Panel on Innovation through Observation and Design #Mobilize

September 10, 2009

in Accelerating Innovation, Mobility, research, VoIP

Some interesting comments although few examples provided. As always, good research and design is a mix of talented people and the result of powerful conversations.


Innovation through Observation and Design

Some of the best products and designs of the last 10 years have been derived from the study of human behavior. Landmark companies like Apple, IDEO and Intel have used ethnographic studies to identify what we (as consumers) actually do, not just what we say we do. The insights are astonishing and have fueled the creation of great products and businesses.

Yuri van Geest MSc. in Strategy and Marketing, Mobile Monday Amsterdam, TEDx Amsterdam, Trend8 Moderator

  • Prashant Agarwal Managing Director, Fjord New York,Fjord
  • Robin Boyar Founder, thinktank research & strategy
  • Jesse James Garrett President and Founder, Adaptive Path
  • Denise Gershbein Creative Director, frog design
  • Crysta Metcalf Principal Staff Anthropologist, Social Media Research Lab, Motorola

I’ve captured some notes under general headings:

Observation and Design
Observation and its integration into design depends on where you come from. Most that do UI work come from some other background. There’s a need to blend the two or multiple different perspectives. Issues when Research dictates design and so it can be misused and yet it is possible to frame as an input to the creative process.

Opportunities and Markets
No one has cracked mobile marketing and thus a huge place for innovation. Now we talk context and now it must be much more than that. My device knows a lot more about me and can anticipate and act on. Augmented Reality has a lot to do with location and that will both combine it into one experience and that moment when we move from looking at a device to looking through a lens. “You don’t always have a pencil – you always have a cellphone” so how do we use these devices to make us more mobile and to become more usable. As the barriers between these technologies and networks break down we will see new opportunities where services will work across platforms. Consider how we will tie devices together and how do you supplement the tied experiences. Eg how look at using a mobile device in a social TV experience.

Best Experience
Kindle ties to account – get device and it is yours. Nothing else you have to do. The books etc are there. It’s a great experience and want to see it more. iPhone – map the trail, on the trail and take notes etc. Enables us to extend our intelligence and engage more broadly.

It’s the conversations that enable iteration to find innovative solutions. Inspiration comes from people and getting a variety of different perspectives and thus different mindsets.

Bifurcation of two audiences x and y and then those that grew up in an analogue world. The more advanced handsets are not going to the younger generation. The apps for mobile aren’t meshing with a more affluent audience that didn’t necessarily grow up with this. Counterpoint offered! Get a Mac.. vs HP and N97mobile. Another example … what do contacts and different groups mean. We tend to think people categories groups but when looked at the design etc they realize that it often doesn’t necessarily help them engage in behaviors that they want to involve them in?

Should we assume that the mobile should be connected with the PC?? What is the most unusual way of gathering data. Example coffee. Asked re dumb tourist… what to get the best cup of coffee in London. They didn’t know we were researchers etc. To find faster more flexible ways to find the answers. Lots of ways to make it adaptable.

Question that you ask…
How do you beat Apple at their game? How do you use design as a differentiators. Once you purchase an Apple you have an extended relationship with them. They make it an experience. Marketing is more about engagement today. So now do ‘concepting’ work that way. Not only knowing about the current state but also understanding trends and patterns — must be a future caster so you can make meaning and create patterns out of this. Must go beyond the technology and mobile space. Must look way beyond and being inspired by things that go beyond the digital space by uncovering all the things people are doing. Need to look at other behavior. Must go further. Must take the engineers, designers, etc into the field so everyone has and takes part to really understand the customer/users. Maybe there will be later tech or marketing constraints so need them involved upfront.

Question re multi-touch. For awhile each application will have a different set of gestures. Eg Android vis iPhone is completely different. The expectation is that we want multi-processing and multi-layered process. No getting around the battery-life. Still have to fix the battery life. Apple needs to do more with Push.

  • Minimize clicks but the displays remain too small. So have to get better at rich information and visual design.
  • Anything you develop give it to 5 yr old and 75 yr old.
  • Keep in mind the purpose the app serves in the light of the users.. when where, context etc.
  • What is meant by innovation and how open are you to broad?
  • Don’t look at mobile design in isolation and look at how it fits with the total ecosystem of devices

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