Collateral UI: whteva

Connected devices, collaborating together. What should the future hold for the new world of wearables and peripherals?

In a way, it feels like we are going back to the very origins of our mobile journey with phones. Our devices pre-smartphone did simple things. They enabled connectivity without constant interruption and takeover. So what went wrong?

found on

The fast pace of technology

We always want more. Our thirst for the new and innovative, the next new fad, has made things move pretty fast.

We are all early adopters to this new technology. Hopefully the people making these new devices will give us access to the metrics we need to make the user experience what it needs to be.

Poor performance

It’s a new type of device/product. It’s a watch. 1st/2nd generation shiznits. It has flaws. But we aren’t here to talk about how it performs in a timely fashion. Something a little deeper than that.

More “default” choices

Personalise the static messages. Why wouldn’t you? Where are the colloquialisms. Where is my personal touch? I don’t want to sound cold and terse, thanks all the same.

List a few things that may be funny/relevant. ie. ‘wassup’, ‘alreet mucker’, ‘word up’, Or ‘whteva

I’m right here!

It’s all about context. Or at least, it should be. Please try to not nag. Just tell me things I want to know. Examples follow. No apps were harmed during this experiment.

A watch telling me to stand up when i’m travelling in a car. No context. No idea. Just so you are aware, with all the sensors on the phone and the device(watch atm), i’m moving pretty fast. I can’t stand up right now, as it goes. Maybe when self-driving cars arrive, if they are tall enough, I can accommodate your request.

Riding it out

I use Strava to track my rides (no reflection on Strava’s implementation of their app on Apple Watch btw, just a point of reference). It isn’t really location aware, so it doesn’t know when i’m:-

a) On my bike

b) about to have an epic ride

c) other stuff

It would be kinda cool if when i’m setting off on a particular activity — at either the same time, same day, it would invite me via a notification that I may like to record my ride activity. This way, this collateral UI is supporting what I am doing, without just randomly vying for my attention. Just try.

Play with my emotions, not my time — i may appreciate it more.

Tell me if I beat my personal best, or beat some other guy on the section I just took on.

Dismiss once? I’m busy. You could try and learn from the level of activity/difficulty that it took me. Hard hill? Congratulate me at the end maybe, but make me feel like I deserve it.

Tricky section with another tricky section after it? Leave me be, i’m having a good time. Please don’t interrupt me. Not just yet.

As people who deliver apps to many people, we need to carefully consider who/why/where/when/other we notify people. It’s a super important way to quickly keep people in the loop. Overloading our users with too much information, on far too many collateral UIs, is prone to annoyance. If there is ever a time for a privacy/contextually aware notification system, it’s now.

It’s up to us to design our messaging to users on all levels and places that they interact. We aren’t just mobile, tablet and desktop anymore. We are everywhere. Now, more than ever, it’s about what the user wants. Let’s focus on them. Stakeholders and other people need to step off — it is all about the user.

Who is this crazy guy who wrote this stuff anyways?

Hey, I’m Alastair Driver (mainly know as Ali, Wizard, and other nice/derogatory things). I think of myself as a designer who understands the constraints and work arounds in the digital world we are designing in. Some people see me as a designer who codes. I just think of myself as someone who has enough foresight to explore other ways to design in this ever changing world of design.