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What Pokemon Go and Smart Kitchens Taught Us About Design

With Ron Edelen

Ron is looking at how non-standard platforms are changing development. Some current design trends driven by mobile include the use of motion and stacking as UI techniques to make better use of the screen real estate. Also, lots of micro interactions and scrolling rather than tap & load experiences.

Some non-web trends and advanced platforms to consider. Massive screens (some with touch interfaces). Responsive design can be adapted to include 85" screens or even possibly VR. Proximity sensors such as those appearing in cars, or in the Nest thermostat are used to adapt a display when you are present, often bringing up more data only when you are close to the display.

Pokemon Go has been evoking all kinds of new behaviours in players. Particularly engaging in a game that takes place in physical space. These virtual experiences are creating real connections. For example, a bakery can throw out a lure to attract players. A player who then catches a rare Pokemon at that bakery while eating there will have a heightened experience that includes a more intense memory of the bakery. Pokemon Go adds virtual value to physical spaces.

The game, however, can stress service models Innovative businesses will come up with new services that accommodate the needs of players.

League of Legends currently has more subscribers than Netflix and Spotify combined. There is an interesting contrast between standard UX design and game design. While UX typically focuses on removing problems for users, game design is about giving problems to the user. Gaming is rife with interesting UX ideas. Ie. Dragon Age’s use of a bullet time like effect to pause action and let the player assign moves to a group of characters.

Ron presents a case study of a project he worked on for FP&L (Florida Power and Light). It was to be a booth installation that would explain all the different ways a person could save energy. The objective however was to sell future ideas, not current products. There were a number of challenges: they were confined to a very small space, users wouldn’t immediately understand what the exhibit was about, they had no idea what appliances would be used in the display and had no idea what the lighting on location would be like.

Their general thought process revolved around the idea that as we become more co-dependent on tech we need to evolve the interface along with it.

For example, a smart kitchen would be highly aware of the people in it and their needs. Smart clothing would monitor a user and inform the kitchen of their needs and requirements. Projectors above the kitchen counters can be used to help with food preparation by projecting ingredients lists and step by step instructions. The food prep directions might change if the presence of your child is detected and it’s known that the child doesn’t like something in the recipe. Your fridge might prompt you to drink water after a workout.

An audience member asked about the creep-out factor of having this level of person awareness in a home - all the cameras and microphones required for this kind of experience. Ron suggested that as new generations grow with these technologies, the creep out factor ceases to exist.

As these technologies become more common, homeowners will start to expect companies to provide better warranties and maintenance plans on IoT type devices.