Russell Davies’ essays on secondary attention

Russell Davies has written an interesting series of articles on designing for secondary attention, a subject which has been consistent theme in the MEX community for some years, most recently with MEX Pathway #2. In the first article, entitled ‘The coming super abundance of screens‘, Davies asserts it is not the nature of the screen, but the nature of the users’ attention which should have the major influence on design.

Later articles, such as ‘The little boxes of sound‘, go on to explore the role of the audible dimension in forming user experience, something we continue to look at in detail as part of MEX Pathway #9. Davies’ piece starts to question the nature of sound and the moments at which the background activity of ‘hearing’ spikes into the attention-grabbing activity of ‘listening’. Ed Maklouf’s session at the May 2011 MEX shed some light on what drives these mode changes, highlighting certain innate sounds hardcoded into humans from an early age to grab our attention.

Russell Davies’ series continues with ‘Ghosts in the corner‘ and ‘Subsequent thoughts‘. A recommended read for all those in the MEX community who’ve been exploring these issues with us over the last few years.

A forthcoming MEX Pathway will explore the nature of ‘quiet design’, both within standalone mobile interfaces and as a design technique distributed across multiple touchpoints.

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