How Millennials Require Us to Design the Technologies of Tomorrow You’ve seen them walking around shopping malls, college campuses and summertime social gatherings — those packs of sleepy-eyed teens with their heads down and eyes glued to their smartphones. Even though they cluster together in groups, you notice they don’t make direct eye contact or utter any sounds to each other except to share a video or Tweet, since each is immersed in his or her own text message conversation or social media exchange. One might even be sending a text to another only a few feet away. Whether we like it or not, the zombie apocalypse is upon us and unlike the movies dedicated to this popular genre, the millennial generation will prove to be the most influential, distracted and finicky demographic in history when it comes to technology use. What does the millennial generation mean for technology makers? Providing millennials with slick user experiences is not just a matter of appeasing them. Jake Wobbrock, Ph.D., is co-founder and CEO of AnswerDash.
Siri co-creator: 'don't hold your breath' for the AI in 'Her' Only a few people are truly qualified to evaluate the technological merits of Samantha, Joaquin Phoenix's A.I. co-star in Spike Jonze's film Her. One of these people is most certainly Dag Kittlaus, co-creator of Siri. In an op-ed for Variety, he asks "Can Siri catch up?" "Maybe," he says, "but don't hold your breath." "Samantha never made a mistake." Kittlaus was as amused by Scarlett Johansson's Samantha as the rest of us, but questions how possible building such a computer would be. Setting aside background noise, what about the scene where Phoenix takes Samantha on a date at a carnival (in his shirt pocket) and she proceeds to make detailed observations about his surroundings? "I don't even need to mention the complexities of building a program that's adept at verbal phone sex," he adds.
LaCie brings super-fast and super-sleek portable storage devices to CES 2014 | CES 2014: Computers and Hardware LAS VEGAS -- If anything, LaCie aims to impress at CES 2014. Apart from the , the storage vendor announced today two new remarkable portable storage devices, the new LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2 and the LaCie Sphere. The LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2 is the major upgrade to the exciting that came out a few years ago. Similar to its predecessor, the new Thunderbolt 2 Little Big Disk comes with a full aluminum enclosure, but now comes in black instead of white. The LaCie Sphere, on the other hand, is a USB 3.0 portable drive so it doesn't have the above speed to impress. Partnered with Christofle, a French luxury silvercraft brand founded in 1830, LaCie created the Sphere as a luxurious piece of technology. The LaCie Sphere is slated to be available in the first quarter of 2014 in a single 1TB capacity, and with the estimated price of $450. Check back after CES for the full review of the LaCie Sphere and the new Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2.
The Rapidly Disappearing Business of Design By almost every measure, 2014 was a breakthrough year for design and big business. Any list of highlights would include John Maeda joining the ranks of Kleiner Perkins as a partner, Jony Ive re-asserting Apple’s product vision and IBM rapidly building the largest design team on the planet. Beyond all of the hype, we can measure the rise of design in terms of dollars invested by major corporations in design talent. So, you might ask yourself why leading design firms are contracting or exiting the business just when it has become more relevant than ever to corporate America. Adaptive Path, a bay area pioneer in User Experience Design (UX), recently exited the business, finding greener pastures as the in-house design agency for Capital One. Consolidation is nothing new for creative industries like advertising, which is dominated by a few large holding companies. What does this mean for the future of design as an independent field of practice in 2015 and beyond? Robert Fabricant's About
Joaquin Phoenix on heartbreak, rejuvenation and talking to Siri | Film Around halfway through I'm Still Here, the 2010 documentary chronicling Joaquin Phoenix's short-lived rap career and apparent retirement from acting, he undertakes a shambolic press junket, snapping when a journalist asks if it's all a hoax. "It's hard not to get offended, because you're talking about my life," barks Phoenix. "As if my life's a fuckin' joke to you." It's moderately disconcerting, having recently watched that sequence, to be here in a hotel suite with Phoenix, another journalist talking about his life. In Spike Jonze's Her, set in a near future LA, Phoenix is Theodore, a despondent, solitary writer whose life picks up when he falls in love with Samantha, a portable, artificially intelligent operating system who provides more than he could have hoped for. So was it Her's exploration of relationships that appealed to him more than the technology issues it raises? Reading this on mobile? Jonze had seen I'm Still Here before casting Phoenix. I do.
Torso Aims To Rein In Phone Charger Cable Chaos If the sight of tangled cables brings you out in OCD shakes then this little gizmo, currently seeking $50k in Kickstarter crowdfunding, will bring peace and tranquility to your gadget-loving eye. Torso is the charger cable transformed into a shortened, bendable stub which can double as a phone stand — so you can Facetime handsfree or snap a self-timer photo or stand your phone up while charging it. Torso can also act as a portable spool to prevent your headphones from roving aimlessly around your bag, tying themselves into as many knots as possible like a pair of dogs left to run free with their leashes on. Torso is actually the follow up to 2012′s Twig, which pulled in just over $168,000 on Kickstarter in July 2012 but was designed purely for the old 30-pin iPhone connector. Apple has since shifted to its new 8-pin Lighting connector so Torso’s makers have updated their design to play nice with the iPhone 5s/5c (a plastic clip/cradle is required to securely grip the phone).
Is DevOps Driving the Future of UX Design? Alan Cooper, the Father of Visual Basic, had the full attention of the entire class during his “Design Leadership” workshop. In the calm reassuring tone of a wise patriarch he said, “Design is not so much a design issue as a power struggle.” At that moment, everyone began recalling experiences where their design process required more effort in exercising influence, diplomacy, and collaboration than anticipated. The Tale of Two Tribes The DevOps movement that started in 2011 tells the story of not only how development and operation teams learned to collaborate better in terms of releasing software updates more efficiently, but also the realities of strenuous troubleshooting through all-nighters and sacrificed weekends that had taken its toll on individuals who knew deep down there had to be a better way. So why would a UX/UI designer be so interested in this movement? Cooks in the Kitchen Which designer hasn’t thought there are too many cooks in the kitchen? Designers can lead by:
Designing for Love in the Age of Spike Jonze's Her We pay close attention to movies that have something important to say about love: What it is and what it’s not, how we find love (and avoid losing it) or why we need it in our lives … Her, a Spike Jonze film, is about a man in a near-future time who falls for an artificially-intelligent operating system. The central characters may be this man and his OS, but the movie asks necessary questions about the complexity of human relationships. It’s a love story (or two) — but it’s also science fiction, delivering a clear point-of-view regarding how we’ll interact with technology in the generations to come. As we imagine what’s next, the challenge for designers and computer scientists is not how to make devices more human or more lovable. The question we should chase is: How do we avoid killing love as we increasingly rely on helpful things like technology? Spike Jonze’s Her: On Love + Technology Warner Bros. Virtual Companions and Relationship Risks Only the Lonely The Future of Love + Devices
Catchbox Is A Throwable Microphone To Get The Audience Talking Throw the mic in the air like you just don’t care. Catchbox is a new throwable microphone designed to liven up audience participation, and in turn reduce the faffing around that seems to occur whenever a conference turns to questions from the audience. The brightly coloured padded cube houses a wireless microphone that doesn’t mind being tossed across a room or passed from person-to-person crowd surfing-style. In fact, it’s actively encouraged. Although various smartphone apps and cloud-based tools have attempted to lower the barriers of audience participation at live events by enabling the audience to follow along on their own devices or take part in realtime polls, Catchbox’s makers reckon the humble microphone has been neglected. “There are a number of products that are aimed towards increasing crowd engagement,” notes Mikelis Studers, CTO of Catchbox, citing event apps, voting systems and, of course, conventional wireless microphones. Promo video below.
The Future Of UX Design: Tiny, Humanizing Details Dan Saffer, like many designers, likes to quote Charles Eames. But unlike many designers, Saffer—Director of Interaction Design at Smart Design—wrote a whole book inspired by one of his favorite Eames quotes: "The details are not the details. They make the design." Saffer’s book, titled Microinteractions, takes Eames’s maxim to heart and then some. So what is a "microinteraction," anyway? These atomic design moments, Saffer argues, are what whole products, and even whole systems and "wicked problems," ultimately boil down to. When microinteractions succeed—even invisibly, which is how most of them do—they make an emotional difference that’s greater than the sum of their tiny parts. And that’s what’s tough about designing these micro-moments: They can be so subtle and fleeting that ultimately their success or failure may come down to personal taste. [Read more about Microinteractions here] [Image: Sand Dune via Shutterstock]
Listen Up! Hearable Computing Is the Next Big Thing! I believe the next big thing in computing is the audio interface. Call it hearable computing. Hearable computing is not a sub-genre of wearable computing, nor mobile computing, nor desktop computing. It’s a thing unto its own. And I believe it will take two forms: First, the always listening, ubiquitous microphone; and second, the always listening user. The Always-Listening Microphone Forrester Research posted a report this week about what they call the future of voice control. The idea is that companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft are evolving their products toward a default mode where they will be listening 24/7, and harvesting data from what they hear, as well as accepting commands. Low-cost microphones will be ubiquitous, in every room in our homes, in the car, in the office, clipped to a shirt and, of course, in our phones, smartwatches, smart glasses and elsewhere. Baby steps toward the always-listening future are emerging. The Always-Listening User