Swisscom asked Experientia to work with the data of their own ethnographic research (reported on in The Economist) and interpret it in a number of end-user focused scenarios and application prototypes to inform the design and development of new services that Swisscom plans to roll out in the next couple of years, coinciding with an upgrade of their technological infrastructure.
The idea of presence is based on the Internet Messaging Services technology platform, which enables a person to be more aware of on which devices and at which times another person is available, and their level of availability to engage across different mediums, such as voice, SMS, email and so on. The aim of the project was to inform Swisscom’s innovation strategy and product development of multiple device (terminal) IMS solutions from a user-centric point of view, consistent with Swisscom’s managerial vision.
Experientia’s role was to develop interaction design concepts on how to present presence information on different devices and different channels from a people-focused point of view, addressing the problem of display and control of information and ideating appropriate interface concepts.
Working with Swisscom’s own ethnographic research data, Experientia explored concepts around vital presence issues, seeking to address needs such as:
Experientia first focused on defining and illustrating what presence is, what needs it covers, what the potential usages of presence are, how it can be managed (interface) and what its potential impact might be. We considered presence in its different manifestations from non-intrusive communications to very intrusive, from not engaging for the recipient to highly engaging, from very efficient to less efficient means.
We also explored how people think and feel about different media, based on a map of communication needs. What constitutes an intimate channel of communication for most people? What channel do they use to feel closer to someone? To coordinate something? To extend their social network? To exchange information? Based on the results of this exploration, we identified areas of growth and opportunity that Swisscom should focus their efforts on.
Design and prototyping
Based on these insights, we then developed a series of scenarios and design ideas to enable people to choose the right communication channel for different situations. Using Flash, we prototyped interfaces for the presence paradigm and for different communication channels.
The prototype demonstrated the overall behaviour and look and feel of three selected design opportunities. The prototypes were used to convey the usefulness and ease of use of possible realistic applications and to show the importance and potential of user interfaces.
The end-user focused usage scenarios and application prototypes designed for Swisscom were used to inform the development of Swisscom services. These high-level behavioural concept visualisations vividly illustrated the research done and visualised the near future (two to three years out) for top Swisscom managers and marketing product managers, to inspire them in their strategic choices with the opportunities provided by a people-centred vision.