Online Conference

Designing for the Internet of Things

Presenters: Matt Biddulph, Ralph Bremenkamp, Martin Charlier, Giles Colborne, Claire Rowland, Ame Elliott, Mike Kuniavsky

September 15, 2016

10:00AM – 6:00PM EDT

Registration for this event has now closed

The fast-evolving Internet of Things presents unique, complex challenges for UX designers. To help you understand and surmount these challenges, we’ve gathered seven leading experts in IoT design for a daylong virtual conference addressing the crucial topics you need to know to create the next generation of products and services. You’ll learn about technological fundamentals of the IoT, industrial design, prototyping for connected products, designing with artificial intelligence, designing for failure, privacy and security considerations, and the UX design of devices that incorporate machine learning.

Matt Biddulph

10AM – Matt Biddulph (@mattb)

Understanding the technology of IoT

This session will provide a general survey of hardware technology choices for IoT and their implications for the design of the software and networks that work with it. Every technology choice brings both benefits and limitations, and the audience will be guided through a set of common examples in order to highlight the tradeoffs involved.

This session will provide a general survey of hardware technology choices for IoT and their implications for the design of the software and networks that work with it. Every technology choice brings both benefits and limitations, and the audience will be guided through a set of common examples in order to highlight the tradeoffs involved.

You’ll learn:

  • General knowledge of common sensors and actuators used in IoT hardware and the resulting data that they generate
  • How choice of hardware in the design of a device affects design choices in software, with a focus on communications (e.g. WiFi vs Bluetooth vs Zigbee) and battery technology
  • The most common network techniques (APIs, protocols, security) that are used to interface between hardware, cloud, and software layers of a service

Matt Biddulph is cofounder of Thington Inc, where he is building a concierge for smart homes. Before that he cofounded Dopplr, the social-network for frequent travelers, which was acquired by Nokia, where he worked as head of data strategy for new product development in Berlin. He has developed product ideas for a number of UK companies and been an advisor to startups. He has also worked at the BBC, running the technical architecture team for BBC Radio and Music Interactive.

Ralph Christian Bremenkamp

11AM – Ralph Christian Bremenkamp

Industrial design: The things in the IoT

As computation and network connectivity extend beyond the screen, into products and environments, interaction designers find themselves addressing new UX challenges in the physical world. Although the context is new, much can be learned from long-standing principles of industrial design.

As computation and network connectivity extend beyond the screen, into products and environments, interaction designers find themselves addressing new UX challenges in the physical world. Although the context is new, much can be learned from long-standing principles of industrial design.

This session will use examples from industrial design to highlight principles and practices relevant to interaction designers and UX professionals. Historical context, fundamental building blocks, and instructive examples will be used to inspire and instruct across multiple principles.

You’ll learn:

  • How industrial design is different from digital UX design
  • Tips for successful collaboration between digital and industrial design
  • How designing connected things is different from designing unconnected things
  • Why ‘hardware is hard’ – the challenges of manufacturing things
  • Other challenges: ID, sustainability, product certification, etc

Ralph Christian Bremenkamp is a senior creative leader with many years of experience in user centered design processes around products, experiences and services. He currently runs his own design studio, RCBD, in Munich, Germany. Previously, Ralph was a creative director for BMWGroup DesignworksUSA and a principal director at frog design, leading the European industrial design discipline from the Munich studio. Before joining frog in 2007, Ralph worked in design for Ross Lovegrove in London, at Pixelpark in Berlin, for Scholz&Friends, and for various clients, particularly in Asia, as an independent. He has broad experience within various areas of product development, including consumer electronics, whitegoods, household appliances, and medical.

Martin Charlier

12PM noon – Martin Charlier (@marcharlier)

Prototyping experience for connected products

The type of products designers work on is changing. Electronics prototyping is important, but focusing on experience prototyping early on is crucial to find out whether you’re making the right product, and what kind of user experience it’s going to need.

The type of products designers work on is changing. Electronics prototyping is important, but focusing on experience prototyping early on is crucial to find out whether you’re making the right product, and what kind of user experience it’s going to need. Understanding the question you’re trying to answer and the purpose of your prototype is crucial to selecting the appropriate and most effective prototyping method. This might be a method that is less familiar to those who work in software UX, like using film, enactment, or body storming.

You’ll learn:

  • Prototyping methods less familiar for software UX but well-suited for connected products
  • How to understanding the purpose of your prototype
  • Way to determine what kind of prototyping is right for you

Martin Charlier is an independent design consultant based in London and a cofounder of Rain Cloud, a project exploring new interaction models for connected products. Martin is a strategic designer with experience across new media art, industrial design, interaction design, and service design. His speculative design work has been awarded by the Royal Society of Arts, and he is a fellow of the organization. He previously worked at frog design, cutting-edge art collective Random International, and digital service design consultancy Fjord.

1PM – Lunch break

Giles Colborne

2PM – Giles Colborne (@gilescolborne)

Designing with artificial intelligence

The secret to getting people to engage with products and services is to make interaction as simple as possible. Remove friction and people will embrace your product. But simplicity isn’t the same as minimalism.

The secret to getting people to engage with products and services is to make interaction as simple as possible. Remove friction and people will embrace your product. But simplicity isn’t the same as minimalism. For IoT devices, the interface may be as minimal as a few LEDs and a touchpad—and that kind of minimalism can feel obscure and confusing to users. What’s more, IoT devices often need to operate in concert to create delightful services, such as coordinating the levels of light and sound in a room. This simply increases complexity. Unless we come up with new ideas, the world is about to feel terribly broken.

That’s why interfaces and services increasingly rely on artificial intelligence technologies. Algorithms make sense of contextual data, anticipate user needs, and accept more natural forms of input, like voice commands. Keeping the interface simple means the device has to become more intelligent.

AI isn’t magic—it’s engineering. To develop compelling products, designers and product managers need to understand the constraints and possibilities of AI. They also need to develop new ways of working together so that the resulting products and services feel more… human.

This session looks at how algorithms work, examines what they can and can’t do, and explores case studies and examples of how product teams have combined a deep understanding of people with clever design and smart algorithms to produce truly wonderful products.

You’ll learn:

  • The different uses to which learning algorithms can be put to deliver user benefits
  • When to break out the AI and when it’s best to use a simpler alternative
  • The engineering constraints that you should design to
  • How to apply user research and insight to AI projects
  • The role of data visualisation in the design process

Giles Colborne cofounded cxpartners in 2004; it has grown to become one of the world’s leading independent experience design consultancies working on next-generation experience design, generating hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue for companies such as Marriott, eBay and AXA. His book, Simple and Usable, has sold tens of thousands of copies in Europe and North America and has been translated into Chinese and Korean. Giles is former president of the UPA, co-chair of IA Summit, and UX Awards judge. He has worked with the British Standards Institute in developing standards for web accessibility.

Claire Rowland

3PM – Claire Rowland (@clurr)

Designing for failure: What could possibly go wrong?

We’re putting computing power, machine learning, sensing, actuation, and connectivity into more and more objects, services, and systems in the physical world. This enables new ways for things to work better. But it also creates new possibilities for failure, not least when software problems produce real-world consequences. Failures can damage the user experience, undermine the value of the product, and sometimes present danger.

We’re putting computing power, machine learning, sensing, actuation, and connectivity into more and more objects, services, and systems in the physical world. This enables new ways for things to work better. But it also creates new possibilities for failure, not least when software problems produce real-world consequences. Failures can damage the user experience, undermine the value of the product, and sometimes present danger.

When you develop a connected product, you must identify everything that could go wrong—from power failures to cessation of user support—and ensure that each potential problem can be adequately mitigated. If the value of your product is marginal but the consequences of it going wrong could be catastrophic, it’s time to rethink your plans.

You’ll learn:

  • Why failure is such an issue for connected products
  • The many ways in which connected products and their systems can fail, from power and network connectivity to user error and recklessness
  • Ways to mitigate the possibility of failure, including constructive pessimism, thoroughly researching the context of use, and designing excellent user experiences
  • How to weigh the value of your product against the possibility and severity of its failure, and when to realize it’s time to rethink your plans
  • Ways to keep your product up and running for the lifespan users expect it to have, even in the event of business failures

Claire Rowland is an independent product and UX strategy consultant and the lead author of Designing Connected Products: UX for the consumer internet of things. She has a particular interest in taking connected products from an early adopter user base to the mass market, and deep expertise in connected-home technology and energy management. Before becoming independent, she led service design for AlertMe.com, a connected-home platform provider, and was head of research for design consultancy Fjord. She has worked in UX design and research for mobile, multiplatform and web services since 1997.

Ame Elliott

4PM – Ame Elliott (@ameellio)

Designing for privacy: Building systems people trust

This presentation is a call to action for designers to consider the privacy and security implications of connected homes and other IoT applications. As software moves off screens and more deeply into our physical environments, there are new security risks that call for embracing complexity in appropriate ways.

This presentation is a call to action for designers to consider the privacy and security implications of connected homes and other IoT applications. As software moves off screens and more deeply into our physical environments, there are new security risks that call for embracing complexity in appropriate ways.

There are many challenges to user experience design for security, including the inherent complexity of securing diverse systems. These challenges are an opportunity for design leadership because creating experiences people trust is key to earning a place in their homes. This presentation demonstrates how better UX basics can enhance the privacy of a range of IoT applications. It concludes with examples of emerging UX challenges and opportunities to create IoT experiences people trust.

You’ll learn:

  • How IoT privacy risks are an opportunity for design leadership
  • Ways good UX design can prevent common privacy breaches
  • Ways cross-platform experiences can create trust-building user experiences

Ame Elliott is Design Director at Simply Secure. Previously she worked at IDEO San Francisco, where she led the discipline of Design Research and delivered human-centered tech strategy projects for clients such as Acer, Ericsson, and Samsung. Prior to IDEO, she was a research scientist at Xerox PARC and at Ricoh Innovations. She earned a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Her design work has been recognized with awards from the AIGA, IDSA/IDEA, the Edison Awards, and the Webby Awards.

Mike Kuniavsky

5PM – Mike Kuniavsky (@mikekuniavsky)

User experience and predictive device behavior in the Internet of Things

This session will lay out the challenges and point to some potential approaches for the user experience design of smart devices (such as the Nest Thermostat, the Amazon Echo, the Edyn water monitor, etc.) that use machine learning to anticipate the needs of people and environments and adapt in response.

This session will lay out the challenges and point to some potential approaches for the user experience design of smart devices (such as the Nest Thermostat, the Amazon Echo, the Edyn water monitor, etc.) that use machine learning to anticipate the needs of people and environments and adapt in response. The Internet of Things promises that by analyzing data from many sensors over time our experience of the world becomes better and more efficient. Our environment can predict our behavior, anticipate problems and needs, and maximize the chances of a desirable end result.

Though this notion of effortless automation is seductive (espresso machines that start just as you’re thinking it’s a good time for coffee; office lights that dim when it’s sunny and power is cheap), we don’t have good examples for designing user experiences of predictive systems. As a result, today it’s much easier to create such systems that are confusing, unpredictable and uncontrollable. Attendees will see examples of different systems and leave with a list of UX challenges, along with potential approaches to address those challenges.

You’ll learn:

  • The connections between predictive machine learning, the IoT, user experience and service design
  • An understanding of challenges in designing the UX of predictive machine learning devices and services
  • Current predictive UX design best practices

Mike Kuniavsky leads user-experience design in the Innovation Services Group at PARC, a Xerox company. A 20-year veteran of digital product development, Mike designs products, business processes, and services at the leading edge of technological change. Prior to PARC, Mike cofounded several successful UX-centered companies, including ThingM, which designs and manufactures ubiquitous computing and Internet of Things products, and Adaptive Path, a well-known design consultancy. He has worked with top technology companies—including Samsung, Sony, Nokia, Whirlpool, and Qualcomm—to design new products, guide product strategy, and create user-centered design and development cultures. Mike is the author of Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner’s Guide to User Research and Smart Things: Ubiquitous Computing User Experience Design.

Participants receive

  • PDF companion reference
  • Post-workshop video
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