Beam Me Up Scotty — My Web is Tingling
While teleportation has not made it to Mary Meeker's Internet trends for 2013 report, most of the rest of the future has quietly snuck up on us. Meeker’s report makes a significant point of three technology waves converging into the mainstream almost simultaneously. These are
· Wearables/scannables/drivables or as she says “everywhere computing.”
While this opens up exciting possibilities for the IT industry and consumers it also throws up significant challenges…one I’m not sure we have fully understood. These include:
· Device interaction: We are moving rather swiftly from the familiar keyboard and screen environment, to touch screens, voice, sensor, camera as input/output sources.
· User interaction times have shown a dramatic fall off from computers to smartphones and laptops. Users prefer numerous short bursts of interaction on mobile devices. This is probably going to be the norm in wearables as well. Which would mean it just becomes more complicated to engage users across the new platforms.
To better understand how user device interaction will evolve I asked Ripul Kumar, Director, Kern (a specialist in usability testing) how these devices will change our digital interactions. He makes four points:
· Elegance of interaction will be the key success or failure of the device. Elegance will be defined with newer types of controls and inputs like voice, body gestures, sensory input, change in place or environment, or a series of uncontrolled events.
· Interactions will become less voluntary.
· Screens will give way to sounds, haptics or automatic actions. And finally most importantly
· Interaction designers will have to acquire new skill sets, away from user interface design, as the interfaces are going to be almost non-existent with the advent of wearable/ubiquitous devices. The key skill that they need to learn will be understanding users.
Ripul also says that “taxonomy based systems will move from human based tagging to more automated semantic understanding and tagging of information.” That, however, might be a tough sell…especially for content-based businesses like media organizations. Essentially what this would mean is moving from an expert opinion on what content to serve up when and to whom to a more user-centric system that considers among other things user preference, social chatter, location, context and time. Letting go of the need to control, might end up deciding if media companies can be relevant in what has been described as the most disruptive and pervasive of all computing waves so far.
I would really like to know what you think are the challenges of producing content for this emerging digital consumer. Please do share your experiences, thoughts or ideas below. We will all need to learn and grow.