September 17, 2007

Mobile UX workshop @ Ubicomp

Filed under: GPS, mobile, user experience — danielharris @ 9:59 pm

I attended Adaptive Path and Nokia’s mobile experience workshop yesturday. Which was enlightening, though a little stunted for some reason. I think it suffered a little from the broadness of the subject (the task was to generate a set of design principles for the mobile experience) and the lack of experience with actually using a number of mobile services. Unbelievably, the subject is still young and mass experience still limited which is why there were no strong opinions.

However, there were some great design themes and principles that emerged.

Mobile social rules of engagement

• Design for unavailability
(whether the user is in a tunnel, or just does not want to answer/reply, the system should support accidental or purposeful unavailibilty)

• Allow people to engage to a level that’s within their own comfort zone
(some people are comfortable with sharing their particulars – others less so. Whatever the case, the quality of the experience should not be affected.)

• Support the user in defining a set of expectations for communicating with a recipient or group.
(the system should support a user’s diverse range of terms of engagement – which can define relationships. you know that one friend will reply to an SMS immediately. Another may reply with an email. The system should learn these relationship characteristics that we take for granted)

• Design for amiguity
(Maintain the user’s privicy and the privicy of their contacts by presenting smaller chunks or intentionally obscure information to them to allow them to infer the rest of the message)

location-based service design

• The entire situation should be captured- time, place, social context, and mood
(Mood, as difficult as it is to capture, should heavily inform location based services)

• Status setting (as per facebook, twitter, IM) could be the key to getting relevant results with LBS

• The experience of place should be only enhanced with LBS
(the services should be like a close friend. someone you can trust, and full of helpful nuggets of advice, rather than a pushy person)

• Encourage participation through motivation
(the more you give, the more you get)

The changing nature of social interactions

• Allow the user to see who the audience is / will be

• Where should the responsibity for the manner of notification reside?
(see the ‘defining expectations’ point above)

• Concider the emerging trend of requesting media production
(on flickr, you can ask someone to take a certain vista for example)

• Concider life-casting as an emerging social trend

• Think muti-channel (blogging/microblogging-twittering)

& my own note – support rejection, abandonment, or unsubscription to these services

Getting the user’s attention

• Why – for personal benefit, for the greater good (persuasion technologies)

• How & when – concider the social and environmental contexts of the user

There you have it. These are certainly some starting points for some more specific themes within mobile UX. Thanks to Mirjana Spasojevic (Nokia) & Rachel Hinman (Adaptive Path) for putting all together.



  1. Mobile experience design workshop

    Trackback by Bye default — September 17, 2007 @ 10:00 pm

  2. Dan,

    some really nice points in here, sounds like a good conference. can’t wait till you get back and talk to you about these in person. two or three of the points especially design for unavailability (broken process expectation settings) are something i am keen to investigate further. My phone drives me crazy as its broken process interaction design is truly painful.

    I know we have done work on this for a large client at work and it would be nice to set some more global patterns for how interactions should be dealt with…especially when you look at the interdependencies of the other issues raised in these notes

    Comment by gavin edwards — September 19, 2007 @ 10:02 pm

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