putting people first

by experientia
by experientia
31 March 2007

The importance of magic in designing ubiquitous user experiences

Be the first to share
putting people first
by experientia

Mike Kuniavsky
Mike Kuniavsky, founder of Adaptive Path and ThingM, gave a talk this week at ETech on The Coming Age of Magic.

Phil Windley, Associate Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University, reports:

The idea is that Moore’s Law has pushed the price of computing so low that it is nearly disposable. Computing can be everywhere. […] What does this do to people’s experiences?

People’s reaction to ubiquitous computing devices is to consider them more like animals than they do to rocks and other inanimate objects. People know their Roomba isn’t an animal, but they treat them that way. […]

Taking the desktop metaphor beyond the desktop doesn’t work. […]

The answer is magic. Not in the traditional sense that people understand magic, but specifically in the sense of enchanted objects. This isn’t pretending that technology is magic or lying about how technology works. It’s an abstraction for describing how enchanted objects work.

What sets enchanted objects apart from their static counterparts is their ability to interact. They should be
* Everyday objects
* Familiar – look and act like you’d expect them to
* Physical – there is a physical use mode
* Screenless – no assumption that there’s a text output
* Not human – no expectation that they behave like us
* Not superhuman – ultimately we’re in control of the object

There are some devices now that have these properties. He references the Ambient Orb, the Nokia Medallion, the wand-like Nintendo Wii, and so on.

Or to summarise things with this Kuniavsky quote: “The manuals for magical items have been written for hundreds of years, now it’s possible to make the objects themselves.”

Read full story

It strikes me by the way that also Philips is heading in this direction with its flower-shaped Living Colors mood lighting and the interactive Dimi prototype.

Be the first to share
Related Article
27 January 2015
New Wikipedia page on “Design for behaviour change”
The new Wikipedia page on "Design for behaviour change" starts as follows: "Design for behaviour change is a sub-category of design, which is concerned with how design can shape, or be used to influence human behaviour. …
Related Article
23 January 2015
Designing a user experience for wearable devices
Gradinar Razvan discusses some of the questions that UX designers will need to consider when designing for wearables. In particular, he presents the key things that designers should keep in mind when they are designing …
Related Article
19 January 2015
The agency is dead. Long live the agency.
The traditional agency model is physically more than alive on a small scale, but mentally has been stagnating, writes Tobias van Schneider, Product Design Lead at Spotify NYC: Agencies are now tasked to find their own voice, …
Related Article
19 January 2015
In the age of the Internet of Things, all products are software products
Esko Kilpi, the principal of Esko Kilpi Ltd, a leading research and consultancy firm focusing on the art of interaction, science of social complexity and the design of digital work, writes about how the value …
Related Article
1 January 2015
The business of design consulting
Robert Fabricant, who moved from design consultancy Frog to development consultancy Dalberg, writes that the business of design consulting is undergoing mass extinction. In a long article for Wired he presents the history of design …
Related Article
21 December 2014
Why Americans care more about experiences than possessions
Leslie Bradshaw, managing parter of Made by Many, describes Americans' shifting value systems. "Young people have redefined success, and their new definition values experience over possession. The word “experience” may sound like a code word for …
Related Article
19 December 2014
Beautiful users: book and exhibition
BOOK Beautiful Users: Designing for People Edited and designed by Ellen Lupton Princeton Architectural Press, 2014, 144 pages In the mid-twentieth century, Henry Dreyfuss, widely considered the father of industrial design, pioneered a user-centered approach to design that focuses …
Related Article
4 December 2014
There is no such thing as UX Design
Peter Merholz argues that the entire “field” of user experience emerged for one reason — to accommodate, and overcome, poor (or non-existent) product management practices. He now wants to retire the term: "'User experience design' served a …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

27 November 2014
Why the world needs anthropologists – an update

Why the world needs anthropologists – Coming out of the ivory tower Location: Padua, Italy, Centro Culturale Altinate/San Gaetano Date and time: Friday, 5 December 2014, 13:00 – 18:00 Padua, Italy, 5 December 2014 – The second edition of the international symposium of applied anthropologists attempts to erase the boundary between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, […]

30 October 2014
The BancoSmart ATM by Experientia for UniCredit selected for ADI Design Index

Last year Experientia designed the interface of an ATM of UniCredit, a major Italian bank. The interface is now rolled out across the bank’s ATMs in Italy, to great satisfaction of the bank and the customers alike, since interaction speed is much faster and error rates went down dramatically. Last year UniCredit and Experientia also […]

29 October 2014
Experientia at EPIC: UX transforming a financial institution

In September 2014 Experientia gave a presentation on working as UX professionals with financial institutions at the EPIC conference in New York. The paper is now available on the EPIC site in HTML and PDF versions (free registration req’d). Abstract Application of a user-centered approach rooted in ethnographic methodologies facilitates a major European bank’s transition […]

See all articles