Jan-Christoph Zoels

Mobile user experience trends

Lecture date: 21 Sept 2004

How mobile technologies will change our world, and in many cases already have.

Do you have an appetite for “digital delicacies”?

Jan-Christoph Zoels presented tantalising examples of how mobile technologies will change our world, and in many cases already have.

Abbreviated SMS texts, for example, are changing literacy (trend #2). The new language sounds like secret code to anyone over 22 years of age but is becoming the lingua franca of teenagers.

Teenagers will no doubt be major consumers of “digital delicacies” (trend #1: beyond speech). A “telekatessen” lets you send a personalised SMS message to your beloved, while a link with the physical world arranges chocolate bonbons, inscribed with your original “sweet nothing”, for pick-up.

Video karaoke goes many steps beyond mere ring tones to offer consumers the chance to be silly, but also communicate with their friends and loved ones. “We even got a patent for it,” says Jan-Christoph.

Not all the applications are for entertainment, however. Mobile technology also helps improve time planning (trend #5). An application developed by Fluid Time Data Services, for example, helps people better manage travel time, auctions, meetings or even the utilisation of appliances. It can coordinate usage of a communal washing machine; the system sends an SMS to your mobile phone to tell you how much time is left on your spin cycle and when the machine is available.

The Vocera system is an intelligent communications assistant that enables fluid communications across teams or entire organisations. Using natural speech, users speak into a badge (“Beam me up, Scottie!”) to page people, schedule meetings and much more. It is already in use in hospitals in the US and is being deployed by the US military in Iraq.

In the new un-tethered world, designing with users in mind has become even more important. Zoels ended his talk by presenting ten tools for user-centered design, such as studying “extreme” characters.

The ten mobile phone trends

  1. Beyond speech
  2. Changing literacy
  3. Beyond Text
  4. Desiring personalisation
  5. Changes planning
  6. Location matters
  7. Enabling collective actions
  8. Supporting social solidarity
  9. Adding control
  10. Rethinking access

About the speaker

Jan-Christoph Zoels

Jan-Christoph Zoels is senior Associate professor at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, Italy. Find out more about the speaker by having a look at Zoels’ biography (40Kb, PDF) or Zoels’ personal web page on the Ivrea web site.