departments. Often these are positions designing for singular needs. Move product. Maintain presence. Communicate. These objectives tend to explode when making the transition to a UX process, which can be unsettling. If you are getting started in the field, these are some habits that might be helpful.
1. Develop an eye for patterns.
During a recent research and strategy project at Adaptive Path, our team uncovered a fascinating pattern around media multitasking—most participants between 20 and 30 years of age watched TV or movies while engaging with laptops, iPads, and smart phones. Our team was able to categorize this behavior into levels of multitasking ranging from backgrounding, which was more common, to full on media multitasking.
I am guilty of this behavior too with multiple applications running, responding to email and reading SMS—all while watching TV. But the fundamental question our team debated was why we needed to attend to all of these…
Several years ago I wrote about the virtues of Keynote as a prototyping tool. In a nutshell: it’s fast, it doesn’t require code writing, and you can turn it into flash and present it over the web.
This week I was shocked with the inventive but pragmatic application of Keynote as a prototyping tool for iPad. See Amir Khella here using Keynote to prototype a realistic iPad application, and (if you skip ahead in the video) run it on the iPad:
Here’s more about how he did it.
Such a good way to test out your concepts…
Design work isn’t always glorious. Recently I had the good fortune of being tossed into the middle of a project that had been going on for quite some time. Much of the “designerly” work was finished, and the team had already switched into production mode. They handed me a stack of wireframes and asked me to expand them in some modest directions.
“Great! Can do!” I said.
And then I stared at them, paralyzed, for an hour.
“I do this all the time!” I kept thinking. “Why can’t I figure out what to do with this?”
As an advocate of design participation in nontraditional design areas, I was glad to hear about (but bummed I didn’t attend) the Glen Cove Conference on Strategic Design and Public Policy (my former professor, Richard Buchanan, apparently participated). If you’re interested in the role of design in public policy, take a look through the conference writeup by Lucy Kimbell.
As co-organizer, she states it was “conceived of as a small workshop which would bring together – for the first time, as far as we were aware - three groups: policymakers concerned with security in intrastate contexts and post-conflict situations,...
I’ve been using a Nexus One for a month or so now and there is one singular annoyance that continues to frustrate - the heavy reliance on the Menu button to access critical app functionality.
During SXSW, I was talking to a friend who works at Google about this issue and he pointed out something I hadn’t thought about. Turns out, this is a by-product of an evolving operating system for multiple hardware devices. While Android officially requires a touchscreen for Android devices that want to have the ability to install 3rd party apps, there isn’t much…
I’m dropping the word “user” from user experience. Flame on.
First, I’m not suggesting anyone forget the user – the person using the thing – from our consideration. Quite the contrary. I believe that the user should always come first in any design discussion, even initially above business needs.
What I am proposing is that today’s consumer electronics are much more than a traditional human-computer interaction. It’s no longer enough to think solely about the user and how she works with the device. It’s not good enough to think about the user’s context or the persona….
Yesterday I watched two insightful and thought-provoking TED Talks with experience design themes.
The first is Stefana Broadbent’s “How the Internet Enables Intimacy”. She presents meaningful commentary on the reality of how internet tools are used in a social, and intimate fashion. And I think her findings might surprise you.
The second is Pranav Mistry’s presentation on how he’s been trying to more directly connect the digital and analog worlds. His SixthSense technology is awesome, but what I hadn’t realized was how important it was for him to figure out how to do this at low…