As someone who has followed the web and technology landscape for the last 15 years, I have noticed that the companies which have proven dominant are those that demonstrate what I would call a network mindset. By which I mean, they grok the emergent properties of network effects, and use that to establish a dominant position that is remarkably hard to replicate.
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.
Whether or not Microsoft paid too much, I have little doubt that Skype is an extremely valuable property (and I don't say this just because they're a client.) I've seen Skype embed itself into my life unlike other services. At home, it's for video calls with my children's grandparents. At work, it's for lightweight video conferencing between our offices, and with our clients. So while Skype began as a voice calling service (and I'm sure that's how it's still primarily used), it's unique utility really became clear with how it handles video calling, and, as bandwidth continues to improve, I suspect this activity will only increase.
The thing about video calling, though, is that it has been “just around the corner” for over 40 years, beginning with the AT&T Picturephone. According to Stanley Kubrick, we would be using them by 2001:
I have the good fortune of having a number of industrial designers as friends. As is the case with most people in the creative field, we have spent a considerable amount of time discussing our work. Throughout our conversations, there have been two tracks of thinking that impressed me. The first was a commitment to craft and an understanding of its importance to the final product's quality. The second was a sense of pragmatism and, for lack of a better word, accountability for how the design would impact the final product. I loved to hear designers take execution into account during the creative process due to the fact that I was someone who was often responsible for creating the final product. What struck me the most during our conversations was the deep familiarity my industrial design colleagues had with the materials used in the design. One friend in particular explained the necessity of understanding the materials, because without that knowledge, it would prove challenging to understand if the materials were appropriate to use in the first place. Strangely, that consideration for materials has traditionally been absent from design in the digital world. In my experience, designers have often expressed the sentiment that getting mired down in the details of technology would only limit the creative process. Unfortunately, the lack of understanding in craft would often lead to irreparable problems with the final product. Designers of digital products need to have that same dedication to craft as those in other design disciplines. That dedication to craft begins with an understanding of the methods and materials used in their trade.
I was fortunate to participate in Pulse Camp, for the United Nations’ Global Pulse initiative. Global Pulse is quite progressive and ambitious in scope and is a challenge to summarize succinctly. Luckily, their own description does just that.
“Recognizing both the urgent need for more timely and actionable information and the unparalleled opportunities, the Secretary-General called on the UN system in April 2009 to establish a monitoring system (Global Pulse) to better track the impact of compound crises on vulnerable populations.”
Background of Global Pulse/Pulse Camp
It goes without saying that a platform such as Global Pulse could have a…
On December 8th, Adaptive Path hosted an event about Smart Things.
You know…real, physical things that we use…only smarter and tricked out with information and stuff. The things that will make the glorious-ubiquitous-connected future come into being. And be awesome.
The event was a conversation on the themes in Mike Kuniavsky‘s recently released book, Smart Things. It was a lively talk, featuring Mike (author, founder of ThingM, and one of the original founders of Adaptive Path) and David Merrill of Sifteo. Adaptive Path’s Peter Merholz facilitated a Q&A discussion.
We wanted to…
A Brief History of the Future
In 1991, Mark Weiser of Xerox PARC wrote an article for Scientific American titled The Computer for the 21st Century (PDF link here). Arguably the father of ubiquitous computing, Weiser predicted a future of computing characterized by an ecosystem of mobile screen-based devices that would seamlessly communicate with one another. In such a system, we would distribute our computation across multiple devices, effortlessly tossing content and activity between them, continually renegotiating these devices and the spaces they occupy based on our changing needs, tasks and contexts.
Weiser’s vision included three device classes, segmented based…
C’mon, admit it. You’ve drooled over the nifty augmented reality stuff and thought…”gee, how can I get involved?”
Look no further! Come to the Layar Meetup at Adaptive Path this Thursday and learn how you, too can make augmented reality your reality. Meet the ultra-cool Layar team at Adaptive Path this Thursday, Aug 12, 6-8pm.
A little about Layar:
The Layar Reality Browser shows what is around you by displaying real time digital information on top of the real world as seen through the camera of your mobile phone (aka: augmented reality.) We augment the real world…
Every product is a design theory embodied. Designers and developers make something based on their theory about what is good and fun and useful and enjoyable, ideally for a particular audience. The theory is tested when people begin to use the product and we discover how closely our assumptions and people’s reality line up.
In the spirit of theory testing, the Nielsen Norman Group recently posted findings from their iPad Usability study where they reported on the usability of 35 iPad apps and reported that the experiment to date is pretty much a failure from a usability perspective:
User Experience Intensive (UXI) is happily underway in Amsterdam! Day 1 (Design Strategy) kicked off on Monday with Henning, and today the Design Research session is going strong with Paula. Andrew and I are in the wings, prepping for Day 3 (Information Architecture) and Day 4 (Interaction Design.) Last night was the official opening party for the Adaptive Path Amsterdam studio , and the room was buzzing with UX folks from across Europe.
I landed in Amsterdam yesterday and had a chance to walk around the city and drink in the canals, leany/tilty buidings and preparations for Queens Day. But what I noticed…