Mobile is a verb, not a noun.
The experiences of the future won’t be limited to designing for a phone – although the phone is absolutely a consideration – they will be about taking advantage of the increasingly smart and connected technology around consumers. The interfaces of the future won’t look like they do today – if they can even be seen at all. Because “mobile” is a state of being – it’s about reaching people where they are, wherever they are – and exceeding all the expectations and conventions they grew accustomed to with static screen experiences.
Here are the top five products from CES 2018 that did just that.
Touchless interfaces like the Microsoft Kinect introduce a unique challenge in terms of providing the user with feedback when problems occur with the interface. There are few things more frustrating than waving at your television to get it to change the channel and not understanding why it isn’t responding. Ultrahaptics provides an interesting solution by providing users with mid-air haptic (tactile) feedback to their gestures. However, as of now, design conventions don’t exist for this feedback mechanism, so there’s a learning curve for customers to understand the feedback they are receiving.
Technology is at its best when you don’t even know it’s there. Invisible interfaces enable users to go about their tasks without engaging with an interface at all. Aipoly delivers this capability to the stores of the future: it’s an autonomous store platform that disappears into the background while a user shops. Payment mechanisms are stored ahead of time, so the user can simply put what they need to buy in their bag and walk out of the store. On the backend, the store gets real-time inventory management that fuels ordering and restocking processes. Amazon has been trialing a similar offering, but it’s currently only available to Seattle-based employees.
Translation interfaces convert content from one form to another. With technology being increasingly pervasive, accommodations are needed for the aging population and for users who require accessible ways to interact with a brand. Orcam MyEye is the first on-demand translator of its kind that, by simply looking at content, translates it and (discreetly) reads it to the user. There are no buttons, no swiping – users just look at what they want to convert and the MyEye takes it from there. It’s a game-changer for the visually impaired and for folks with learning disabilities; what’s more, the small device simply attaches to your glasses.
Wearable interfaces aren’t new – Fitbits and smart watches have been part of our lives for the last decade but they are not appropriate for all situations and environments. Tappy provides programmable NFC chips that can be embedded into most anything to enable contactless payments. You can tuck it under the battery in your favorite watch. You can sew it into the tip of your glove. Anytime it’s a pain to pull out your phone or wallet are perfect use cases for Tappy.
Translating social norms into technology experiences. Driverless cars may be the future, but they introduce additional experience design and feedback considerations. Today, when a driver and a pedestrian approach an intersection they can make eye contact that let’s the pedestrian know they can cross the street – a lack of eye contact indicates that the driver doesn’t see them at all. How will this social norm occur in a world of autonomous vehicles? Mercedes offered a solution with their EQ Fortwo vehicle initially positioned for car sharing. The EQ Fortwo has panels on the outside of the car to give pedestrians and other drivers insight into what the autonomous vehicle is doing and thinking.
Designing for the future: the new mobility mindset. Designing the experiences of the future is no small task – interfaces will continue to evolve to meet the demands and expectations of users. And while technology often solves problems, at the same time it can sometimes create new ones. It’s reassuring to see brands both big and small focusing on solving these issues for the new mobile mindset.
Author: Kristen Milller, SVP Experience Design, DigitasLBi