Slow Communication

28 February, 2009

lond_15-london-the-classical-red-phone-boxPicnic is an annual conference that I haven’t had the pleasure to attend, but I got a peek last year while at another conference. I remembered something about it: they had trucked in a bunch of lovely green natural turf. I thought that was so amazing and creative, though not exactly carbon-neutral.

Anyway, upon poking around this morning to see what the talks were like, I became transfixed by one entitled, Dueling with Distance. Stefan Agamanolis shares several examples of his concept of “slow communication.” He works at the Distance Lab in Glasgow.

In his talk about slow communication, Agamanolis looks at a water tank-based audio phone, where each party is submersed in a tank of body-temperature water, in a helmet, with their head floating above it. It’s mind-boggling. Another axis he covers is intimacy, with a remote whiteboard-on bed concept rejiggered for distant lovers. I’ll never think of a whiteboard the same. There’s also a remote boxing game, with sensors and rear projection in mattresses. A couple other surprises are inside. It’s worth the 20 minutes to have a look.

Video of Agamanolis at Picnic:



Nuance Mobile Newsmap

27 February, 2009


The Nuance Newsmap is a new news mashup that takes 40 news sources and crunches them into one handy Flash web page. It’s a bit of mobile industry porn, minus the photos. It borrows heavily from the SmartMoney Map of the Market:


Mobile Persuasion Event at City University

26 January, 2009

city-university-logo hfi_logo

City University and Human Factors International co-hosted “Mobile Persuasion”

Persusasion, Emotion, and Trust are the design rage, but how are they applied to mobile user interfaces? Influential speakers came together to present their views in brief presentations on 19 January 2009.

This blog posting has videos for all three presentations, as well as compressed PDFs. At the top of the posting is a simple speakers list, and below are full descriptions and bios. At the bottom are two great write-ups by James Cooper for mjelly and Tom Hume for his eponymous blog.


>Priya Prakash, Head of Product, Flirtomatic
>Creating a persuasive service interface in mobile
>Video of Priya’s presentation
>Priya’s slides

>Bryan Rieger, Co-Founder & Creative Director, Yiibu
>The “artist/craftsman” point of view on Persuasive Design
>Video of Bryan’s presentation
>Bryan’s Slides

>Kath Straub, Ph.D., Chief Scientist of Human Factors International
>How to design for Persuasion, Emotion, and Trust: drives & blocks, design markers, and good and bad real world examples
>Video of Kath’s presentation
>Kath’s slides

Detailed Descriptions

>Priya Prakash, Head of Product, Flirtomatic
>Creating a persuasive service interface in mobile
Video of Priya’s presentation

>Priya’s slides

The mobile paradox is that the massively reduced screen real estate makes creating persuasive services much harder than on the desktop web. There is simply less room and time to create trust. And of course the user is only too well aware that they are paying for the priviledge…. This talk will examine the challenges as they have applied to a live mobile service – Flirtomatic.

Bio: Priya enjoys creating consumer-facing services that combine content, social media and cross-platform distribution in new formats. At BBC as implementation manager, innovation executive and UXD lead she worked on the launch of services such as- iPlayer, Project Kangaroo and BBC Mobile portal. Later as Digital creative director at Hachette Filipacchi, she developed Sugarscape  a social bookmarking site. Having worked hard at getting traditional media companies to listen and engage in new kinds of conversations with their consumers, in 2008 she joined mobile startup Flirtomatic- as Head of Product, to help drive user revenues and improve its user experience. Prakash is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts with a MA in Interaction Design from Royal College of Art.

>Bryan Rieger, Co-Founder & Creative Director, Yiibu
>The “artist/craftsman” point of view on Persuasive Desig
Video of Bryan’s presentation

>Bryan’s Slides

“If driving a BMW promises the consumer ‘Sheer Driving Pleasure’ (formerly the ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’), what does your mobile phone promise (and more importantly what does it deliver)? Where are the craftsmen, dreamers and lunatics who inspire (and persuade) us to ‘think differently’?”

Bio: Bryan is a designer and researcher with a background in theatre design and classical animation. He has over 15 years’ experience in design and development and has worked across all media, including print, video, multimedia, the internet and mobile. Bryan has worked with clients such as Apple, Microsoft, Nokia and Monotype. He became obsessed with all things mobile while on sabbatical in South East Asia in 2003 watching people do simply amazing—and unexpected things—with their mobile devices. Although he’s adopted Bangkok, Thailand as his official home-away-from home Bryan currently lives in London, UK where he runs Yiibu – a small mobile design studio, with his partner Stephanie.

>Kath Straub, Ph.D., Chief Scientist of Human Factors International
>How to design for Persuasion, Emotion, and Trust: drives & blocks, design markers, and good and bad real world examples
Video of Kath’s presentation

>Kath’s slides

Bio: Kath has 15 years of empirical research experience overlaid on 10 years of project management and interface design experience. She’s taught extensively and designed curricula both for university and industrial/commercial settings. Her clients include government agencies, companies in pharmaceuticals, aviation, finance, health and medicine, and education. She currently leads a team of usability and accessibility professionals, graphics artists, and project managers working on projects for clients throughout the world. Kath approaches usability as the intersection of experimental cognition, social psychology, marketing, and technology.

Last but not least, great write-ups:

Great write-up by James Cooper for mjelly

Great write-up by Tom Hume for his blog

From Batteries to Blogging 25 Feb 09 in London

23 January, 2009

batteriesblogging2I’m teaching a new workshop entitled From Batteries to Blogging: A user experience- based technology journey into today’s mobile phones:

With a new handsets season every few months, it is now even more critical for product marketers and user experience professionals to keep up to speed with the latest technologies, challenges, and opportunities. Touch-feedback interfaces and high speed internet access are just some of the technologies contributing to richer user experiences. Join us at our new one-day workshop designed to help you stay ahead of the game in a fast moving industry.

More details can be found on the course sign-up page.

Mobile 2.0 Documentation Strategy

5 January, 2009

listapp-imageAt the Euro IA Summit in Amsterdam this year I presented a talk on Mobile 2.0 Documentation Strategy. Fundamentally, it’s a 5-step process:

1. Mock-ups
2. Flow charts
3. Component Drawings
4. Tables
5. Further Descriptions (clarifying issues)

Beyond that, it’s nice to have some examples and instructions, which you can find in the attached PDF.

Presentation: mobile-20-ui-documentation-strategy-weiss

iPhone Strengths and Competitive Opportunities

16 December, 2008


Informa’s Mobile Device and the User Experience conference was held in London on the 10th – 12th of November, 2008. It was a gathering of some of the world’s most influential mobile usability leaders. My talk was about the strengths and challenges of the iPhone. It’s noted for it’s sexy animation, but there are also some glaring user interface inconsistencies, such as how the Back button is sometimes present, sometimes not–and it appears in different places on the screen. The pinch and stretch gestures are super fun for the first few weeks of iPhone ownership, but they become tiresome after a while. Further, some logical features just aren’t available when one expects them to be, such as editing a contact after viewing it from within the Favourites. On the other hand, the Application Store is a brilliant innovation, which is inspiring a whole new generation of mobile software.

Presentation PDF: iPhone Strengths and Competitive Opportunities Weiss Informa Mobile User Experience London 2008

Mobile User Experience Trends for 2009

15 December, 2008

Handsets Forum logo

The Informa Handsets Forum USA was held in October in San Diego. I gave a talk on mobile handset user experience trends. Of course the iPhone is going to affect 2009 in a really big way, and touch, animation, sexy graphics, application stores, music well done, and mapping are all part of the trend set, but there are some others too. Check out the presentation to see the rest.

Link to talk: handset-mobile-ux-trends

Mobile 2.0 and Usability at Informa’s Off-Deck 2008 in Boston

16 November, 2008

Off-Deck Mobile Content

On Thursday (4 December 2008), I spoke at Informa’s Off-Deck, tagged as “Connecting consumers with content on mobile.” My talk was on Mobile 2.0 and Usability. I introduced Mobile 2.0 and basic usability principles, and then went through how the two collide.

Slides: Mobile 2.0 & Usability, Weiss at Informa’s 2008 Off-Deck in Boston