Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Where Are You Now? Design for the Location Revolution

Changing the mobile design UX ...

"Of all the digital information delivery systems people use, mobile devices offer the greatest opportunity for satisfying people’s wants and needs by providing context-specific, time-sensitive interactive experiences. But, in order to truly take advantage of this potential, experience designers need to transition from designing for a single, static space—the desktop—to imagining the broad possibilities of the geospatial Web. For digital products and services, the next dimension of user experience we should consider during design is location.

Changing Our Perspective on Mobile Design

There’s no doubt that the mobile experience has the potential to be far more than just the desktop Web reformatted for a tiny screen and accessible on the go. But looking at many of the products that major wireless carriers in the United States are touting, you wouldn’t think so.

Much of the mobile industry is focusing on porting already existing digital content and services to the mobile environment, with a heavy emphasis on entertainment—for example, accessing Fantasy Football stats or viewing abbreviated video clips of network television’s latest and greatest shows. While it might be fun and convenient to check your favorite player’s stats while waiting in line or during a particularly boring business meeting, the experience is, at best, a pleasant distraction. There’s nothing wrong with these products—people will always enjoy entertaining content—but they do not take advantage of the power of the mobile Web as a medium.

The true power of the mobile Web lies not merely in providing remote access to data, but in letting users view contextual information relating to location and interact with that information. The mobile Web is poised to become the delivery mechanism for a new generation of location-aware applications.
Envisioning a User-Centered Virtual Geography

In a May 2005 article, “The Geospatial Web: A Call to Action,” Mike Liebhold, author and researcher at Institute for the Future, explains:

“...we can see the beginning shapes of a true geospatial Web, inhabited by spatially tagged hypermedia as well as digital map geodata. Google Maps is just one more layer among all the invisible cartographic attributes and user annotations on every centimeter of a place and attached to every physical thing, visible and useful, in context, on low-cost, easy-to-use mobile devices.”

When it comes to mobile user experience, location data is becoming the unique connector between the digital world and the physical one. Unchained from the desktop user experience, users can freely interact with their own and others’ virtual data in real spaces."    (Continued via UXmatters)    [Usability Resources]

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