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Pathway #9: Audible dimension

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Notes on the little ol’ Moto X in the age of big screen flagships

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Notes on the little ol’ Moto X in the age of big screen flagships

My irrational desire for the 2014 Moto X had a more rational outcome: I acquired a 2013 Moto X.

I’ve always felt the defining feature of the Moto X was the Moto Maker service. Motorola remains unique in the mobile industry in allowing customers to express their individuality by customising the product at the point of manufacture. This is a vision of personalised mobile user experience I’ve longed to see fulfilled since I first became involved in mobile 20 years ago. Indeed, we have …

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Whispering to the future – a tale of navigating with Google Now

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Whispering to the future – a tale of navigating with Google Now

“Okay Google Now,” I whispered. Nothing. The device stayed silent.

I looked up the street to check whether I was still out of earshot of the lady and child I’d noticed earlier. “Okay Google Now,” I tried again, a little louder, but acutely aware how odd I’d look if they overheard me. I’d slowed my pace slightly to avoid catching up with them. At the back of my mind I wondered if someone was watching from a window of the nearby houses, bemused by my attempts to converse with the cloud.

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User story: recovery truck guy

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User story: recovery truck guy

“Love it!” He said it emphatically, telling me he’d been twelve years in the job and still every day was different. “I get to see a lot of Norfolk.”

I asked him which piece of technology he’d never give up, pointing to a dashboard which played host to a TomTom GPS, a three year old, battered Android smartphone and an ageing Nokia candy bar. He didn’t hesitate: “GPS. That’s mine that is, bought it myself.”

Change, however, was coming. “They’re [the company] giving us all one thing. …

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Preparing for Apple’s new interactions

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Preparing for Apple’s new interactions

Strip away the hype from Apple’s September 2014 product announcements and you’re left with 4 new interactions which might change digital user experience at scale:

  1. Magnified depth
  2. Pressure levels
  3. Haptic feedback
  4. Activated confirmation

Their ramifications will ripple out beyond Apple’s own customer base as competitors replicate these methods.

Historically, Apple has used the introduction of new interaction methods to initiate new product categories: the Mac and the mouse, the iPo…

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The tactile and audible experience of BMW’s i3

“You can hear the faintest murmur of wheel bearings and axles whirr, of suspension heaving, of wind rustling, of tyres swishing – first with slush under the wheels and then later you can hear that it’s just water. Occasionally you can hear the wipers quietly ‘wup’, and the indicators softly ‘plick-plick’. You can hear the motor ‘mew’ gently or slightly less gently. You can hear the car working in high-fidelity – but always quietly. And you can hear other traffic, as if instead of being part…

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Effective cross-modal input pairings

Cross-modal input thrives when discrete and continuous modes are paired. For instance, precise touchscreen input and the analogue feel of accelerometer-controlled tilt motion. Some pairings are more obvious than others – focus on what seems natural in context. “Don’t do it just because you can.” – Ken Willes, Director of Creative Services, Ideum, speaking at MEX14

Not all user experience problems can be solved through visual changes – sometimes it pays to think how extra sensory channe…

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The ugly experience of smartwatches

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The ugly experience of smartwatches

Smartwatches and other wrist wearables have been prominent at this year’s CES, the consumer electronics show which provides an early look at annual product trends.

Surely if everyone is announcing products in a new category, it must be on the cusp of mass market adoption, right? I disagree and think this is a classic case of engineering (the ‘can we?’ voice within a company) shouting louder than customer experience (the ‘should we?’ voice).

Try this simple test:

  1. Find a real perso…
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Enabling new Apple product categories with new interaction methods

Apple bought PrimeSense, a company which specialises in the spatial sensing technology used in products like Xbox Kinect.

History, of course, can be a fickle guide to the future, but in light of this purchase it is worth noting Apple’s two most significant new product categories – the Mac and the iPhone – owe their success in large part to the new interaction mechanisms they introduced. Will Apple achieve a similar breakthrough with spatial sensing and launch into a new product category?

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Exploring quiet design, sensory interfaces and human factors at Made in Brunel

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Exploring quiet design, sensory interfaces and human factors at Made in Brunel

Last weekend the MEX collaboration with Brunel University saw us experimenting with a new type of open workshop at the Bargehouse on London’s Southbank. It was hosted as part of Made in Brunel, the multi-day event organised annually by students to showcase their projects and develop links with industry.

You can read all about the results of these workshops below, but first some background on Made in Brunel and the winners of the Brunel human-centred design award MEX supported.

Huma…

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15th June 2013: join MEX & Made in Brunel creative sessions in London

On Saturday, 15th June, we’re running a series of 90 minute creative exercises at Made In Brunel, where participants can explore 3 themes inspired by MEX Pathways and Brunel’s designers:

  1. Quiet design: digital interactions which await users’ response, not demand their attention
  2. Form factor innovation: inspiring new digital experiences outside touchscreen slates
  3. Sensory interactions: using sound and tactility to communicate emotion in digital exeriences

Each session includes a h…

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