Calm Technology

Book description

How can you design technology that becomes a part of a user’s life and not a distraction from it? This practical book explores the concept of calm technology, a method for smoothly capturing a user’s attention only when necessary, while calmly remaining in the background most of the time. You’ll learn how to design products that work well, launch well, are easy to support, easy to use, and remain unobtrusive.

Author Amber Case presents ideas first introduced by researchers at Xerox PARC in 1995, and explains how they apply to our current technology landscape, especially the Internet of Things. This book is ideal for UX and product designers, managers, creative directors, and developers. You’ll learn:

  • The importance and challenge of designing technology that respects our attention
  • Principles of calm design—peripheral attention, context, and ambient awareness
  • Calm communication patterns—improving attention through a variety of senses
  • Exercises for improving existing products through calm technology
  • Principles and patterns of calm technology for companies and teams
  • The origins of calm technology at Xerox PARC

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Table of contents

  1. Praise
  2. Preface
    1. Who Should Read This Book
    2. How This Book Is Organized
    3. Safari® Books Online
    4. How to Contact Us
    5. Acknowledgments
  3. 1. Designing for the Next 50 Billion Devices
    1. Four Waves of Computing
      1. The World Is Not a Desktop
      2. The Growing Ephemerality of Hardware
      3. The Social Network of 50 Billion Things
    2. The Next 50 Billion Devices
      1. Limit Bandwidth Usage
      2. Dedicate Separate Channels for Different Kinds of Technology
      3. Use Lower-Level Languages for Mission-Critical SystemS
      4. Create More Local Networks
      5. Distributed and Individual Computing
      6. Interoperability
      7. Human Backup
    3. The Future of Technology
    4. Conclusions
  4. 2. Principles of Calm Technology
    1. The Limited Bandwidth of Our Attention
    2. Principles of Calm Technology
      1. I. Technology Should Require the Smallest Possible Amount of Attention
      2. II. Technology Should Inform and Create Calm
      3. III. Technology Should Make Use of the Periphery
        1. Attention models
        2. Attention graphs
      4. IV. Technology Should Amplify the Best of Technology and the Best of Humanity
      5. V. Technology Can Communicate, But Doesn’t Need to Speak
      6. VI. Technology Should Work Even When It Fails
      7. VII. The Right Amount of Technology Is the Minimum Needed to Solve the Problem
      8. VIII. Technology Should Respect Social Norms
    3. Conclusions
  5. 3. Calm Communication Patterns
    1. Status Indicators
      1. Visual Status Indicators
      2. Status Tones
      3. Haptic Alerts
      4. Status Shouts
    2. Ambient Awareness
    3. Contextual Notifications
    4. Persuasive Technology
    5. Conclusions
  6. 4. Exercises in Calm Technology
    1. A Calm Interaction Evaluation Tool
    2. Exercises
      1. Exercise 1: A Calmer Alarm Clock
        1. Part A
          1. Key considerations
        2. Part B
      2. Exercise 2: A Clock That Starts the Day
        1. Part A
        2. Part B
      3. Exercise 3: A Year-Long Battery
        1. Part A
        2. Part B
      4. Exercise 4: A Calmer Kitchen
      5. Exercise 5: A Fridge for Healthier Eating
      6. Exercise 6: Using Ambient Awareness
      7. Exercise 7: Bringing Haptics into Play
    3. Conclusions
  7. 5. Calm Technology in Your Organization
    1. Building Teams for Calm Technology
      1. The Rule of Five
      2. Test Your Team
      3. Hire Differently from You
      4. Find Political Buffers
    2. Design for Privacy
      1. The User Experience of Privacy
      2. Get a Privacy Policy
      3. Anticipate and Expect Security Breaches
    3. Selling Calm Technology to Managers
      1. Objection 1: More Features Are Better
        1. Solution
      2. Objection 2: All of the Legacy Features Must Stay
        1. Solution
      3. Objection 3: What About All the Other Stakeholders?
        1. Solution
      4. Objection 4: There’s No Time for User Testing
        1. Solution
      5. Objection 5: The Product Must Stay Secret Until Launch
        1. Solution
    4. Entering a Product into Human Society: A Calm Product Launch
      1. Refine
      2. Competition
      3. Do the Research!
      4. Allow Time for Real-World Testing
      5. Don’t Redesign the Entire Thing at Once
      6. Design for Human–Human Interaction
      7. Design for Optimum Battery Life
    5. Conclusions
  8. 6. The History and Future of Calm Technology
    1. Videoconferencing Before Skype
    2. The Beginnings of Calm Technology
  9. A. About the Author
  10. Index
  11. About the Author
  12. Colophon
  13. Copyright

Product information

  • Title: Calm Technology
  • Author(s): Amber Case
  • Release date: December 2015
  • Publisher(s): O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  • ISBN: 9781491925836