Dan Willis currently works with the U.S. Digital Service to overhaul how the government supports people who want to become U.S. citizens. He’s always looking for opportunities to help clients with all aspects of design, including retooling their organizations in order to be able to deliver outstanding design solutions.
Livia Labate is a user experience manager with 20-years of experience in digital product design working for companies like the BBC, Comcast and Marriott. Recently, Livia took a break from a fruitful career as a design manager to spend a year as a Knight-Mozilla Fellow at NPR working on open-source tools for journalism, followed by the Knight Foundation Prototype Grant-funded Carebot, developing meaningful analytics for newsrooms.
IA Summit 2015 Main Conference Talk
Topic(s): cross/omni channel and service design
We’re going to spend the next decade trying to figure out how to design cross-channel, multi-device experiences that don’t suck, so it’s probably a good time to come clean and admit that the goal of making those experiences “seamless” is just plain silly.
What have we delivered in decades of digital product development that you could describe as seamless? “Apple’s ‘it just works,’ ” you say? Really. How are you enjoying that Flash movie on your iPad? Or maybe you’re thinking Google’s got it knocked … but then you’re not talking about the gazillion people who stumble through their multiple Google accounts.
If we couldn’t pull off “seamless” for single-channel experiences, what makes us think that we can do it when things get really complicated? It’s finally time to let go of the fantasy of hiding seams and focus instead on crafting them skillfully.
In this interactive session we will take a look at a mix of current and imagineered seams. As a group, we’ll analyze what makes for ragged connections between devices and identify some keys to creating elegant transitions across channels. Nobody’s figured out this stuff yet, so let’s roll up our sleeves and work on it together.
Dan Willis: My name is Dan Willis. This is my friend Livia Labate.
Livia Labate: Livia.
Dan: This is what we’re doing. [laughs] This is an experiment. I actually submitted like a 20 minute rant. The organizers said, “Yeah, it’s a good idea. Do it in an hour and a half.” I was like, “Whoa.” We turned it into an experimental thing. We’re experimenting in lots of different ways.
First of all, it’s a little bit of a miss. For those of you that aspire to become an organizer of any kind of conferences, not a criticism in any way, but if you decide something’s going to be an interactive session, don’t set it up like a theater.
One of our challenges is your bodies are convinced after the day and a half of training, and every other conference that you’re going to that you’re now going to sit back and have wonderful content pour over you, which is not the case.
If I could have moved everything in the room and got it done by 1:30, I would have done it. This is an experiment. We’ll get in the details of your part of the experiment in a moment. I want to give you a heads up about our part of the experiment up here, which is if we’re going to talk about cross channel design, which we’re going to for an hour and a half, we should try it. We should try it out.
I had pencil sketch, figured out what I wanted to do with the audience, the lewd and lascivious things, and all sorts of evil plans that I had, and I realized that’s kind of 19th century. That could just be some sort of lecture.
I need to enlist one of my most brilliant friends, and say, “I don’t have any clue how this should work, but what if you owned the entire digital side of this presentation.” Not by digital, like in some easy to define, “Oh, that’s what shows up here.”
No. We’re going to have a conversation. This is our fleshy part I’m in charge of the fleshy part conversation. She’s in charge of the digital part. Tell them what’s that’s going to entail.
Livia: What we’re going to try to do as you go through things, concepts are going to start coming out, and I’m going to start drawing, or writing the noun, and a variety of things, and tweeting them with the hashtag IAS15 Seam, so that both you and people who are not here can participate, and contribute additional things as well.
There’s a live camera. I’m just going to start jotting all this stuff down here, so that we get a collective thing. We’ll get to a point in our presentation where we’re going to look at them again, and see if there are some interesting themes that came out of it.
Dan: We’ll get into the hardest part for you guys in a moment, but I wanted you to understand what we’re trying to pull of here. Is there going to be potentially some sort of discussion on Twitter with that hashtag?
Livia: Absolutely. I don’t know how much we’ll be able to read them all, and incorporate it, but we’ll find out.
Dan: If you want to not wait to be told to draw within the lines, you have direct access to half of this presentation. Trust me, I worked for her. She as no respect for anything I do, so she’ll just take over the whole presentation.
You have immense power at this point, but only if you use it wisely. No, actually you could use it foolishly. Bottom line is, don’t wait. You want to start talking to her, you can to talk to her. You use that hashtag, you guys can follow it. We’re talking Twitter.
Livia: Since you have an option of interacting online, or in person, I would like to encourage you to interact with in person, so that we can see things more quickly because I’m a very slow human. Let’s try that.
Dan: [laughs] What we’re talking about is cross channel design, and not in namby pamby, easy to describe, flashy, wow that’s great, I can’t wait to sell it on the audience kind of thing. It’s the hard stuff.
The reason we’re doing that, and in fact, Andrea Resmini, he’s going to hold up his hand. As he holds up his hand, of course, he won’t turn around, so that’s what the back of his head looks like.
He and I ran a workshop last year, and it was about cross channel design. It was a much larger slice of this because it was a half day, not an hour and a half. I’m going to do that every time. An hour and a half.
The reason why it’s sprawling across different IA Summits is because I’m convinced that this is what UX is going to be primarily focused on, definitely in 10 years. I think it’s already started. I think we’ll be up to our ass in it in three to five years. How exactly somebody’s going to pay us to be responsible for one percent of a huge experience, I haven’t got that figured that out yet, but I think it’s going to happen. We’re going to have big, monster problems to solve.
Because of that I needed help. Because of that, Andrea and I started to talk about it, try to figure out what’s going on there, and then we figured, “Well, why do we have to do all the work. Let’s have a workshop, and have them figure it out for us.”
That worked so well because we had amazing workshop participants, some of which are maybe in this room, that, hey, we could do the same thing this year. We haven’t got it figured out. Let’s have them do the work, and then we’ll take all the information, and steal it, and do something with it.
That’s basically the plan of today’s workshop. Humans are funny. Humans do funny things. When we don’t have enough data to understand the things around us, we make up myths. If we don’t have data that helps us explain the water, it doesn’t stay still. This thing, I’ll call it a wave.
Why does that happen? It changes. The stars move, and the sun doesn’t stay in the same place. They come up with all sorts of theories about it, but the theories don’t really hold. They’re just guys talking endlessly. It’s the myths that really dig in.
I really like this myth. It doesn’t tie into multi channel, or cross channel experiences. I just think it’s really cool, the idea that somebody would look at all the things they’re worried about, tides, and hurricanes, and volcanoes, and tornadoes, hopefully not in the same place, and that they would say, “I know the answer. The answer is we live on the backs of four elephants, and those elephants live on the back of a turtle, and the turtle’s walking around all the time.”
I think that’s a fascinating myth. This is from 1876. We can look back at that, and say “Oh foolish, foolish 1876ers,” but the fact is, when cross channel first started to come up, we came up with our own myths. They were just as silly.
One of the myths was, “I can explain cross channel design to you. The user makes a big decision. I’m going to move from this channel, I’m going to put my blinker on, and I’m going to go on to this channel, and now I’m going to make another big decision, and I’m going to put my blinker on. I’m going to another channel.” It was crazy.
However, it wasn’t as bad as what’s happening today. What’s happening today is we’re throwing all sorts of words at it and acting like it’s a bigger deal than it is, and because nobody’s gotten paid a lot of money for a long period of time doing it, everybody’s a freaking expert.
Some of you in this room have probably been in a meeting of some kind and said, with a straight face, “Yeah, we have the chops for that. We’ve been doing omni-channel, multi-platform [mumbles] for years, and we’re great at it.”
This is worse. I’d rather go back to the highway. Mostly, I’d like to go back to the turtle with the elephants and the world on top of it, but that’s not really an option.
We’re not going to talk about that. When people are talking about today, 2015, mostly, when you hear somebody proudly talking about how they’ve crafted a multi-cross-channel experience, what they’re really saying is they took a message and they found a way to squeeze it out into multiple places, like a meat grinder. That’s not the experience we’re going to talk about.
This is a video from the workshop that Andrea and I ran, and its intent was, walking in the door, we wanted folks to not talk about squeezing a cow through a grinder and say that that’s a wonderful thing, but no, what are the real challenges? What is the stuff we really have to understand?
We found, it turns out, that if you do a video, people connect to it right away. What you’ll notice in looking at this, there’s nothing glows in the dark. There’s nothing magic about it. There’s no other way to say it. It’s really freaking boring.
If you’re looking at this going, we’re watching a guy talking to somebody else, and then walking down a hallway. He’s going to buy a ticket while he’s walking down the hallway. Then he’s going to drive in a car. He’s going to go to what we told you was an airport, but in fact it’s a train station, but that’s OK. All along the way, he’s both in-taking and outputting data and content as he’s going along, and he’s using all sorts of different channels to do it.
That’s the kind of experience that’s going to be the main staple of user experience, I think, over the next decade, and it’s going to be really honking hard figuring out how to do it.
Luckily, we’re not completely blind on this. There’s a reason why I wanted to team up with Andrea. He wrote a pretty good book, with Luca Rosati, and what they said, because we were in worse shape than we were when they wrote this a couple years ago. “Hey, we really don’t know how this thing’s going to play out, but we can’t wait. Is there a way we could build a foundation?”
They did something genius. They said, we could come up with a set of heuristics that define what we think is going to be successful with humans. What’s going to be important as they go from these channel to channel to channel to channel, and what, to them, a user, is a simple task? “I need to get on this plane and go to my coworker across the country or in another country.”
In fact, they stumbled and tripped through channel after channel after channel, vendor after vendor after vendor, content type after content type after content type. Well, that’s chaos. Maybe we can bring a little order to that by using heuristics.
I also think it’s really valuable to take a look at designing multi-device experiences. Now, clearly, the author focused on just the device part of it, and I want to make sure that we, as much as possible, don’t get confused and always call a device a channel. Not the same thing, right? We’re really dealing with the big issue of channel. Sometimes we can understand that through a device, but they’re not always linked that way, and I’ll talk about a very specific example very soon.
First, I want to talk about what we want to pull out of the second book, and that’s the idea, and it’s come up in other sessions at this conference. I think it’s emerging theme, and I don’t think it’s going to go away after the conference, which is this idea of designing for the ecosystem.
The idea is, yeah, I could take whatever I’m getting paid for and just solve that problem, but if I don’t understand the larger ecosystem that it’s occurring in, I’m not going to be particularly successful. We may get paid that day, but ultimately it’s not going to serve what the users need it to be. It’s not going to serve the organization.
Most importantly, when things get really complicated, which they absolutely are going to, that weak-ass solution fails completely. Before we get our really big, scary challenges, we have to figure out ways that are going to get us to a solution. The idea of designing for an ecosystem, which is how we’ll talk about it today, we need to make sure we deal with that.
Another thing that Andrea and I walked in with is we looked at all the wonderful kinds of mapping that we do with information now, and customer journeys and all sorts of really good work. It works for what we were asking it to do, but when we go cross-platform, we’re not sure that those kinds of maps are still going to work.
This may not survive either, but we wanted to look at it differently, so we tried this idea of intent paths. It’s almost like a first-person shooter game. They’re looking at the thing that they want, but there’s distractors around them. Sometimes they have their distractors. Sometimes distractors bring in to them.
This is why we can’t always gear devices and channels, we can’t always tie those two together, because a lot of times those distractors that alter where we end up, because we’re taking a different path. Each one of these is a decision. I wanted to use this and I used it, so I went to this next one and I used that one, but then I got distracted and I hung a left and I ended up in a different place.
The reason that’s important is that sometimes those distractors are humans. When you’re talking about a cross-channel experience, there are digitally enhanced humans. Who’s got a phone that’s close to me? Emily here, our friend Emily here is not a human being when we’re talking. Because the whole time I’ve been talking, she’s been glancing at her phone. She’s digitally enhanced.
She has information, because of a digital channel that I have no access to, but it changes how she talks to me. If we get too caught up on, a channel is a device, we lose the fact that human beings are really important. Who knows this? What industry has already figured this out and is wildly successful in Europe and Australia and not so much in the US? Anyone? Come on, who’s got it right? Emily, do you know?
Service design. Service design says, “Dudes, you can’t just look at these interfaces. You’ve got these human beings.” That’s what we’ve got to concentrate, that’s what we’re talking about when we’re talking about cross channel design.
The exercise is, we’re going to look at seams and, just like what we learned in our workshop, a diagram is nice, but you don’t really feel like you’re there. Well, is there an easy way to get people to feel like they’re there so that we can have that conversation right from the get go, really get into it?
Well, it turns out videos do that, and so we’re going to continue to watch videos. We’ve got a series of videos, each one dedicated to a seam.
Now, you might be thinking, because you’re a really smart audience, you’re thinking, “Well, so we’ve got a bunch of five second videos,” because that’s all, five, four seconds.
No, because to figure out the answer to the question, was that an elegant seam, or is that a ragged seam, or something in between, we really have to know what led up to it and what goes after. Really, they’re two and three minute videos.
Let me tell you, they are fascinating. They’re a thrill a minute. There’s going to be plenty of time when we’re all going to be quietly staring at the screen, going, “Uh-huh.” But it’s important, because you get a sense of, what exactly that seam is.
Because then you do the hard part, because that’s the part of the process where you guys decide, was it elegant or was it ragged. But the most important part, and you know it’s coming, I’m going to say, “Oh, why? Why do you say that?”
Get on your toes. Livia and I do not know the answers to the questions that you are going to be asked. If you’re doing that, like, “If I just look away long enough, they’ll tell us what they want us to say.” We don’t know what we’re going to say. I will pick on people. Don’t get me wrong.
We don’t have to use this language, but the multi-device experiences did a really sweet job of talking about different kinds of relationships between devices, not necessarily channels, but between devices. I’ll talk about what each of these is if you’re not familiar with it.
But the larger piece of it’s really important, essential, in fact, for our success moving forward is, anything that we’ve done that’s worked before this point, we need to use as we move forward.
There is no part of cross channel design where we say, “Screw everything I did before, it’s a fresh start.” It is not. Anything that worked, even a little bit, we’re going to use it again. We’re going to find every way we possibly can. I want to stand on the shoulders of really good work, recent work, but really good work.
Consistent design, and this is a vocabulary that we can use, but you’re not stuck to it. It may be a smaller part of our later conversation, but it’s nice to use something that exists. You’re not going to see these three before, so if you want to remember what they are, you might want to write them down. You probably already know.
But so, consistent design is when I have it on one device, because remember, she talks just about devices, I have it on one device and that means I also have it on a different device. Can somebody give me an example of when that happens?
Audience Member: Yeah, your bank. Yeah, you visit it on dot com and check your accounts, and it’s also in your pocket. It could also be on your tablet.
Dan: Same data, you’re able to get it everywhere. Fantastic example of consistent design. Continuous design is where I start to interact with, let’s say, bank information, and I get partially through a task or I get through something and I switch devices, and in some fashion, I pick it up from there. Can anybody think of a great example of that? There’s lots of great examples.
Audience Member: Even prior you might buy your tickets on your computer, your phone even. But then you switch to your phone, to the app, to actually use the ticket.
Dan: There we go. That’s a fantastic example.
Complementary, at the time she wrote the book, and this is very recent, but it’s already changed, this seemed like, this doesn’t happen much. Since she’s written the book, this happens all the time, is where one device directly affects another device. Can anybody think of a shining beautiful example of that?
I’m going back to the same person. You guys should feel limited. She’s already doubled everybody’s production.
Audience Member: Disneyland, with the wristbands. Like you buy your tickets online and then you go to Disney World, and then they give you this wristband. Everything you do is tied to that. They know when you walk into a restaurant and the table’s already set. That’s one example.
Dan: That is a good example. An even more rudimentary example, not quite as cool as that. Because, really, what you’re tapping on, fantastically, is the potential of that is all about [inaudible 15:24] , because that’s going to affect so many different devices. I’m sure everybody in the room totally gets that.
But just in case somebody’s like, “I’m not quite there yet,” a much lesser answer to that is if you use your phone and you convert it into a remote for your TV. Which, I load up the app, bang, I can change channel. I’ve just used one device in a complementary design to the other device. Make sense?
Does anybody have any questions about how we’re going to go about this? It’s OK if you do, it’s not a problem. I’ll ignore Emily though, she has questions, and I’m not even paying attention to her. Livia, are you about ready to rock and roll? OK.
Now, you’re going to see, I’ve numbered these and I’ve put a title on them. Neither of which you should pay a hell of a lot of attention to.
I just suspect, and we’ll find out, that when we get to like number four and number five, inevitably, one of us is going to go, “That other one you did, what was it, number, was the second one, maybe? Or the third one?” I’m just trying to give us hooks in case we want to refer back. Also, I don’t know, but it might be helpful in the digital side of this when you’re talking on that side, as well.
As I do often, because I’m obviously terrified of you guys, which is why I talk so much and have all this energy, I need something to chill myself out. One of the things I do to chill out is I put my daughter into my presentations whenever possible, so this is my daughter, and her fine taste in cartoons. Anybody know what cartoon it is? You can tell by the typeface. Nope.
Audience Member: Futurama.
Dan: Futurama, you can tell by the font. She says, “Well,” being the free spirit that I am, I won’t be anchored to this sofa. I want to move on,” and so she picks up her iPad. Confirms that we are looking at Futurama. I don’t know if you saw the Netflix, I believe she’s using Netflix.
If you remembered what she watched on TV, it was the glasses breaking, which is a homage to “Twilight Zone,” for anybody who’s geeky enough to follow that. I can’t help myself, I’m sorry.
That’s going to run on a loop, so if you want to see it again, it’s just going to run on a loop. To review where we came from, she was watching TV, she picks up her iPad. What does she do then? What happened next?
Audience Member: She has to scrum for where she left off.
Dan: Excellent. That leads right to the question, which she can’t answer right away, but if you guys don’t answer, she’s going to answer this. You know this. I’m not leading this. But is that an elegant seam, or is that a ragged seam?
Audience Member: It’s ragged, because it should know where you left off when you’re going [inaudible 17:34] .
Dan: Well, does anybody know the answer to that? It does, in certain situations. In what situations does Netflix do it now? Do you know?
Audience Member: Is it only across apps?
Dan: It’s a good guess.
Audience Member: One device.
Dan: One device. What I’ve found, and I can’t guarantee this is true, but in my experience is, you wait about 10 minutes. Wait about 10 minutes, and it’s the most beautiful thing in the world.
I actually felt bad for Netflix when I did this. It’s like, “Oh, I’m kind of picking on them, aren’t I? You’ve got to give them time.” But what am I doing? I’m making excuses instead of actually demanding what I want as a user. Why should I have to wait? What are you, insane?
Because, think about my 10-year-old daughter. Why would my 10-year-old daughter, what use case does my 10-year-old daughter says that, “In the middle of this cartoon, I’m going to wait 10 minutes and then watch it more”?
Now, old fart like me, I start to watch it, I go take care of my daughter, and later that day, I pick it back up and it’s in the perfect space, I’m the happiest guy in the world.
Netflix doesn’t give a crap about me. They love my daughter. Said that another way, our clients don’t give a crap about me. But they love my daughter, and that’s who we’re going to have to design for.
Let’s be very specific. What about this, a lot of people say, let’s do this way. A lot of people said, ragged. Is there anybody that wants to argue with that and say this is elegant? Good. Back of the room. Thank you very much for me.
Audience Member: Touching my [inaudible 18:49] .
Dan: No, you’re safe. It’s the guy behind you. But I’m still going to…
Audience Member: It’s elegant, because the actual experience is not really 10 minutes. It’s anytime we start the video, it does remember who you are. What happened there is they just didn’t get the signal back. Now it saved your profile. The raggedness is the fallback.
Dan: A really fascinating way to think about it, which is it’s elegant. If something goes wrong, I have a ragged solution, which is such a wonderful way to think about it from an organizational standpoint. Not because we’re letting them off the hook, but because it’s not what we normally say, which is it either works or it doesn’t.
It works, but there is a degraded version of it if I have to, which means even if something goes wrong, I got it covered. If I’m interpreting what you’re saying correctly, that coverage is elegant as hell. Has he moved anybody? Has he convinced anybody else that they think it’s elegant or is it still ragged? It could be in the middle, too. What do you think? I knew I was going to get to you. We’re going to hit both of you. We’re going to hit then.
Audience Member: I guess I was thinking elegant for a given moment in time, because from a development perspective, sometimes you can’t get everything out there at once. Your first shot might be as elegant as it can be. Then you’re going to continue to refine and refine and refine and become increasingly elegant.
Dan: If we’re completely unrealistic and only look at it from the user perspective, is what she said cool? You just don’t care. I agree with you, by the way, because what she’s saying is, no matter what happens in the next 10 years, asshole, we’re still going to have to do it just like that because it’s the best we’re going to get.
Dan: What it does mean is that we can still use the language to say to our clients and to our coworkers, “We’re not done yet. We have a viable solution, but we’re not done.” I’m sure Netflix is doing that, too. I’m sure that exact scenario, somebody is working on it because they’ve got a lot of the stuff right. That’s one of the things they’re going to get right. What were you going to say?
Audience Member: I was going to say to continue the jeans analogy. That is more a distressed scene is how… [laughs]
Dan: That’s good. As intelligent of an argument as the gentleman made, what we’re hearing is it’s toward the ragged end of the spectrum. If we’re being practical about it, it’s pretty freaking elegant. Because we’re a hard, tough room, we might think this is more ragged than elegant. We can always change our mind, too, because we’re going to get more context by looking at more of these.
If you’re familiar with “A Day Made of Glass” from Corning, this is it. It’s a real quickie so don’t miss it. She looks for a location. She gets it on the map. She says, “That’s good. I’m not going to write that down. OK, I got it.” We are taking into account because we’re looking at, 5, 10 years, things that don’t exist yet and things that do exist.
Just so there’s no confusion, this does not exist yet. You can’t buy the iPhone that’s a piece of glass. When they made this a couple of years ago, it seemed a lot more farfetched than it does now. It’s getting more and more realistic every day of our life. Is it elegant or is it ragged?
Audience Member: Elegant.
Dan: Somebody’s got to tell me why. You can’t just say it. You’re going to say something.
Audience Member: I’m going to say if we’re thinking into the future, it seems a little ragged to me that she had to take her phone out and point it at the wall. It could be that it senses how close you are to something.
When that map interacts, it sends a signal to say, “Hey, the user is using this interactive map. Your phone is probably going to be the next thing she wants to use this map on.” It would just be there when she pulled it out of her pocket or purse.
Dan: That’s a great point. Although people may have dissenting opinions about that, our basic model on this is that everyone in this room is right, no matter what you say. He’s totally right even if you don’t agree with him.
I’m going to go back here and come up to you. I am going to lose five pounds before this session is over. This is great. Imagine how evil I’d be if I made Emily do all the running.
Emily: I dissent. [laughs]
Dan: I thought you were right over here. I’m all the way back here. What do you think?
Emily: It’s way elegant.
Dan: It’s way elegant? You’re not doubting any?
Emily: No. It is continuous. She has to take that piece of the map that she’s interested in, and she has it now on her phone.
Dan: I’m going to stick with you for a second, because let’s keep looking at this with exactly what he had in mind. As she approaches, what should the system know about her?
Audience Member: She has a phone.
Dan: She has a phone. Take a look at what she’s looking at.
Audience Member: Here she is.
Dan: It’s actually on there but I’m not sure they did it intentionally. Did you notice that the language toggles? I would think she’d have a preference on all her devices that say, “I like to read things in Japanese. When I approach, you should know to show me in Japanese.”
Actually, Corning has been one of my clients. I should find out who made the video and ask them, but I think that was an accident. They were trying to be bilingual, but I don’t think they’re quite clever enough now. Who had the other arm up over here?
Audience Member: I was just wondering why she actually needed to pull out her phone. If she’s looking for a bus, I would think the map would give the information that she needed. I wasn’t sure what the role of the bus was, unless it was going to give her a little buzz when the bus that she’s waiting for came or something.
Dan: She shouldn’t need which part of that?
Audience Member: I didn’t know why she brought out her phone. What was the role of bringing out her phone and taking that picture?
Dan: Who has the answer to that? Did she take a picture?
Audience Member: No.
Audience Member: I don’t think she took a picture.
Dan: All right. Nice and loud. Go on over there.
Audience Member: It’s a super large screen. It’s really good [inaudible 24:02] ? Then it’s essentially a magic wand that says [inaudible 24:04].
Dan: I’m really glad you said that because it’s a key point. It’s not what she was talking about exactly. If you didn’t make that point, I was going to try to get somebody to make it. If he didn’t, I was going to make the point. I’m really glad you made it. Most importantly, whose choice is it?
Audience Member: It’s clearly her problem so [inaudible 24:21] .
Dan: Well done. [laughs]
Audience Member: [inaudible 24:24] . [inaudible 24:26] also gets to even more people.
Dan: Not only that, but the vendor hasn’t been arbitrating and said, “I’ll tell you what’s best for you.” They did good UX design, which is, “I’m going to give you both of these options and try to make both of them as elegant as I possibly can. And whatever you choose, I’m going to make sure I get the analytics on it. But whatever you choose, it’s going to work pretty well.”
The point that you were bringing up was why did she take a photo of it. There’s a key piece of data there. Let’s take a look at it and see if she takes a photo of it.
Audience Member: I don’t think she does.
Dan: What is she doing?
Audience Member: She just takes her phone out and it’s smart enough to know that that’s what she wants.
Dan: Go a little deeper. What is it? What has she got now?
Audience Member: [inaudible 25:02] .
Dan: It’s data. It’s data. I’m getting excited because this is my favorite part. Big surprise, I love Made of Glass. I’ve used this in five different contexts. I just tear it up and use it all the time, copyright infringement like crazy.
My favorite absolute part is this is how, not this exact way, this issue was going to be a big deal, what most of us are not yet dealing with. We are talking about smaller and smaller displays. Wait until we start to really think about larger and larger displays.
This is a multi-touch public interface. Imagine if it’s a bank, a multi-touch public interface with private information. Pretty fascinating. I don’t know how we’re going to pull it off, but I know what she’s doing. I know she’s getting data from public and making it private. She’s putting it in a lock box. That’s awesome. What were you going to say, Andre?
Andre: Just a very quick thought about the fact that one of the issues that we have with there is that of the visibility of the interaction that is happening, which is one of the things that we’re dealing with when we work on these interfaces.
The fact that she takes out a phone is very similar to what Microsoft has been doing with the purge of the HoloLens. What is the name of that? They show you, using a spray can which doesn’t exist, there’s some ways to make the interaction visible. That’s the problem that we need to face, to make the seam visible as well. So ragged or elegant, we still think that we need it. That’s the question. Do we need it?
Audience Member: Yeah.
Dan: Good. I’m actually enjoying the running. I’m bitching just for theatrical effect.
Audience Member: Very good. If the point is for her to navigate somewhere, doesn’t she want to see where she’s going? It’s only inelegant if you don’t like phones. If you’re expecting that you should already have a wearable in your pocket, then it’s inelegant to you. If you like to have a visual with you, and you want to use your phone for that purpose, it’s very elegant.
Dan: Excellent. This point said something really important that we’re going to have to do the rest of the afternoon, which is it’s really easy to go from focusing on the seam because we’re really good at our jobs, to go from the seam to the whole experience. Sometimes we need to. In this case, it’s probably appropriate to go a little wider.
Every time we do that, remember it’s all about that seam. We’re just talking about the seam right now. Think about how this is going to play itself out. You are going to spend time in a professional environment just talking about a seam for three weeks, because that’s how long it’s going to take for everybody to figure out the best way to do it, let alone the overall experience.
If you thought you were working hard before, if you thought we had a hard job before, those were the easy times. Now we’re getting to the hard stuff. What do you got?
Audience Member: I see some ragged edges in it. I don’t think you should have to touch it. We should not be spreading our germs around just to get stuff on our phones. I don’t have to take my phone out to get a picture of it, so I can put my phone back and walk away until I need it.
Dan: Is it a picture or data dump?
Audience Member: Same thing. I didn’t have to see it. I don’t see the use in that part.
Dan: What if it’s a user preference thing, because some people like them?
Audience Member: That’s true. I guess that would make it more elegant to that person. That feature would be elegant to some people.
Dan: We definitely have to watch out not to let the fascist side of ourselves come out. Just like in a normal UX work, we have to be careful whenever we start saying, “Idiot user, this is the smart way to do it. So I’m going to go here, then here, then up there and then we’re going to move on.”
Audience Member: I’m curious what happens if she doesn’t want someone to see where she’s going, and the display that she’s seeing is very public. Getting that information, that’s great. She has it, but it’s very public where she is.
Dan: It’s a good thing we’ve had lots of hard arguments about PII, because it’s about to get harder. [laughs] Do I consider seeing directions on PII? It doesn’t matter if I do. If she does, then we got a problem. Good one.
Audience Member: The purpose of having a ragged seam is when you need someone, like in this instance, basically the data just gets dumped to the phone. There is no permission on her part, at least we don’t see anything explicitly.
To your point about what if it was personal data, what if it was private data, there needs to be some sort of, “Yeah, I’m accepting this private data.” If it was the other way around, if she was giving it to it, there’s been no discussion about that, the whole privacy issue.
Dan: It’s easy for me to get in house and say maybe it’s preferences. We don’t want to get into that. We don’t want to design it. We can take what both of us just said and turn it into something really useful to do.
If I understand what you said correctly, to be an elegant seam, it must protect the user’s definition of private information, or it’s not elegant. We just threw a hell of a requirement in there. Since we’re being user based here, that will be completely appropriate to throw it in there. What do you got?
Audience Member: That was a great segue because I was also thinking about the privacy issue, which led me to wait for it. When she walks away at the seam of this video, there is this really great moment where, boom, as soon as she turns, her route goes away on the screen, which is super elegant.
It is all about the privacy. Is that soon enough? Is it too large, that sort of thing? I hadn’t thought about even seeing it at all as potentially harmful.
Dan: Excellent point. I don’t know about you guys, but user research is great not because it gives us answers, but because it gets us deeper and deeper into better and better questions. That’s about what our expectations should be for today.
We know we’re doing something right if we ended up with more questions than when we started, but they’re really good questions as we get deeper and deeper and deeper. We just took privacy issues and made them really interesting in the public display space, which is what we’re talking about, which is definitely going to come up. We’re ready to move to the next one.
Audience Member: Let’s go.
Dan: Starring IKEA. The IKEA app is loaded. “Here, scan me,” it says. “OK, I will.” “It will download. Let me put this in front of you. Now if you hit that, I’ll show you something. I will show a bizarre video that I edited out so it’s about one-third of the length, but it’s no less bizarre.” For those of you who work for agencies, somebody sat in the room and said, “You must…Our brand must be reflected in this video.”
Dan: This was their answer. There’s all sorts of questions that have nothing to do with seams, about branding and why you would want to show this video with that room, all of which we’re going to have to set aside.
We’re going to focus on the seam. It’s going to look just like the other one did. They have an app that allows them to go to the catalog. From the catalog, it loads up a video in the app. I don’t know why I put it down in that order. I apologize. I just got it exactly backwards. This is an existing seam. Is it elegant or is it ragged? I’m in my sprinter’s block. He’s dominating. You got competition over here. Good thing you guys didn’t sit together. I wouldn’t lose it anyway.
Audience Member: I think it’s ragged. Most augmented reality stuff is ragged. I’ve never used one that ever felt like it was valuable. It always requires opening your phone, going to an app, loading, scanning, and then doing this weird I’m holding a device and a catalog at the same time.
Dan: I will embrace everything you just said, everything you say is right. I have a further question. I definitely understand your opinion about the value of this. No doubt about it.
I won’t understand is the scene, which is I’m on a phone, I go to print. Forget print. I go to physical. That’s why I have to learn how to talk this way. I go to physical. Because of that, my phone is now affected. Either one of those could be the scene. It’s whichever direction you want to hit. Is that part of it elegant or ragged, even if it’s stupid?
Audience Member: It’s probably in between. It’s pretty smooth, except that you have to load stuff to get there. I think that would be the ragged benefit.
Dan: Are there any aspects of it? Because we can go sub on this. Are there any aspects with it that are elegant? If it’s ragged, is there any part of this they got right? I know it’s a leading question, but I’m just curious.
Livia: It’s creepy.
Dan: Which part is creepy?
Livia: It’s just creepy. If it wasn’t elegant, then I wouldn’t be emotionally kind of ugh. It wouldn’t turn my stomach.
Dan: You guys hear that? That was good.
Livia: Here, right at that, was just a mess jump from one thing to another, it wouldn’t affect me emotionally like that.
Dan: This is great. On the level of sophistication here is, “Watch out, because if we start to hit elegant scenes, we get an emotional response that wasn’t there before.”
One of the things we want to be thinking about, and I’m sure you’re already doing this, is we’re going to pick a party’s individual scenes, but it’s going to lead to something. It’s going to lead to a conversation, so what are the attributes of elegant, and what are the attributes of ragged.
I just learned from you that one of the attributes of elegant isn’t the thing that makes it elegant. It says if it’s elegant, it has emotional impact and you’d better be careful about that, because it’s something you didn’t have to deal with before. It would be positive impact. Good.
Audience Member: How much of this is colored by the fact that it’s just a really strange video, that doesn’t seem to have much value to the user. The interaction itself of jumping from page 426 are very big catalog with product, X, whatever it’s name is to some useful piece of content. We can imagine that that’s faster than typing a 17-digit code to, I don’t know, read full specifications online. This just looks like something nobody wants done relatively elegantly.
Dan: To take a Jared Spool exercise, so let’s make it the opposite of what it is. If you had to enter all that code and you got exactly the same thing, you’d be twice as pissed off.
Livia: It would be annoying.
Dan: It would be really annoying, right? That’s an attribute, too. Do we have one back here before I go back up there? I don’t want to strand anybody.
Livia: I would say it’s almost like this is like their version of the QR code that you don’t know what this thing is, but it’s like, if you’re looking at just that scene, it could be elegant. I think if you’re designing, kind of to your point, something that’s useful…If I could go to that, now I can go order the item. Now you’re getting into something that’s perhaps more elegant. It’s ragged to me, because I don’t even know what I’m getting when I’m there. It’s just so pointless.
Dan: It’s an east drag, which is fine, except it doesn’t delight me, it confuses me. There must be a customer somewhere where this totally works for them. I’m just not being apathetic to that user, I think.
Audience Member: Can I ask a question? Since there is so much possibility in the different ways you can interact to that granular level, do you think it’s a matter of being worth it for the user.
The effort or the weirdness of that interaction, understanding whether it’s elegant or ragged, something that’s worth it. Maybe it looks kind of off, but if there’s the right motivation and matching with my expectations, would that make it elegant for me?
Dan: To take it further into some of the stuff that we’ve done as we’ve really worked on UX that makes sense in a business concept, if the only people that this makes sense to are their most important customers, this is a huge success, maybe, I don’t know.
I’m going to hit you, and then I’m going to move one. Is that OK? Unless you got one…Other folks that are raising your hands, if you have something that’s like going to kill you not to get out, then tell me that and we’ll go.
Audience Member: [inaudible 36:26] .
Dan: We’ll do a rebuttal. That would be you, and we’ll finish up with you, and we’ll move on. I will show you one piece that I actually think is elegant.
Livia: Obviously, BD.
Dan: John, talk slowly, bring in a book. We got time.
Dan: Are you all right?
Audience Member: I think the content is actually currently important to the scene here and whether or not it’s ragged or elegant, because we see this scene of this tranquil bud, and then all of a sudden, we click on play and embed with these goofballs.
We never expected to be here for a whole minute and a half or whatever it is. It’s your expectation. It’s exactly the expectations. What do they think you might see and what are you actually seeing.
Dan: It touches on the emotional piece. The more elegant it is, the more that expectations are going to have a more serious impact on how to respond to. We’re going to go back and we’re going to move on.
Audience Member: It ties the whole expectation thing. If you’re in IKEA and you’re shopping, and you have little kids with you, you don’t expect that it’s going to show the stupid video on. It just adds to the whole frustration of the experience. You’d think you might get something beneficial out of it, and then you have that. Your kids are running around the store. This is the last thing you want to look at.
Dan: This case is confusing. It is the catalog, so maybe they are not in the store, maybe they are. I don’t know. That’s not a criticism. What I’m saying from perspective is, I just don’t get it.
The scene itself, I think you guys are really hitting on some key pieces there about expectations are different when we start to deal with scenes between channels, and there’s an emotional impact we really have to have our eyes open to, tied with that.
Audience Member: I just have two footnotes that I was going to write. One is when you’re doing play writing, that you talk about bumping the audience out. If you don’t bump the audience out, they’re totally in the scene, they’re emotionally invested. We talk about it earlier. If something happens, you bump them out, it’s considered bad in play writing, but that correlates with 10 years ago.
Adam Greenfield is writing about the scenes. He said, “The urge to make everything seamless, fantastic unless there’s a scene you want them to see.” Payment shouldn’t be frictionless. They should have to think about that they should be paying about. I just thought those interesting…When you should bump them out of the scenes, they don’t have much response.
Dan: What he’s doing is, it’s genius, is he’s taking something we understand. Hey, this is what happens in place. He’s applying it to this thing that doesn’t actually exist for most of us professionally yet anyway. Many of us are like, “I got it. Good. We’re going to have to do that. We’re going to have to be good at that.” I didn’t pick you, I didn’t pick you. I’m moving on. Who the hell do you think you are?
Audience Member: [laughs] On that subject of expectations, I think that for me it brings up the issue of labeling. A hypertext link is a seam that takes you from one web page to another. The language in that lane sets your expectations. This is where you’re going. What we’ve seen in both of these last couple of videos is an absence of any Symantec information about what’s going to happen.
You can write it off to preferences. There’s some magic preferences that they know what you want to do next. I’m pretty skeptical of that, so jumping from one medium to another, you still need some sort of Symantec information that says this is what’s going to happen, or this is easier to your choices.
Dan: Oh, no, he’s not going to go to Symantec. Oh, no, he isn’t going to go there. Does anybody guess, because you know me so well after the time we spent together, how did it stop? What I think is hidden in here actually doesn’t suck. There’s an elegant piece. We’re not going to get it. I can’t fast forward, so I’ll just tell you what…What’s that?
Audience Member: [inaudible 39:56] .
Dan: You didn’t see nothing yet.
Dan: You didn’t know in the beginning is it’s elegant as it’s ever going to get. It just gets worse and worse and then we stop. No, it’s that part. Did anybody see it? I’m on an iPhone and it loaded video without talking to me about anything. I just got to watch the goddamn video.
Dan: Maybe you have to be a little older to really appreciate just how nice that is. I don’t know. Maybe you just have to be a grouchy man. We’re going to move on. I know there’s a question back, so I’m going to move on. If it’s killing you, just bring it back up and I’ll act like we never went on. Let’s see if this works.
Uber, I didn’t think it would be interesting enough to just call up an Uber car and show you, “Hey, look, I can watch the car advance.” Won’t it be more interesting to study the seam actually study change what the seam is by looking two sides of the interaction.
We got the driver. Have we shown the customer yet? I was talking, I didn’t know. We got a customer. We get to watch, because Alex Caster is insane and made a video of his own life. That’s his girlfriend. This is what happens. She puts the call out and says, “I want a car.” We know this part, because less of us are Uber drivers, but many of us have had the opportunity to do Uber. It says, “I’ll get to you, and in the separate screen here, this is what he sees. It’s flashing. He’s got a minute. He has to respond in a minute.”
If you’re ever wondering when that thing is going on your side as a user, as a customer, what do they see? This is what they see. He says, “Yeah, I’ll take that.” She gets the message back, saying, “This guy, Alex, he’s coming. Here he comes. Let me show you where he is. Here’s where he is. This is him.” He says, “Here’s directions,” which it turns out, when you actually have sound on this, the directions are wrong.
Uber is telling the driver to stop about a block before the customer is there. If you ever see your Uber driver just park over there, he may not be as silly as you think he is. He’s driving, he’s driving. He’s apologizing for driving down where the cars are going. Since you don’t have the audio, I’d tell you what’s really there. There’s his ride. He needs to clean the window.
Dan: That can’t be safe. Hello. I’m here. He has to tell it that he’s there. It says, “I think you reached your location yet. I think you’re a block off. Why did you drive over here?” He says, “Screw you, I’m there.”
First of all, before we say whether it’s ragged or elegant, what is the actual seam here? [laughs] The actual seam is connecting to devices. They happen to be on the same channel, but because they’re held by the different human beings, they are in fact the different channel.
The old definition of channel says, “Oh, they’re both on phones, so that’s one channel.” No, we got a digitally-enhanced human, and we got a digitally-enhanced human and they just connected, and that’s the seam. Is that seam ragged or is it elegant?
Technically, we should look at it from one of those two sides, but it’s just too much fun. Let’s look at both of them. Is it elegant, or is it more elegant than ragged, or is it more ragged than elegant? It’s probably how I should be asking that.
It’s a hard one, right? You thought this was going to be easy. I’m going to go back to him and come back to you, because he hasn’t talked yet. Mostly, I just need to stretch.
Audience Member: I think it’s ragged, because the connection is actually the people, but you have this device that’s in between them that’s putting a barrier between…Although it’s helpful situation, it’s removed from the actual connection.
Dan: I get where you’re going although they are half a mile apart and it connects that.
Audience Member: Holding a device and holding these things and manipulating this other thing to have this connection, so maybe if it was more ingrained into what they were already doing or built into the car, or something where you don’t have to have this other auxiliary device.
Dan: You’re a hard ass. That’s a good one. He’s just like our users are. He’s like, “Screw you. I want it to work the way I want it to work.” Who is the other one? Sorry. My mind went blank when I talked.
Audience Member: I think it’s elegant. It provides instant feedback to both parties, and also it’s very focused on the task that that party needs to do, and it doesn’t really provide any other distractions.
Dan: Excellent. I got to tell you, so far, my favorite part of the presentation is every time you guys talk, you watch the looping video and I’m like, “I designed the group presentation.” Not to lose from the excellent point.
Dan: Sorry. I got excited.
Livia: Going off of that sort of disconnected thing, I think if it thinks he’s a block away and it’s telling him he’s not there, the Uber driver, there’s no way for them to connect one on one and say, “We can see each other and we’re OK,” or for him to say, if he went to the block away place, this is where I am. I’ve never used Uber, but it seems like it’s a little ragged in that way, that they could miss each other, because the app doesn’t give them any way to override this disconnect.
Dan: Picking up on an earlier conversation that we had, we had a degraded solution. We have an elegant solution, but if something goes wrong, we can give you a ragged one. She just said, “Hey, if something goes wrong here, you got nothing. You got squat.” Because of that, it sounds like you would feel it’s more ragged than elegant. I think I had somebody back here before I go to the guy over here, the symantec the guy.
Audience Member: Having used Uber a lot it’s super ragged, because GPS is so imprecise that there’s no accurate way. For example, flying here, apparently, there’s a secret spot in the Minneapolis Airport where the Uber drivers have to go.
For me to find where he was, and we’re on the phone talking, and I’m describing what I’m seeing and he is describing what he is seeing and we’re both missing each other, and we eventually found each other, but the app has no way to facilitate that, no way to help improve that situation. The disconnect where you physically are and where the app thinks you are, it can be vast.
Dan: While I make my way over to Peter, we’ve now picked up a best practice, a best practice based on our extensive study of the last 20 minutes, is you’ve got to have a degraded solution where you are risking being ragged as hell.
Audience Member: You said ragged as hell, right?
Dan: Yeah, or you’re going to be ragged as hell.
Audience Member: I’m basically following on the last couple of comments. I think that there are multiple seams here. I don’t it’s just the two devices. The automobile itself is sort of a seam. I had exactly the same experience. I only tried Uber once or twice and the driver called me, so now we’re both switching from looking at the map to talking to one another. “Where are you? I’m here.”
It makes me think a Lyft, with a pink mustaches or whatever they tape in front of the car, it’s goofy but at least you know this is my car. The car is actually a physical interface that could help with this. There’s multiple seams here.
Dan: There’s multiple seams, or you just described a very practical degraded version, which is awesome. I’m going to go over there and we’ll move onto the next one. I had something to say while I was walking over there. I can’t remember what it was. I’m sure it wasn’t very important. My mother used to always say that. Who raised…?
Audience Member: I was just thinking that since the technology isn’t a hundred percent there yet, I think it’s actually pretty elegant.
First of all, in this situation, the woman who was a passenger that the lift driver, the Uber driver got there pretty quickly, she didn’t have any problems, but that the driver can override the inaccuracy to use his own judgment, suggest to me that even though the technology isn’t perfect, it’s fairly elegant and it’s going to be improving. This technology improves, the accuracy will improve.
Dan: Did you guys hear that? We just developed best practice number two. Best practice number two is, if you can define elegant but you can’t hit it today, then your work is not done. To say it another way, we got to find budget for that before somebody else realizes that it’s not elegant. Good. I’m going to move on.
Every year, I say I’m not going to get the season tickets to Kings Dominion, which is an amusement park an hour and a half from my house and every year we buy it, and now they’re hooked up to PayPal, because I don’t have to give them my credit card anymore.
I was in the Kings Dominion site. I said, “Yeah, let me use PayPal.” PayPal information comes up as a part of the Kings Dominion site then I jump off to PayPal and I say, “Send me an SMS.” It sends me the SMS. This is the seam. Yes, there are many seams. This is the seam we are going to investigate. We enter the information after we’ve gone across the seam. We have another seam where we come back.
I don’t know. We can define a seam however you want, but what I want to make sure we’d focus on is it’s the call out to a third-party that uses a different device that you are using, and then you have to get back in again. That’s what I want you to say. Tell me whether I got a new speaker, whether it’s more elegant than ragged or more ragged than elegant. Has anybody noticed the Olivia can’t say the word ragged? [laughs]
Audience Member: I think it’s pretty ragged. I’ve had this happen before when I forgot my password and needed a code. Then trying to copy and paste from the iPhone is really hard. Where am I going to write down this code to remember to type it in?
Dan: Ragged, big vote for ragged. Who else has an opinion on that? Sir?
Audience Member: I find a lot of these mobile codes actually very convenient, because they tend to structure…
Dan: Can I stop you for just a moment? No, you can say conveniently what you want. I’ve noticed something about you. You are the elephant in the room, meaning you remember everything. When you respond to stuff, you’re talking about, “Oh, this is…” which is fine, you definitely want that in you, but I’m just warning you, I’m going to re-cast a little bit. For this one specifically, despite your horrible experiences.
Audience Member: Elegant or ragged. I think it’s fairly elegant. There’s a certain level of security that you need to have happened, and that’s what it’s built to do. It serves it to you in a text within the context of an iOS device. It pops it down, and you can read it without writing it down.
Dan: What would make it more elegant? I know we don’t want to get too far into the how, but I want to understand where you are in the spectrum.
Audience Member: If both devices had some sort of a near field so that if it’s sent, you could just automatically push, that it would just know by proximity. It would just ping it and then be done.
Dan: To give them credit, PayPal, if I stated on the phone. Of course, the Kings Dominion site is shit on a phone. If that wasn’t the case, PayPal will actually load it in there for you. It’s the fact that you are a Kings Dominion solution that PayPal is a part of, and PayPal will never get in those meetings where that’s not going to happen. That’s a good one.
Audience Member: Just real quick, I agree. I think the idea that you can get that six-digit code, it’s a number, and you can see it on your phone without having to open your phone. I thought that made it pretty elegant.
Dan: Did we have somebody in the back? I think I saw an arm. She’s the star right now. You guys are really falling behind. Even our two stars up there, they’re feeling kind of shy now.
Audience Member: Ragged. If I walk a mile in my mother’s shoes for example, and not be my own user group of one who’s a little bit too close, perhaps, to the technology, there are so many points of failure in that system, it’s miserable.
Dan: Who could fix it? Who could fix it? Because it’s a worldwide example. Who could fix it? What company could fix this? I don’t mean vendors. I mean who is it on? Is it on Kings Dominion or is it on PayPal, or is it equal among the two? Who do we want to work for? Because we think we could fix it. What do you say? Just shout it out, or do you have something else?
Audience Member: I think it’s a little bit of both, but it starts at PayPal’s side.
Dan: You’ve done a really wonderful thing. The experience doesn’t start there, but the problem starts there, and I guess the seam, sort of. Anything else that’s going to burn you if I don’t quote you? Or can I go move?
Audience Member: This is a big one, that that password seam is a seam in itself, it’s a big disconnect. Only watch participants hit a login. Especially if you’re watching them, they know this person isn’t a space. They’re being watched like us.
The fact that most help centers, help centers, help desk, et cetera, would have to deal with this, that’s their big issue, is that login stem. It’s 25 percent of the calls they have to deal with. It’s because it’s a big ragged seam. It’s a big, huge ragged seam.
Dan: Good. Let me move on. I like this one. This is East Carolina University. It’s a little hard to tell, because I could’ve maybe edited it better. There is a computer over top of a sandbox, and it is measuring how high the sand goes and taking data and applying it. This is the cool part. It adjusts.
Calculations are going on, because take a look at what’s happening. It’s deciding how real water would react if this topographic change happened. Here’s what it would look like once it has already changed. You have order actually moving. It doesn’t suddenly appear to other place. It leaks into it.
I didn’t share it, but they have a whole other script. They have to go over and hit the keyboard a few times. They can do volcanoes too, but lava acts differently than water, so it’s whole different program, but the approach is the same. This is a scene between the device that’s projecting, and the physical world. That’s the scene. See the water leaking? I’m pointing it out only because I think it’s really cool.
We’re going to let it go a little bit more because he does something slightly different this time. He says, “Well what if we had a lake up there? Let me fill it with water.” Look, there’s a gap there, so the water’s going to spill out. It’s too much water.
Audience Member: I think that one’s super elegant. The reason is because you’re directly, and organically manipulating the information, and the device that’s controlling it’s totally invisible in this whole scene.
Dan: Pretty compelling argument. You’re very persuasive.
Audience Member: I would say it’s elegant as well because, myself as a user, I don’t have to know anything about geology to understand, because I made a change, what happened from a geological perspective. I think it’s very elegant.
Dan: In reality, it’s for students, so if you do understand this stuff, you get a whole different experience than we do, but we’re pretty pleased with it too.
Audience Member: I think it’s very elegant. It reminds me a lot of the scene when you go to the movies, and they have the stuff on the ground, and you see the kids playing with the bubbles, and they’re popping on it. The only point of failure that I saw was that he couldn’t add the water at the top of the sand pile.
Dan: That would’ve been more elegant, wouldn’t it?
Audience Member: It would, if you want to get really nitty gritty. Sand, pun intended.
Livia: No pun intended.
Audience Member: [laughs] I thought it was amazing.
Dan: This one always hangs up. I don’t know why that is. Anybody else on this one before we move on? Double dippers, these are double dippers. The rest of you should feel terrible about yourselves.
Audience Member: It’s really nitpicking, but it’s clear that there’s a certain amount of latency. I think that’s probably true for any huge 3D computational challenge. The not quite real time nature of the updates slightly breaks the illusion, but nitpicking. It’s lovely.
Dan: It is, isn’t it? I’m going to go enroll at East Carolina. Anybody else before we move on? No? Number seven, how you doing up there? You all right?
Livia: I’m good.
Dan: Who is that guy? This time my daughter is the camera man. He gets back from his run. Don’t look at the time. I don’t want to hear it. Not that fast. That’s right, I went old school. This is a six year old Garmin mileage thing. This is the display. You probably can’t see it from there. It’s loading in what’s on the watch.
Once it finally gets there, I can toggle back and forth between the different runs that I put in there. For the purpose of the example, don’t worry about so much how long it takes for the data to happen. It’s really about, “I’ve got a physical object and that information gets into a computer, into a desktop.”
Audience Member: Did it just start happening when you got there, or did you have to [inaudible 56:25] ?
Dan: I had to do some setup. Good question. Which means I know who’s going to have the first opinion. Is it ragged, or is it elegant?
Audience Member: Six years ago, it was probably pretty badass, right?
Audience Member: But now, we’ve improved since then.
Dan: We have. The physical side of it that’s what I want you to focus…you’re absolutely right. The physical side of it, though. I’ve got a physical element that then speaks.
Audience Member: I was just going to say that reiterates my point about elegance being a moment in time, because six years ago it was fine. Now today, we’ve got maybe a little different standards or a different expectation, but at a moment in time it was elegant, and then over time it becomes ragged.
Dan: Before I go to you, unless this is you. Is there anybody that wants to defend that I’ve taken a watch, I’ve stuck it into a harness, and the data shows up on a desktop? It’s OK if you don’t. I’m just curious. Anybody want to defend that? No? OK. Cool.
Somebody in the back. Of course, it’s always in the back, and we’ll come back up to you. I promise, and I’m going to throw this at you again.
Audience Member: I think it is actually pretty elegant, because you don’t have to do anything besides plug it in, and once you plug it in, the data transfers. It’s pretty seamless in terms of once that physical connection is made, and keeping in mind the limitations of the technology at the time, even now it’s pretty seamless. Of course, now we would have wireless transmission, but there’s nothing else you have to do besides plug it in.
Dan: I’m not trying to sell you on this, but it reminds me of that great story that’s baked into anybody who’s heard it where they were in Africa, and they were trying to save kids, and they found that there are three, two-digit measurements that you can take on a kid in a village in the middle of Africa, that will determine whether he or she needs to be treated for malnutrition, which is relatively easy to treat as long as you know that that’s what they need to have treated.
Everybody has a phone. Nobody has a smart phone, so they used SMS. It is ugly. It is gross. It is brilliant, and it worked. It saved lives, because somebody said, “Shit. They can use this.”
Audience Member: I just want to say that I’ve had an experience very similar to this, but I guess slightly newer technology. I have a treadmill that’s a smart treadmill.
All I did was sign up, and it links the app to my phone. I’ll be working out, and I push one button and I’m user two, and it loads everything into my phone. There I can track exactly what you’ve seen, how far I’ve gone, how long I’ve gone, how my heart rate is going, and all of these things. It’s a very seamless experience, and I personally love it. It’s neat to see where it’s evolved from.
Dan: God. You guys make me feel like a dinosaur. [jokingly]
Dan: God, you guys make me feel like a dinosaur. I didn’t really think about replacing you, because I’m, like all of us, I’m like, “Hey, it’s working, I am not throwing it away.” Until I put on a video. I’m like, “Man, I really need to get a new one.”
We’re going to get this comment and move on. Actually, we’re going to bother Livia, we’re going to ask her how the digital space is going.
Audience Member: There might be something to it, also the fact that if you’re running, you might be running every day or every other day or on a more consistent basis. It might move more towards being thought of as more seamless. Perhaps, if you’re doing that consistent thing and you know you only have to do this one thing, and sort of like getting used to the context.
Dan: Which almost feels like it’s either a best practice or it’s an attribute that, even if it’s a little clunky, it’s a simple as it can be. If it’s going to be repeated, it has to be as simple as it can be, even if it’s clunky, but simple. I’m going to go ahead and move on. I’m going to ask Livia, Hey Livia.
Dan: How is the digital space going? Are these guys actually paying any attention to it, you think?
Livia: Oh, a few. There seems to be like three things that came up that form a stronger, or less misshapen things, evolve over time to meet expectations as a characteristic of an elegant theme, positive emotional impact. Or I guess, maybe, intentional or, because you put intentional on the desire or negative impact.
Direct manipulation of information, or as close to that as possible over the years, so they’re less and less abstraction. Like the guy interacting with the sand and things like that.
Dan: In fact, we’ve got a metaphor to describe it, like when the playwright unintentionally lets the audience gets bumped out.
Dan: Right? Good stuff. We’re good? Let’s move on. Oh, this is my favorite. We’re back into imagineering space. This is, somebody put together a video of which I cut out chunks of and took the audio out. But I think you’ll be able to follow it.
What if you took the idea of Google Glass and you put it in contacts, and both people on this first date are wearing Google Contacts?
He loads up his app, he’s on a date, he loads up his app, and it talks about, it’s loading the app, it’s telling him what his score is. The rest of the video is him doing really well at games. She’s sending a quick message to her friends, “This is a really bad date, this guy’s creepy.”
He’s downloading all sorts of information about her. It’s giving him some suggestions. Maybe he should go somewhere else. Maybe this isn’t going to work out. “You should ask her what kind of beverage she wants.” Let me flip through, yeah, that wine would work. Let me order it, and he orders it with his Google Contacts.
He even looks a little creepy. He gets a badge, because he [inaudible 01:24] . This is later in the date. Why does he get the badge? Did they show how much wine has been drunk? Act cool. She’s talking about something. Don’t blow it.
It’s analyzing her vocal footprint to get a sense of how engaged she is. She was ready to cut out in the beginning. It gives him a visual example of how he should smile.
It’s talking about something that’s gone bad at his work and he starts to get defensive about it, and the Contacts says, “Shut up. Don’t talk about that.” How much wine? The optimal level. She’s drunk 65 percent of the bottle of wine. I’m going to move in.
She looks open to the idea, “Wrap it up,” it tells her. “Let’s go. Let me pay the bill and we’ll go to my place.” Where he blows it, by the way. Then has a really creepy ending if anybody wants to track it down. Or we could talk about it.
I don’t know which part is the scene. But give it a shot. Are there elegant aspects of this? Are there ragged aspects of this? I know it sounds fanciful, but there are parts of this that are going to happen. Thank you, Peter.
Peter: It’s hard to tell from the video, but I think that a ragged aspect of this is that while you’re trying to look at the information your eyes are flying all over the place, and you look like a crazy person.
Dan: The part of it that I think we’re going to have to deal with, so we’re going to go here, then you, then that guy over there. The part of it that I want us to embrace, and I know I’m being obnoxious about this, is this is two data enhanced humans interacting with each other. That is not going to go away.
If you think I’m being fanciful, think about your airport experience. Anybody who traveled on business 10 years ago, you went up to the counter, they had a green screen, they would whack away at it as hard as they could, they’d tell you what was on the screen, you were done. You had a piece of paper the whole time.
Today, you walk up and there’s a problem. It snowed a quarter inch at Heathrow Airport and they shut the airport down. I was literally in line; it was the worst airport experience I’ve ever had. I was in line for seven hours.
Audience Member: Sorry about that.
Dan: Ultimately, a woman with a mobile phone, who had helped 100 people before her and her battery was dying, said, “OK, I’m on you. What can I do for you?” Because she had a special number she could call that we couldn’t get to. She was digitally enhanced, and without that digitally enhanced person, I may still be in line at Heathrow Airport.
Audience Member: Presumably, Google Glass advertises to other people that you have this extra back channel of information. The question about this future is, should you, on a date, assume that both parties have all this scary information?
Do they both have it, and think that only one of them has it, and that they’ve got some sort of superior advantage? It’s a very strange world in which you might, or might not know that the other person has this.
Dan: There isn’t a familiar aspect, though there’s an analog to it, which is, this is what a first date does when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases, where each person knows something that the other one doesn’t know.
Livia: Back to my original point.
Dan: She wants to get nowhere near the microphone now that I’ve mentioned this.
Livia: Yuck. This is so gross, but that must mean it’s awesomely elegant. It’s ragged because it’s a barrier. The two people aren’t interacting at all. They’re just interacting with data.
Dan: Awesome point. Every time I come over here you go left field into something that’s like gold. That was awesome.
Livia: The data should interact with each other, and just get this damn date done.
Dan: Then we’re back to Peter’s suspicions about preferences not actually helping us filter stuff. I want to make sure we hit on this nice and hard, because that was really good. It has the illusion of connecting digitally enhanced humans, and the irony is it actually pushes them apart.
I was more connected 10 years ago to the green screen woman, than I was to the woman on the phone. There as a barrier between…That’s fascinating. I got to just sit here, and think about that. Is it going next to you? Then I’ll come back to you, and I think I might have one back there.
Audience Member: Very, very quick high level comment on what Peter said.
Dan: Speak slowly.
Audience Member: Yes?
Peter: I’m not going to mock you, but I can’t understand you when you talk fast.
Audience Member: That’s fine. I will slow down. I just wanted to say that what Peter said about the fact that you look like a maniac is true, but we thought that going around, talking to yourself in the street using a Bluetooth device would’ve looked pretty much the same 10 years ago.
The other thing is also, I wanted to bring attention to the fact that you already said these are data enhanced humans. This is going to happen, and this is already happening. The part that feels creepy to us is the fact that we’re off loading some of our knowledge because we do that, only we don’t have that much information normally.
We know about tastes, or preferences, but we have to put it in our heads, while here it’s flirted. That’s the creepy part, just to make a remark about that.
Dan: One of many creepy parts, but a really important one. You were the guy. I knew I had a guy in the back.
Peter: Maybe this is getting too philosophical, but if you remove the digital out of it these are things that they would think anyway. I think what this is highlighting is that any time two parties interact, regardless of device, it’s a seam, and there is lost information, and there is misinterpretation, and there are different agendas.
The way they’re interacting with their individual devices seems elegant, because it seems to be very smooth, but the way they’re interacting with each other is incredibly ragged.
Dan: That’s the seam part. We’ve done something really interesting here between you, and you, and the general conversation. We’ve started to talk about a different kind of seam that has a different kind of ragged. That’s good stuff. It’s not like this is going to go away.
You’re going to remember a couple years from now, you’ll be in the middle of an argument, and somebody’ll say, “This feels so familiar. Why are we talking?” Hopefully it won’t be around Google context though.
Audience Member: Looking at this, if we think about these as two digitally enhanced humans, today it’s two phones, and them both looking down at the phone, not talking to the person across from me.
I read once somewhere that the whole problem Google Glass was trying to solve, was all these people looking down at their phones while they’re walking, running into things, and not interacting with the people in the world around them.
The problem that we’re trying to solve is to give them a way just to look, and still get some of that information that they’re after on their phones, and still take in the world.
We know it didn’t really work out so well, but I would say this is elegant in that sense that it’s trying to take two digitally enhanced humans, and take away the device that was the thing that was actually taking them out of the world. In this case, so much information on the screen is the new thing that’s now getting in the way of them interacting with the world around them.
Dan: Fantastic point. I’m going to get you, and then we’re going to move on, unless somebody’s dying because this one has passion behind it.
Audience Member: I don’t necessarily believe that they would be doing all of these things anyway if they didn’t have access to the information. What I’m curious about is, how much does the access to the information influence their behavior?
Dan: Just to make sure I understand. It’s not, how does the data influence? How does the access to the data influence their behavior? If I know I can track this stuff, right away I’m going to act differently. It’s already changed me before I’ve even used it.
Audience Member: People in bars all the time, whenever there’s a bar argument they look it up. Nobody ever did that before, and bar arguments were a lot more fun.
Dan: We had characters like that postman in cheers. “You know what you got there? Yeah, that’s a mulligan knot.” This is the last one, and then we’re going to move on because I could tell this’ll drive you crazy if you don’t get to talk.
Audience Member: Going back to what this woman said here, about this idea that the seam itself, or the technology itself is creating a false connection between these two people. I’m trying to compare it to fabric, and the seam of two pieces of fabric. In something that is seamless, you can’t tell the seam is there.
We’re talking about seams where you can tell there’s a seam. Is it elegant, or is it ragged? This, to me, in the context of the technology taking over the relationship seems like the seam is so obvious it can’t be elegant, because it’s like sewing together two pieces of fabric with yarn.
Dan: I think it’s a great response. While we’re beating up this metaphor I will mention, did anybody notice the photo of the tight jeans on the woman, and the tight jeans on the dude. I can’t speak for the dude so much, but the woman looked pretty good. It was pretty good. There are seams that are pretty nice.
Dan: There’s good seams. Hey Emily.
Emily: You’ve got 10 minutes left.
Dan: Thank you. We got 10 minutes left. How do you want to handle it boss?
Audience Member: Do they have time for one more?
Dan: Let’s do one more, and then we’ll jump into attributes?
Audience Member: Sounds good.
Dan: We’re going to go for one more, which I honestly have no idea what it is. I can’t remember. We’ve been doing this along the way, but we’re going to swing it back through, and say, what is the attributes of an elegant seem? What are the attributes of a ragged seam?
I want you guys to be thinking universally. I think you guys have been, except for all the people who are quiet. I have no idea what you are thinking. That’s right, a QR code. I did put one in there. It’s really weird. You’re going to see this again. I wanted to give you some foreshadowing, because you realize it’s actually a QR code on a computer screen.
I’m in an app. I open Fuse. Anybody that’s familiar with Text Myth products. I opened fuse, I went into, my camera roll for the phone, I picked out the third sighting of my daughter, this time with two friends on their softball team, I chose that I want to send it to Camtasia, which is on my desktop.
It says, “OK.” Now I want to know what phone, and what computer. Got it. I’m connecting. Let me load that sucker up. Meanwhile, back at the desktop, there’s the photo in the upper left, if you didn’t see it. It loaded. Just to make sure no one missed the point, I’m going to drag it from the left side of the screen, and there it is. Ragged, or elegant? Front row.
Audience Member: I really wanted to hate this one, but it completely bypassed any sort of login, that I could tell, so elegant.
Dan: What a great comment.
Audience Member: Same thing. I just absolutely hate QR codes, because it was, “Oh my God, this actually works.” It’s wireless. It’s not you’re uploading something, downloading something at which makes you completely nuts trying to find the right wire to hook in.
Dan: It’s feeling a lot like the garmin harness and our UNICEF example of using text messages. Damn text messages. It is cranky, ugly, and, “Oh shit, that was pretty cool.” I’m not arguing for them. I am with you guys. It’s, “Wow, oh, hey. What do you know?”
Livia: That’s an interesting thing there about QR codes, which is easy to hit on. You are already within the app. You expected the next stuff to be some linkage. It just happened to offer the QR code as the method from the app. You don’t have to take your phone out, load an app that would read QR codes and then take that action.
That may be something that makes QR codes not suck is that it was part of your expectation. It made that more elegant than the usual awkward experience.
Dan: Absolutely. If you’re not familiar with fuse the app part, it has other things that it does as well. This exchanges one of the things it does. It sounds based on what you just said. You would feel if it adjusted that. That would be weaker the fact that it’s a suite of services, “What do you know?”
We asked whether this one is ragged or elegant. The answer is, “Would you look at that isn’t that interesting?” OK, any other comments on anything we’ve looked at up to this point before we talk about what does it all mean [inaudible 13:32] , nobody?
Who is loaded? Who’s written down…No, I don’t want to ask who’s loaded. What I meant to say is who’s got one handy? What attributes described an elegant seam? What we’re thinking about isn’t today, but for the next 10 years. We should be able to list stuff that we can hit today, that will hit really well tomorrow. None of it is really Buck Roger Stuff.
Buck Rogers was a 20th Century cartoon…Wow, asked a hard question and nobody has got an answer. My go-to guy back here, what do you got? You don’t have to do one, no pressure.
Audience Member: Really old fashioned. That should be in a fullness side. The QR code, you see it and you think, “Oh, I know what to do with that.” Whereas, the lady with the big map, she had to magically know that her phone is capable of scanning that map and do something with it.
Dan: Back to be elegant, there must be semantic information. Anybody disagree with that from what we’ve done today? It’s OK if you do. I love you if you disagree. It leads to a more conversation. OK, good.
One of the things we highlighted earlier, we are now underscoring, putting a highlighter on, and circling it. It’s to be elegant. It has to have semantic information. Let’s get to yours. You got one, because you brought it up really well about the immersion.
Audience Member: If it has an emotional response, better be positive.
Audience Member: That’s right.
Dan: Or, it’s not elegant.
Livia: You guys said already a few different things. Careful. Maybe you want to create a really creepy…
Dan: Yeah. You mentioned that.
Audience Member: Exactly. You did say that it can have an intentional, emotional impact good or bad. Also said direct manipulation-information evolves overtime to meet those expectations and then this one, I really like. It flows as expected.
Dan: Nice. Semantic is related to that. They are mutually exclusive. They work together. In fact, if it was designed that would be complimentary design. No, I’m sorry. Well, how about you’ve been listening to us and you fiercely expanding this across. What other attributes do you think can we capture even in your own opinion?
Audience Member: They seem to have consolidated around these queue things. Those are about the elegant ones. The ragged ones, first, identify when something goes wrong. They’re easy to identify when something goes wrong. That’s not necessarily what makes them ragged. It’s just that those are the ways to spot them.
They impose certain interactions whether it’s your choice of device or the model of interaction. The guy doing the send had to stop and get him out to click on the thing.
Dan: The idea of being bumped out of the scene. That’s ragged.
Audience Member: Yeah. The data being constrained by touch point. If you assume that you know you’ll interact with screen, I’ll walk away. My phone will know to grab the photo or whatever it is that I did, which is an opposition of when it closes as expected. If you don’t meet that expectation, then you have created a ragged scene.
Dan: We very skillfully expanded what ragged mean. Ragged can mean you’ve crossed the boundary that the user doesn’t want you to cause. We’ve talked about personal information. Yes, it does something’s elegantly. It measures out as ragged, because you just crossed the line. I’m really pissed off about it.
Livia: I think this is a useful one for me. Ragged is an intentional bump in the road, intentional or not bump in the road.
Dan: Nice. What you think about it, a bump in the road?
Livia: You can use ragged. Ragged will more likely be perceived as negative. You can use it to your advantage if you need focus your attention on a particular thing, or if you want to create something that is different from the expectation of the user for a reason.
Dan: Give me an example. I’m fascinated.
Livia: I think potentially, if you want to encourage the user to spend more time with a particular set of information of doing what, you may now make it so apparent how do you get out of that moment and go to the next moment, or they have to take some action to figure that out. I don’t know. I need to think about…
Dan: No, essentially, that’s a good one to chew on.
Audience Member: Launching missiles.
Dan: Launching missiles. That’s ragged.
Audience Member: That’s a super ragged [inaudible 17:34] part right, but it’s intended to be.
Dan: Right. We hit this earlier in the back of the room too. It was a privacy issue. It was over on the side of the room when we talked about bank.
If I’m going to send financial information, I want it to hold me up. It’s interesting. We’ll have to take into account when we start saying ragged and elegant, whether that’s a ragged or elegant issue. I think it is. We have to make sure that’s what we want. I’m guessing you’re raising your hand there. What you got?
Audience Member: The road bump that Livia was just mentioning in banking or finishing any commerce sequence. You don’t want them to abandon their shopping carts. Sometimes, you’ll put those barriers up to make sure that they go through the whole flow, the whole funnel. Some [inaudible 18:12] .
Dan: This is discouraging to me. This is really discouraging to me, because how many times in our careers have we worked to the place or had a client where they hide the customer service number. They don’t want to make their call-ins any larger.
It turns out where we make so many advances. We’ll just have more sophisticated ways to piss me off and do similar things, which is not always going to be the case. Anybody want to do the last comment of the day, right up front, last comment, no pressure? Tell me about anything.
Audience Member: I was just thinking you had to try to actually write something down in chart, so they’ll show my customers. I’m thinking about the things that people have said. It seems to be a bunch of what you call them aspects of…
Dan: Attributes or would you call it something else?
Audience Member: …of service design. Attributes. Then, you’ll have to do with the feedback level about the seam, about the system or what. I don’t think there is a thing called seamlessness when people are switching into another system. They are aware of that right. It’s an appropriate level. It’s feedback space, location time or link to remember your storage, fidelity, and size of the channel.
Dan: Not attributes, but aspects.
Audience Member: Aspects.
Dan: Now, slowly, give me the list of aspects. Is this elegant?
Audience Member: I think either one.
Dan: Or, of any seam?
Audience Member: No, either one.
Dan: Here’s a short list that we come up with as a result of today of the aspects that we should track for scenes. Go ahead. Do it again.
Audience Member: It has to do the feedback level, the system or the seam is giving you. The space, that is the source of comments that came of our, who’s observing me, how many dozens of people know my best job, where I’m going to be in the next 24 1/2 minutes? That sort of space.
The location or the locale, the over distance to connection or closure, and the time and the links. I get into a 90-second video, all I wanted to find out was how many sheets I’m going to buy.
Memory or the storage involved, is it remember this for me, is it here, what fidelity is it, what fidelity is the size of the channel, and the scope available to the space that’s shared all of these things, the fidelity available?
Dan: That’s a great way to end it. It’s yet another way to slice the data for all of us to keep chewing on it, and come up with brilliant answers to these questions, because if we’re right, these questions are just the beginning of it. We’re going to be doing this for the rest of our careers if we stay in the digital space. It’s not even you actually in the digital space.
All right, thank you very much for being part of this experiment. You are wonderful audience. It’s Twitter. It lives forever. For the rest of our lives, there’d be IAS15 Seam where you can study all the brilliant work that Livia did. Is it all in there, Livia, or do you have more work to do?
Livia: It’s all in there. It will be great to keep hearing it. If you think of examples situations, I think the examples are very helpful to just continue thinking about these things. If you have more new ones on how you would frame the elegant versus ragged, I would really love to hear it. We’ll keep sharing.
Dan: Thanks everybody. Have a great conference.