mobile

Navdy: Think Garmin 2.0

I love the concept of apple carplay and the other in dash UI for cars, however, maybe the solution was right in front of us, but had the wrong software.  Why limit your UX while driving to hardware that came off the car manufacturing lot.  Meet Navdy: 

A modular heads up display, that allows you to use motions to interact with your digital lifestyle ( phone ) through maps, texts, and phone calls.  Gone are the days of reaching over to your dashboard mounted phone, and waiting for that new car with bluetooth display integration.  Garmins and Tom Tom’s were great, but they were single serving. Todays techie needs a screen above the dashboard that is easy to use and gives them instant access without having to be hard to navigate through its menu / interactions. 

Navdy is cool, but the more interesting observation is that these technologies have been around, but have not caught on due to price or the interactions were too broad to begin with. Leap Motion which has some amazing UX, never really solved a pain point.  Navigating your computer never really made sense, but navigating your phone while driving has always been an issue.  So much that many of us have already received tickets for driving and using our phones or just aside that policy was created to stop people from texting and driving.   

Will this catch on? I am not sure.  Is it better then anything else out there right now – yep.  I think the HUD will start to catch up, but I also wonder if there is a cultural problem still in place.  Maybe we should not be multitasking while driving at all? Its a mute point, but with that logic we should not have radio or bluetooth tech at all.   The other question is how much hardware do you need from a car, or should technology always be an add on accessory? Maybe that makes more sense. Cars are replaced every 7 years or so, where phones roll over every 2 years or so.  Maybe technology for cars should be modular and outsourced? 

Either way, it will be interesting to see how Navdy takes off.  Curious to see how the gestures work in real life, and how the resolution of the screen works and if there are any other criticisms that come to play once it starts being used by real people.  Kudos to the Navdy team for being disruptive AND creating something that is self contained and plug and play.   

 

When Content Marketing Becomes Your Brand – Google Play

If you are a platform, the content you serve is your brand strength. A long time ago Apple had an app for everything, but now everyone has the right apps, on multiple operating systems.  What is the new point of differentiation?  After all, app stores and phones are really about the apps – nothing else matters.  Content is king – again.

Google’s new “Play Your Heart Out Ad” is amazing.  The brand transference from each artist and app to Google’s logo was very smart, and the music helps seal this campaign away from early adaptors to their new mainstream audience.  Its Hip. It’s a big move away from their past ads showing power and processing speed, which really never resonated with me.  This campaign shows variety, and also instantly establishes credibility – you’ll note that barely any of the app logos need to have titles.  They are very recognizable. And now I associate them with the Android Ecosystem. Even as a apple user, I am very aware now that everything I could want is on Android.  And I might be willing to consider a Galaxy when my contract runs out.  I can see myself using these apps and thus using Android.  Goal achieved.

Its interesting that Google has moved further into Content, where Apple has moved into user stories and hardware lately.  What makes your brand stand out? How do you tell you story?

ps. I am impressed that this song was released in 2007 !  Way to be progressive Ed Banger Records & Busy P. 

There is one other thing that really stands out here.  When people typically talk about branding, we are taught to think in specific colors, fonts, and identity guidelines.   In a media rich ecosystem that we live in today, consumers are open to seeing a brand evolve.  Note in this add that their are barely any taglines, or key colors. The brand changes with each piece of content. A brand identity that is flexible and open. A brand that can become anything the user wants.  Quite literally, a brand becomes the very content it helps host.

This iphone Concept brings the best of Windows 8 to iOs

I love seeing how mobile ux designers rethink and look at existing OS and how it could be improved.  Recently this concept video of live tiles appeared on the web that showed a widget / live tile version of iOs for iPhone / iPad.

When windows developed live tiles, it was a shock, but it made sense.  People wanted access to their content faster. The buttons to access those feeds were really just a formality.  However, hitting those buttons were a legacy interaction that was baked into the system, but also expectations of how a UI was “supposed” to work.

It has been universally agreed upon that as many user experiences are based on feeds, that it starts to make more sense for UI elements to simply be viewing windows of data rather then buttons that view that data – skip a step, right?   There are many ways to express this. I personally believe that the windows phone UI was a very elegant solution to this, however it is worth noting that Android introduced some widgets that addressed this early on as well.  Not everyone agreed this was a good solution, but many people have embraced it.

Apple is currently using push notifications to bring feeds to your screen while asleep.  In essence, it performs the same utility, but with a less sexy interface.  The design question at hand is at what point in the mobile experience do you want to access what type of data? Both have advantages.

Where I am fascinated by this suggested UX idea, I am even more interested in the areas where IP law overlap with Mobile UX.   Even if this solution maybe be better for a significant amount of users, there starts to be areas where a manufacturer cannot go due to threat of infractions on another companies idea or IP.  Even if people love this, apple may not be able to innovate here in fear of legal action from Samsung or Microsoft.

I question as creator, are there areas where the law should not limit the evolution of design progress.  I understand the need to protect an artists work, but I also fear that legal can in some instances prevent UI from growing, thus decreasing overall utility of an entire system / generation?   I am not a lawyer, but its a very interesting debate, in many verticals and progressions.  At some point, lessons learned should be shared with the greater group if they benefit all users.

Even though I have a few critiques for this specific design solution, I applaud any designer who puts their work out there for the public to judge. We need creators more then ever in this time of automation and optimization.  We always need both, but new ideas are rare, even if they are heavily influenced or recycled. The first step is to attempt to create something of value and improve the human condition.

 

 

 

The Collective Intelligence of Waze

How can groups use collective intelligence to allow for individuals to make better decisions?

I’ve been using Waze for a few weeks now.  I have been using it ( to my own fault ) to try and figure out a better way out of San Francisco during a Giants game. Spoiler Alert – there is no fast route. However, in theory I wonder why more apps are not allowing us to make better decisions?

Rating sites like Yelp or even the way we view trending content online are one thing, but real time data being solved by multiple people passively is quite amazing – and another animal all together.

waze, distributed intelligence

 

Waze is amazing because the network of users only exists to save everyone time and make their lives better.  Many sharing services ( look up Sharing Economy ) are meant to redistribute assets or unwanted goods – not time or ideas.  Crowdsourcing of labor is a great new frontier.

Two other projects also come to mind – not new, but worth discussing.

1. BOINC – using distributed grids for computing – Think SETI@home but bigger.

2. Tomnod –  Using distributed volunteers for mapping

 

So the one outstanding question remains – Is collective intelligence accurate?  If the data set is biased and/or wrong, knowledge based on bad data is not really helpful.

There is an obvious benefit from utilizing natural experiments to improve the human condition. Any app that helps me spend less time on the car and more time with my family is a winner.  I am pondering how crowds can band together to solve other issues and help each other in this manner with minor effort.  In the age of social networks, we have the largest networked grid of intelligence and assets – what do we want to do with them and who gives guidance / moderation to these networks to prevent them from being a mob?

 

 

 

Niche Apps for Airplanes – Creative Collaborations

 

An Airplane is an odd space to wait around. There is ( usually ) limited wifi, not a lot of legroom, and you have to stay there for long periods of time.  Several companies are looking to change that.  Many of the same functionality that has been applied to other types of apps, has been hyper applied to air travel.  Here on Biz, and Wingman are two that come to mind.  Here on Biz is supposed to connect business people on planes, and Wingman is meant to hook up people for sexual relations.   These two may suffer from the typical challenge of network effects, but the idea here is novel.  What could you do in the air for several hours to entertain or connect people

 

 

What experience could you create to empower an entire plane ride of people for several hours?   Are there any other types of experiences that could benefit from forced collaboration or missed opportunities.

 

Mobile Data as Compensation – Teens

Yesterday on the Caltrain, I heard a bunch of teens discussing their “Mobile Data” Allowance.  They ranged from having 3GB of cellular data, to being on a family plan of 4CB, etc.  One child remarked that he had already used up 90% of his plan, and that he would have to pay his parents if he or his sister used up the rest before next week.

What I found surprising is that how access to data in this age is often talked about as an asset.  I bet that almost all of those kids would not be able to live without 3G so they could watch their youtube clips on the train.  If given the choice between money for a data plan, or a data plan, they would pick the 2nd.  

The insight here is that users are open to many forms of compensation. Often data, access to scare content, or other perks can be just as good as money.

 

 

Nike #Fuelband app adds pictures. Still waiting for #Vine option

fuelband points electronics app nike

 

The Nike Fuelband app just added the functionality to share your goal progress with a picture. This simple change in user experience was a brillant marketing decision.  Although I am not sure I always want to hear about my friends working out every day, this helps hearing about nike plus in two ways.

1. With a picture, I get to tell my workout story or active day in a more visual way that I choose and am accustomed to on Facebook. We all know that images get more shares and likes then text alone, so this makes sense in how the app would evolve.  I would imagine that this gives my friends a better picture of what I am doing, but also is more entertaining to see and watch then just a sentence about a workout routine I may not care about.  The ability to add a picture makes this experience about the story and the person rather then just the number.  And in a way, it might add more Nike+ stamps onto other lifestyle activities.  What if every picture you took during the day had a fuelband stamp rather then just when you hit your goal?  Its a great opportunity for nike to move more into the storytelling space.

2. This will also help serve as an earned media database for images for Nike+.  Now all the nike plus stories are sharable. They can find a home on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.  Images are more likely to tell the nike plus story and be told and received in a new way.  Ultimately breathing new life into the nike plus ecosystem, and raise awareness of the digital brand.

2 other features I would love to see:

1. Video. Video clips would be natural extensions of this UX.  And sometimes a video can really show a better story then a snapshot alone.  Vine integration would be awesome. hint hint. 

2. Networked apps: Lets say I was skateboarding with my buddies. What I would really want to do is to take a photo of someone else doing a trick and tagging their fuel moment to that picture. As much as we love taking photos of ourselves in this narcissistic era, sometimes you just cant while you are active. But your buddy can.  Not sure how this could work, but it could be really great for content production.   Perhaps the best way to implement this would be to have an API that would allow for the nike fuel points and timecodes to be exported to other medias.

Everyone is an athlete. Now we just have more ways to tell the story. Share on. 

-pd

August Smartlock: What else should marketers be thinking about unlocking

yves august donnelly smartlock phone mobile door

 

Nest was cool, but August is awesome.  As we talk about the internet of things, I think about how this is a perfect execution of having something be “smart” but actually be useful as well – not just appealing to the geeks.

The beauty of August is that is plays on constructs that we already use in the digital realm ( permissions ) but makes them analog. In a way that has never been done before.  And really, the key itself is an outdated concept. We have replaced it everywhere possible. This makes me think about homes and spaces in terms of those same digital terms – people crave contextual access. 

Although the launch focused on homes, I think where this could really shine is with brands, guerilla marketing, and nightclubs.  Pepsi came out with the like machine yesterday, which was impressive, but August is that on another scale. Imagine a brand telling you that you have an exclusive pass to the movies, or a VIP party, or a car.  And these may not be the best examples, but what we really again are talking about here is access. What could you unlock that could provide a meaningful experience.  And if we expand this handshake protocol to other types of mechanical actions, perhaps a lightswitch, or a valve, or a secret elevator floor, imagine what could be unlocked. What experiences we could create.  In a world where digital and IRL are blurring, access to a new place could change your whole perspective.

In a world that craves exclusivity and scarcity – what power does a lock and key hold ? I think their are opportunities to move past surprise and delight here.  I hope that other people are thinking this way as well.  Past the physical to think symbolically about how this marries experiences, mobile, digital, and access.

 

 

 

Wearable Analytics – My nike fuelband experience

digital sport nike

 

 

I’ve been using nike fuelband for about 5 months now, and I love it. However, I am starting to loose momentum.  The goals start to be more of a stretch, and I start wondering what the purpose is to begin with?  And then I remember why I got it and what the real purpose of the fuel band is.

Self Awareness to Intention.  

I find the key to maintaining your momentum for any digital sport program is finding the right balance between rewarding mediocracy and relying too much on goals.  The beauty of the fuelband ( besides being an awesome watch ) is that is constantly makes you aware of the intention to be physical.  Not based on the numbers alone, but the fact that you have put on a badge that you are going to try and stay in shape. It becomes part of your identity.

From an analytics perspective, having your personal data is very valuable. You cant track and trend your habbits, optimize your schedule, and engage with yourself to become 2.0. Although we are all athletes in a way, the bigger question is what kind of athlete do you want to be – and do the goals and constant pings help propel you to the next level, or do they serve as a reminder for something you want to avoid. Goals can either motivate or demotivate depending on the scope. Gamification can help, but it can also serve as a distractor to the idea that people need to individually set their goals, or have the power to select what auto setting goals are appropriate for them.

Thus, as I look down at my nike fuelband, and note that I am 1/3 of my daily quota, I remember that every day I am more active then I was a year ago. I am self aware and I strive to do better.  2000 fuel points is not too far away.  Thus awareness moves to intention. 

-pd