Tag Archives: Interface design

My 2010 predictions for Fontanel (in Dutch)

The leading Dutch design weblog Fontanel asked me (and some other guys I really admire) to write down our thoughts for 2010.

The article is in Dutch. For the English readers you can try to read it using Google Translate.

screenshot Fontanel

In 2010 vermengt internet zich nog meer met apparaten, apparaten die weer aangesloten zijn op diensten. Het web grijpt op deze manier veel dieper in op ons dagelijkse leven, op het gebied van gezondheid, productiviteit, afspraken en vermaak. 2010 is het jaar van het omnipresente internet.

Mobiel
Internet op mobiel is geëvolueerd tot een markt die qua veelzijdigheid inmiddels ver voorbij de ringtonemarkt is. Op de mobiele markt is de technologische race – even – voorbij en is er ruimte voor verdieping. Wat kun je nu eigenlijk met GPS, bewegingssensoren en internet. Met welke diensten maakt je iemands leven beter én wat maakt je als bedrijf interessant in een markt met honderdduizend applicaties waarbij er per persoon slechts enkele dagelijks gebruikt worden.

Slimme apparaten
Technologische vooruitgang en prijs werken naar elkaar toe. Dit heeft inmiddels een punt bereikt waarop je RFID in speelgoed kunt stoppen, WiFi in een weegschaal, of een draadloze energiemeter in je meterkast. Informatie voegt waarde toe. Hoe meer informatie je kunt maken hoe meer waarde je toe voegt aan het product dat je (al) verkoopt. Nike+ maakt de schoenen niet beter, wel de loopervaring. Hoe? Door informatie op te slaan en te duiden.

Acceptatie AR
Augmented reality is geland in 2009. Mede dankzij het Nederlandse Layar heeft de techniek een gezicht gekregen en zit Nederland in de voorhoede. Augmented reality is van zijn science fiction imago af en tastbaar geworden. Dit maakt het eenvoudiger voor mensen om er toepassingen mee te bedenken. In 2010 is augmented reality de hypefase voorbij en zullen we nog heel erg veel nieuwe praktische toepassingen gaan zien.

Privacy
Paradoxaal genoeg zijn we zelf het grootste gevaar voor onze privacy. Via Location Based Services (LBS) gaan we steeds meer informatie over onszelf geven. Waar we zijn, wat we er van vinden en met wie we er zijn. In 2010 zullen er diensten komen die uit de veelheid van verschillende sociale netwerken heldere analyses kunnen maken en deze informatie perspectief kunnen geven. Wat betekenen al jouw sociale activiteiten in tijd? Naast scepsis, zal uiteindelijk het voordeel winnen want zo’n dienst kan door efficiency en patronen ons dagelijks leven verbeteren. Informatie is waarde.

Informatie
2010 is het jaar van de interface designers en informatiespecialisten. Als je weet hoe je extra waarde aan informatie kunt maken en zinvol kunt ontsluiten maak je relevante diensten. De creatieve sector zal zich steeds vaker in een positie zien dat ze in plaats van campagnes functionele diensten aan het ontwikkelen zijn.

Lees ook wat Victor D. Ponten, Luis Mendo en Marcel Kampman schreven.

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Interface experiments for a new live report

Over the last few years I’ve worked on different live reports for different kind of festivals. I like what you can make with (almost) realtime information based on the API’s of other services. For the Urban Explorers festival in May this year I started working on a new interface.

The amount of aggregated information can be overwhelming for people, so I’m looking at how can you keep it understandable for new visitors. Or in the case of Urban Explorers for people who never visited or will never visit the festival. UE is a music and art festival that takes place in different venues in the city of Dordrecht.

Blip API
The idea is to start working with the Blip API. And cover the festival with an interface that only shows video. There will be Twitter coverage and blog posts, but the idea is to create a narrative that can be sorted based on people, performances and maybe venues.

I haven’t exactly figured out what it should look like, but just started to make some interfaces to see what works and what doesn’t. I you have ideas or great examples, please share them in the comments.

Last week the Next Web conference was organized in the Netherlands. This tech conference generates a lot of online media like tagged twitter messages. And was a perfect try-out for working with streaming video and twitter. I combined some old scripts and designs and made http://www.wilbertbaan.nl/thenexthack.


The Next Hack from Wilbert Baan on Vimeo.


The Next Web live video + tweets experiment – Yunoo presentation from Wilbert Baan on Vimeo.

I looked at a full screen interface that could work in a pop-up or fill your entire screen. It looks a bit like my old videoblog (http://www.hypernarrative.com/videoblog/index.html). I like these type of interfaces for live events because they are more experience based (click on what you see) instead of search based (like youtube).


Interface Experiment 1 from Wilbert Baan on Vimeo.

I started moving the video, since all tag result pages will give different amount of results the blocked interface looks nice, but it has limits in what it can show. And it looks weird if you haven’t got enough video to fill the entire interface. Both interfaces below are completely dynamic and can show only one item or 30.


Interface Experiment 2 from Wilbert Baan on Vimeo.


Interface Experiment 3 from Wilbert Baan on Vimeo.

I just make interfaces
It’s amazing that all those examples are made on top of infrastructure of other people. Blip is perfect because multiple people can send video using a mobile phone and I can get the source files from the server using the Blip API. It’s pretty weird how much difference you can make with only interfaces.

Last.fm Lovewall
Last year I made the Last.fm lovewall. A bluetooth based installation that matches people based on Last.fm data. This installation or something different build on this technology might find a spot at the festival as well.


Eclectro Last.fm Lovewall (interactive bluetooth installation) from Wilbert Baan on Vimeo.

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The underestimated value of marching backwards into the future

For an interaction designer not using the potential of a medium is horrible. There is this new medium with new a paradigm, new possibilities and you are using it the same way as the old medium. Let’s call it a transition period. McLuhan called it marching backwards into the future.

The value of the transition
For a designer there is nothing to gain in the transition period. It’s pretty frustrating to design the same old things on a new platform. We love using the new challenges a new medium gives us. And early adopters love designs and applications made for new media too.

And despite this there is incredible value in the transition. All thanks to the mental model. People are used in using something. And especially with digital media they have a mental model that tells them where they can find whatever they want. This is important when there is a new medium. They don’t understand the new medium, yet. But they do know how to navigate through your information as long it is structured the way it was on the old medium. And a large group of users will like it. See it as a beacon.

Examples

From paper to web
The newspaper where I work has this online image (pdf) based version. That looks exactly like the printed version, only online. From a web design perspective the interaction design is horrible. But it works for most users, since they have the mental model of the paper version. They know where to find what they are looking for. And this makes it easy to produce, and valuable for a large group of customers.

From television to web to iPhone
Dutch teletext is a very popular news service on television. TheY transported it to the web into an interface that doesn’t really make sense for the medium. And it was also transported to widgets and the iPhone. Creating a large group of very satisfied users.

From web to iPhone
The popular Dutch newswebsite Nu.nl is transporting the news website to the mobile sphere. Their readers except a similar experience on the iPhone as on the website.

From books to the Kindle
The Amazon Kindle and other eReader-devices are bringing the experience of reading books to the digital world. With a strong focus on recreating the same reading experience on this new device. In first instance they are neglecting (in communicating) the possibilities of these new devices that range from using hypernarrative structures, non-linear storytelling to importing the friends from your social network as characters in a book.

Why transporting the mental model to a new medium?
You slowly convert the mass from one medium to the other. It is often cheap to do and you will create a very popular service. It also gives you extra time and freedom to make something that is tailored to the medium. You earn some extra money and you are still connected with your users on the new medium.

Just some thoughts
How long can you stretch this? And would it for example make sense to convert the newspaper (paper version) to a pdf and make it viewable on your iPhone? Most readers will have the mental model of the paper version in mind and reading and browsing pdf-files on the iPhone gives a pretty good user experience.

Does it also work the other way around? For example the news website Nu.nl started on the web, can they transport the mental model used on the website to paper as well?

Do you have examples of successful companies that transported their content from one medium to another without altering the interface or way it works too much?

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