31 March 2007

The importance of magic in designing ubiquitous user experiences

Be the first to share

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
25 May 2015
A Bauhaus-inspired, human-centered internet of things
In a short opinion piece in The Guardian, Jenny Judge and Julia Powles state that the Bauhaus movement could be a model for a more human-centered internet of things: "Back in the early 20th century, the …
17 May 2015
We are ignoring the new machine age at our peril
In 2009, W Brian Arthur published a remarkable book, The Nature of Technology, in which he formulated a coherent theory of what technology is, how it evolves and how it spurs innovation and industry. Technology, …
17 May 2015
Design thinking without deep analysis is reckless. A more balanced approach is needed.
Larry Keeley, co-founder of innovation firm Doblin which is now a unit of Deloitte Consulting LLP, says that too often advocates of “design” regard it as an elixir that can somehow transform conservative companies into …
17 May 2015
Policy paper: Making Good our Future
Making Good our Future: Exploring the New Boundaries of Open & Social Innovation in Manufacturing Policy Paper prepared for the European Commission May 2015, 49 pages As part of the Social Innovation Europe initiative, the European Commission has …
13 May 2015
The thirteen Ps of big data
Big data are often described as being characterised by the ‘3 Vs’: volume, variety, and velocity, sometimes augmented with value, veracity/validity, virality, and viscosity. These characterisations principally come from the worlds of data science and data …
10 May 2015
Developing patient-centred care: an ethnographic study of patient perceptions and influence on quality improvement
Developing patient-centred care: an ethnographic study of patient perceptions and influence on quality improvement By Alicia Renedo and Cicely Marston BMC Health Services Research (2015) 15:122 DOI 10.1186/s12913-015-0770-y Background - Understanding quality improvement from a patient perspective is …
9 May 2015
Modernizing the US immigration system with user-centered design
Vivian Graubard describes on WhiteHouse.gov how the U.S. Digital Service is working on modernizing the USA’s still largely paper based immigration service, pairing a better technical base with user-centered design. We traveled to USCIS (United States …
5 May 2015
Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록 in Design 4 Disaster
Design 4 Disaster features an engaging illustrated safety manual for ship passengers, a personal project by Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록. After the Korean ferry accident last year, Yuluck (who is Korean) wanted to …

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.

5 May 2015
Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록 in Design 4 Disaster

Design 4 Disaster features an engaging illustrated safety manual for ship passengers, a personal project by Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록. After the Korean ferry accident last year, Yuluck (who is Korean) wanted to find a way to make safety manuals more interesting to read. He spent one year designing an interactive safety guide […]

16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years

Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]

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, […]

See all articles