iBeacons: a tool just for retail?

From the website www.ocregister.com

Retail industry just got a new tool for collecting people’s data and giving the consumers a more personal interaction. The iBeacons are small sensors that are connected through bluetooth technology and can send to people’s mobile devices specific information/content about products located in a store, for example. Most of the examples presented using this type of device was related to retail stores. The consumers could enhance their experience and because of the mobile technology characteristics, the store will able to collect relevant data from consumers, providing special material to stores to improve the customer experience. It’s a like a loop. People get into the store with their mobile phones, they are able to access specific content from products and with that they give precious data to the retail shop. This data will be analysed carefully and will be able to give insights about the customer experience. It seems very simple.

From the website http://geemo.co.uk

The great deal is that this could be applicable in other contexts that are not totally market-related. For example, in museums or exhibitions, this sensor could be implemented near pieces of art, showing specific content to visitors (see the video below).

Apple iBeacon technology applied to classical art in Antwerp Museum from ProphetsAgency on Vimeo.

And if applied to games?
Imagine the situation through which the content that is shared with the visitors are also part of a game? Wow, better! :) As iBeacons can combine data and location, so why not using this for game-like activities with targeted behaviours? With the opportunity to track the players’ journey locally, it would be possible to develop specific actions, collecting data and giving personal feedback.

And not only that, the implementation of sensors like that are good opportunities for data scientists and people that really can transform the data into something meaningful and return to the user.

Other contexts
Now, if we could apply this to airports or hospitals? If we could send to people really relevant information like how to prevent ourselves from some diseases? And for tourism? iBeacons could be distributed into a city, promoting special content for tourists, for example, and collecting people’s feedback. Why not? Or even better, the content could be translated to people.

Ethics?
Data collection from people implies ethical problems. So far, no one has mentioned any aspect regarding local-related data and the utilisation of that for marketing purposes. It’s possible that in the future we will have to ask for people’s consent to use their data for those purposes. As some applications, a small pop-up appears into the screen asking for permission to share location data. This could be a way to clear ethical issues.

Citizen science apps

In the case of citizen science, people could find really relevant content and could apply this for a bigger purpose. Citizen science is a kind of crowd-sourced science, through which people collaborate to scientific projects involving a specific community or region. Sensors like the iBeacon could help to monitor regions that need to mapped, for example. The community would be able to participate into a bigger network, sharing experiences, ideas and perspectives locally. So, the idea is that not only retail market could benefit from iBeacons. Why not applying this for the whole community? It’s time to think and act locally.

Read more
Citizen Science
Estimote
Is 2014 the year of iBeacons?
What is Apple iBeacon? Here’s what you need to know 
Why Micro-Location iBeacons May Be Apple’s Biggest New Feature For iOS 7
8 Ways Technology Is Improving Your Health

Designing with details [#isa2012]

Today’s post it’s about microinteractions and the importance of the details. Last week we had a conference about interaction design (#ISA2012) in São Paulo and I decided to make separated posts about the talks.
Microinteractions are the way we experience detailed events. So, when we try to approach a design process with attention to details, we are talking about creating microinteractions. Thus, while trying to solve massive problems through design tools, the details are often lost during the process. We should work by the bottom up system, giving more attention to small things. This is the theme of Dan Saffer’s new book, “Microinteractions“.

Do one task well
Improving the microinteractions is creating engagement. This means that we should attempt to small details. “The details are not the details. They make the design” – Charles Eames. So, details must be seen as special parts of one big project.
Besides, it’s better to manage and control the work, when we are building a fragmented and complex scenario. For example, creating a small form, or the feedback from translation words on Facebook.

Transform moments into instances of pleasure
Microinteractions are good for accomplish a single task. We can interact with a small piece of data and get the maximum of feedback from it or even create a small part of content that is totally relevant.

Do not overlook microinteractions
If the interaction is poor, the features get surrounded by pain and frustration.
While designing, we must consider the big picture and details to improve the user experience.

Multi-platform
Small interactions fit well on small devices. Dan Saffer says that while designing microinteractions we can adapt the features to each device, allowing consistency.

Previewing actions
With the attention to details and micro interactions we can try to preview actions. This happens when we focus in loops and modes, by the tripod made of trigger, rules and feedback. It’s about bringing the data forward and understanding the user needs.
A good feedback can transform they way we learn the rules and the loops.

Patterns
I think that maybe with established microinteractions, we can try to create interaction patterns. So while designing a product, we can see which small interactions are concrete. It’s like going to the library and follow a guideline. Perhaps with an accurate pattern, we can develop tools for a better experience. If the big picture can be created by microinteractions and detailed experiences, we can try to approach to human interactions.

References
Designing for Interaction
Changing Perspective: A New Look At Old Problems
Touching the desktop – Modern micro-interaction and burdens of the past
Interfaces on the go

photo credit: four points via photopin (license)

Prototyping experiences [#isa2012]

In the last post, I talked about Arduino and my impressions. The posts of this week will be about the Interaction South America, a big event that happened a week a go in São Paulo. Hope you like them! :)

The second talk of the day was conducted by Martin Zabaleta, partner and director of Insitum. He started talking about sketching user experiences, where prototyping and design are essential part of the process of innovation. This means that to create a user-centered approach, we need to think about people and prototypes.


“The only important thing about design is how it relates to people”

This is a quote from Victor Papanek, a designer and educator that defended responsible design. The relationship between design, social and environment can’t be ignored. “Design must be meaningful”. Meaning is the deepest and strong connection between people, context and expressions. That’s why experiences must be meaningful.


Innovation begins with an eye

Observation is learning from people’s needs. We need to understand how the social cultural scenario configures and then create a relationship between cognitive emotions and physical reactions. Observe extreme users, not the average people.

Quick, dirty and cheap
Prototypes must create a tangible and physical representation of an idea. You must learn its aspects and reactions.
Experimentation, risk-taking, learning, failing and fearlessness, must be your guides. The prototype doesn’t need to be too much planned: you need to build, learn, refine and build again. Fidelity can appear in different levels, depending on what you are trying to achieve. You can prototype services, strategies, business models, interfaces and interactions.

Experiences
In order to describe relationships between services components we need to think about a conceptual prototype. For this, we develop a scenario (or multiple scenarios), that we can illustrate the experience and create empathy. We can prototype the user journey through the entire service.
Also in that context, trust can be built through design. The experiences created by tangible elements and prototypes. We need to design for people’s needs and factors that matter to people.

Approach a problem solving
It’s important to have empathy for the context and creativity in the generation of thoughts. In that scenario, design thinking should be the key. We need intuitive and analytical thinking.

So, can we design a better way to educate?
It’s possible to improve education in Latin America. We can create a better network computer, applications to learn math, an ecosystem or the method of teaching. Everything is related to the experience between students, teachers, parents and the society. The good thing about prototyping education is to build experiences that are related to the context and culture. Building an experience in Brazil is totally different from Singapore, China… Or even the experience in the same country can be diverse. It’s important to prototype to learn fast and build good and coherent experiences inside one culture/context.

This post was a brief introduction about prototyping experiences. Martin Zabaleta also gave a workshop in the first day of the #ISA2012.
*Images from Facebook/Corbis

References
Teaching Kids Design Thinking, So They Can Solve The World’s Biggest Problems
Designing to Build Trust : The factors that matter
Agile Problems, UX Solutions, Part 1: The Big Picture and Prototyping
Co-designing with Children
Design For The Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change
An Early Champion of Good Sense
Iterating for Visitors at the Exploratorium

photo credit: e350 paper prototype via photopin (license)