Addendum to yesterday’s thoughts on The Light Phone. After really thinking about how I use my phone I decided I couldn’t live without things like maps, music, podcasts and a camera. Well, “couldn’t” might be a strong term. Let’s say I don’t want to. The 90s were great and all, but I don’t want to go back there in 2019.

However, this doesn’t mean I can’t do something about my bloated smart phone. I opted to nuke anything with a stream, Twitter, Instagram, Feedly, LinkedIn and *gasp* email are now gone. Here is what my home screen now looks like:

Phone as tool, not as distraction device. We’ll see how long I stick with this, but I think I’m going to like my smart/dumb phone for a while.

Future of the Internet of Things?

Machines shouldn’t act like humans, humans shouldn’t act like machines…. Technology isn’t our most valuable resource, attention is.

Watched a short lecture by Amber Case- cyborg anthropologist, user experience designer and public speaker- that was pretty eye opening in terms of the future of technology. She was basically making the case for calm technology. Rather than voice integrated notifications constantly barraging us, she calls for more intuitive design that takes advantage of our peripheral awareness.

Too much of our modern tech is built for a world that no longer exists, one in which everyone is chained to a desk. We do not interact with our everyday life in the same way we interact with a desktop computer, so new tech needs to be more adaptable; it needs to make use of all of our senses. In short it should make us more human, rather try to shoe-horn us into be more machine-like.

I investigated a bit further and on her own website she goes into great detail in fleshing out this idea of calm tech. The following outline is what she calls The Principals of Calm Technology.

  1. Technology should require the smallest possible amount of attention
    1. Technology can communicate, but doesn’t need to speak.
    2. Create ambient awareness through different senses.
    3. Communicate information without taking the wearer out of their environment or task.
  2. Technology should inform and create calm
    1. A person’s primary task should not be computing, but being human.
    2. Give people what they need to solve their problem, and nothing more.
  3. Technology should make use of the periphery
    1. A calm technology will move easily from the periphery of our attention, to the center, and back.
    2. The periphery is informing without overburdening.
  4. Technology should amplify the best of technology and the best of humanity
    1. Design for people first.
    2. Machines shouldn’t act like humans.
    3. Humans shouldn’t act like machines.
    4. Amplify the best part of each.
  5. Technology can communicate, but doesn’t need to speak
    1. Does your product need to rely on voice, or can it use a different communication method?
    2. Consider how your technology communicates status.
  6. Technology should work even when it fails
    1. Think about what happens if your technology fails.
    2. Does it default to a usable state or does it break down completely?
  7. The right amount of technology is the minimum needed to solve the problem
    1. What is the minimum amount of technology needed to solve the problem?
    2. Slim the feature set down so that the product does what it needs to do and no more.
  8. Technology should respect social norms
    1. Technology takes time to introduce to humanity.
    2. What social norms exist that your technology might violate or cause stress on?
    3. Slowly introduce features so that people have time to get accustomed to the product.

Lot of food for thought.