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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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About the author
Marek Pawlowski Marek Pawlowski is the founder of MEX. Since 1995, he has focused the MEX business on helping digital industries to develop better, more profitable products through improved understanding of user behaviour with mobile devices and wireless networks. MEX is best known for its events, research and consulting, which balance commercial, technical and user insights to define the future of mobile user experience. Web | Email
Posted on
12 July 2011
Opinions, ideas and new thinking
Pathway #12: Brain processes
Pathway #13: Quiet design
Pathway #2: Multi-screens from a single device
Pathway #9: Audible dimension