Smart Things: an outline

Several people have asked me to describe the ubicomp UX book I'm writing. As time allows (and it doesn't allow much), I'll try to post some information about it. For now, I'll start with an annotated outline. A big caveat: the final product may little resemble this, but this this is the outline I'm writing to. I've removed some of the detailed description because I want to surprise you and I because I may change my mind.

Smart things: the design of things that have computers in them, but are not computers

[this will probably not be the final title, but it gives you the gist of what I'm trying to say with it]

0. Preface

Writing about ubiquitous computing is like trying to draw a plane as it's flying by you at 600 miles an hour. The best you can hope for is that the general outline is right, because there are certainly going to be many details that aren't.

1. Introduction: The Hidden Middle of Moore's Law

PART ONE: Frameworks

2. Broad concepts

This chapter will introduce the background issues that underlie some of the broad conceptual frameworks.
  • The relationship between industrial, interaction and service design
  • The importance of context.
  • The design of social devices.
  • Each new class of ubiquitous computing devices is essentially a new tool.

3. Information processing is a material

Embedded information processing acts like a material and creates new capabilities, and imposes new constraints.
  • Behavior as competitive advantage. When a designer can include information processing in a product for very little cost, the calculation becomes not one of engineering complexity, that’s relatively cheap, but one of competitive advantage.
  • How information processing is a material.
  • Some qualities of information as a material.

4. Information Processing as Material Case Study

5. Information shadows

Nearly everything manufactured today exists simultaneously in the physical world and in the world of data.
  • A digital representation is the object's information shadow.
  • Information shadow can be examined and manipulated without having to touch the physical object.
  • Coates' Point-at-things.
  • Sterling's wine
  • Design with information shadows.
  • Physical/Network mashups.
  • Identification as the cornerstone of the Internet of Things.

6. Information Shadows Case Study

7. Devices are Service Avatars

  • When the same information can be accessed and manipulated through a variety of devices, value shifts to the information, rather than the device that’s communicating it.
  • Devices become projections of services. A number of familiar appliances--cell phones, ATMs--are worthless without the networks they’re attached to. They are physical manifestations, avatars, projections into physical space of abstract services, but are not services themselves.
  • Objects become subscriptions.
  • Types of avatars.
  • Products and services co-design.

8. Service avatar Case Study

9. Applianceness

[all props to Bill Sharpe]
  • Defining applianceness. When computation is cheap, we no longer have to make general-purpose computers. There is no longer the need to think about a one-to-one computer-user relationship that terms like Human-Computer Interaction imply. One human to a multitude of appliances, some of which use information processing.
  • Applying applianceness.

10. Applianceness case study

11. Applianceness case study 2

12. Granularity

Ubiquitous computing devices can come in all sorts of sizes and the user experience design for them must take this into account. General purpose computers traditionally have interfaces that are person-scale. They’re designed to be used in a wide variety of ways, and what typically makes sense is to make the input device about the size of your hands and the output about the size of your head.
  • A powers-of-ten scale ubicomp experience design.
  • Location-based services. How to size up the world.

13. Granularity Case Study

14. Interaction metaphors for ubicomp

Why metaphors are important in UX design. Existing ubicomp metaphors.
  • Weiser's calm computing
  • Home automation
  • The metaphors in the names of subfields
  • Magic

15. Metaphor case study

PART TWO: Techniques

16. Design from observation

  • Introduction
  • "Design Ethnography": it's not ethnography
  • Observation techniques
  • Design probes
  • Learning from vernacular technology
  • Cross-disciplinary precedents

17. Cross-disciplinary iteration

The importance of cyclical development processes that cycle through all, or most, of the design disciplines required to create a ubicomp product.
  • Intro to rapid iteration
  • Sketching in hardware
  • Hardware hacking: hardware as tracing paper
  • Video prototyping
  • Interaction vocabularies: Saffer's gestures, Arnall's RFID interaction, etc.

18. Augmentation of existing objects

Since the concepts are so new, one particularly successful way to create new Ubicomp UX is to take an existing object and augment its functionality through technology.
  • What
  • How much
  • The right kind of augmentation
  • Functional vs. decorative
  • Physical-Web mashups
  • Smart furniture
  • Wearables

19. Scenarios

  • 10X
  • Demography is destiny, maybe
  • Mapping between domains
  • Realistic bounds, overly positive/negative scenarios, the return of Unintended Consequences

20. Simulation

  • Looks-like/Works-like prototypes
  • Wizard of Oz
  • Elmo++

21. Common design challenges

  • Configuration. Out-of-box and beyond.
  • Device interconnection. The promiscuous Wiimote holds a lesson.
  • UX consistency between devices.
  • Introducing novel functionality.

22. Explaining disruptive technologies

There's a lot of potential for disruptive technologies in ubiquitous computing, and explaining the potential disruptions to relevant stakeholders and potential customers is a challenge.
  • Is a new technology genuinely disruptive? Don't believe the hype.
  • Design for disruption.
  • Explaining the value of disruption to stakeholders.
  • Explaining disruptive technologies to customers.

23. From calm computing to everyware

  • Ubiquitous computing is here
  • As user experience designers we have a responsibility to think about how to design for it explicitly, rather than trying to use methods from Web design or industrial design.
  • In the last 20 years, the understanding of what ubiquitous computing means has likewise grown significantly, and has moved from the idea of office-based productivity that disappears into the background to encompass just about everything except the office.

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A device studio that lives at the intersections of ubiquitous computing, ambient intelligence, industrial design and materials science.

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Smart Things: Ubiquitous Computing User Experience Design

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ISBN: 0123748992
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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mike Kuniavsky published on February 8, 2009 4:34 PM.

Detangling the meanings around the design of services was the previous entry in this blog.

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