Hardwired: product #design and delivering #magic
Posted on June 11th, 2016
06/07/2016 @ WeWork, 115 West 18rd Street, NY, 4th floor
New Lab and Techstars talked briefly before the four speakers:
- Martin Broen, VP of Global Product Design at Pepsi
- Chris Allen, Founder and CEO of iDevices (connected home products)
- Bob Coyne, Founder and CTO of WordsEye (create 3D scenes simply by describing them in words)
- Josh Clark, Founder of Big Medium (design strategy and user experience for a mobile, multiscreen world). Josh will talk about “magical UX for IoT”.
In the first presentation, Bob Coyne @Wordseye talked about his utility that takes a text description of a scene and creates an image matching that description. This allows users to create 3-d mages without complicated #3-d graphics programs.
They parse sentences to create a semantic map which can include commands to place items, change the lighting, reorient objects, etc. They see uses in education, gaming, and image search.
[Graphics are currently primitive and the manipulations are rough, but there are only 7 months old. Has promise for creating avatars and scenes for game prototypes. Text lack the subtly of gestures, so text may need to be supplemented by gestures or other inputs.]
In the second presentation, Chris Allen @ iDevices – developers of connected home products and software – talked about the evolution of the company from an initial product in 2009 which was a connected grill.
Since then they have raised $20 million, were asked by Apple to develop products for HomeKit, currently market 7 HomeKit enabled products.
Experiences he communicated:
- Do you own research (don’t rely on conventional wisdom): despite being told that $99 was too high a price, they discovered that reducing the price to $75 did not increase sales.
- Resist pivoting away from your vision, especially when you have not intellectual property advantage: a waterproof case for phones failed.
- Create a great work environment and give your workers equity
- They build products that are compatible across platforms, but concentrate on just the three main platforms: Siri, Google, Amazon.
Next, Josh Clark @BigMedium talked about his vision of the future of interfaces: they will leap off the screen combining #speech and #gestures. They will be as magically as the devices in the world of Harry Potter. Unlike the Google glass, which was always an engineering project, we should be asking how can we make any object (even of a coffee cup) do more: design for the thing’s essential ‘thingness’.
Technology should be invisible, but magical:
- You can stand in front of a mirror memory and see how you look with a different color dress, or replay a video of what you look like when you turn around or do a side-by-side comparison with a previously worn dress.
- Asthmapolis site – when you have an asthma attack, you tap an app. Over time you can see across individuals their locations when they have an attack.
- A hackathon app using the Kinect in which one gestures to grab an image off a video so a still image from that moment appears on the phone.
It’s a challenge of imagination.
If the magic fails, we need to make sure the analogue device still works.
[In some cases, magic may not be enough. For instance, Asthmapolis pivoted away from ashma alone and now concentrates on a broader range of symptoms ]
In the last presentation, Martin Brioen@Pepsi talked about how his design team uses #prototyping to lead the development of new ideas.
Different groups within Pepsi have different perspectives and different priorities, so each views ideas differently, but to the get a consensus they all was to need to interact with the new product so they can see, touch, …
At each phase of development you use a different tools concentrated on the look of it, the feel of it, the functionality, etc. At each stage people need to interact with it to test it out. Don’t wait until you have a finished product. Don’t skip steps. Consider the full journey of the consumer;
Employ the least expensive way to try it out
They are not selling product, they are selling experiences: they create a test kitchen for the road.