Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wednesday at Design for Mobile 2010

Nancy Proctor started out the day for us by talking about the challenges of using mobile technologies in the museum space. Today, museums are both choosing and being forced into figuring out how to take themselves into the future. Nancy's argument was that just relying on technology will not let them get there. Instead, a modern museum must understand what it has, and do everything possible to understand what their audience wants.

After a break, Scott Jenson came back and focused his speech on the coming zombie apocalypse. The question he posed to the audience was: why can't we take the mess we have now, and the chaos that the mobile space is about to become, and build something to make the little pieces understand each other? With the cost of chips rapidly dropping, mobile devices are going to be everywhere, and the potential will be limitless. At that point, the device you have might not matter; instead, your choice will be based on what apps it has, and how well it integrates with everything else you're already doing.

Carol Taylor Mobile Web – Devolution or Evolution?

Josh Clark in his talk titled: iPad Design Headaches: Take Two Tablets, Call Me in the Morning took us through a tour of the massive trial and error being attempted on the iPad. Designers are being given this new object and have been asked to figure out how to use it best, but are sometimes not given the time to actually do it well. Everything from Greedy Pixel Syndrome to FrankenInterfaces are the result. Lessons can be learned from what came before, both of what you should and should not do, especially with something as dynamic as the iPad.

Steven Hoober, Designing Device Specifications

After lunch Kevin Arthur, in How do you evaluate gestures for your system?, talked about a very in-depth research study showing Synaptic's work on gestures. In between results of the study and suggestions on running studies like it, he gave a little bit of insight into how computers understood gestures. As useful as gestures are and as powerful as they can be, gestures have to be taught, since they don't have any affordances.

In Between Here and There: Navigation Design for Mobile Ryan Unger described the 3-minute rule: users need to take little bites from mobile phones in order to appreciate them. He stressed the importance of searching outside of your comfort zone for new ideas. By crumpling up old ideas people are able to redefine what they thought was possible.

Dan Mauney then took a look at a study done to figure out which gestures people actually use in his talk entitled What gestures do people actually use?. His international study asked people about which gestures they associate with which actions; and he tried to see if a pattern of use could be built from that study. In an age where touchscreens and gestures are going to be everywhere, understanding what those gestures need to be is even more important.

Tim Deluca-Smith explained how consumers tend to remain price sensitive and will forgo features for price. In his talk titled Do Smartphone Users Need to be Smart?, he came to the conclusion that this Is most likely because users do not understand the quality of such devices.

After our break that was sponsored by Artisan Talent, Nika Smith from Blink Interactive talked about a study she did, focusing on the usability of different smartphone keyboards. The two devices she centered on were the iPhone and the Blackberry, then had those users test out the Evo 4G and the new ShapeWriter keyboard. Some of the results were what people would expect from our devices, but the surprises showed why these kinds of studies should be done.

In Designing a billion dollar user experience Karlyn Neel explained how users want to feel smart for the decisions they make. The new eBay app exercised constraint and displays information in an easy, efficient, and simple UI so consumers can easily understand it. She shared many of their design principles and the use cases they set out for the app and the stories of their failures and how and why they got to the end product.

Corey Pressman wrapped up the day with the talk World Class: Global Mobile Textbook Strategy which was about the future of textbooks on mobiles. He started with the first mobile, ubiquitous technology: stone tools; then connected that to what's happening in the field of mobile devices. On top, Corey layered a call to action, trying to do everything possible to bring an ecosystem of information to the next billion mobiles.

We ended the day with some drinks, entertainment and socializing with the fine folks from Motorola at their event: Mixing. Mingling. Motorola..

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