Chapter 3. Calm Communication Patterns

THIS CHAPTER IS ABOUT communication patterns that can help to “calm down” an otherwise overly demanding interaction or interface. While not prescriptive, it describes a variety of communication modes that often feature in well-designed Calm Technology, and uses examples of existing technology as well as theoretical or experimental products to illustrate how they work. We will discuss indicator types, ambient awareness, contextual notifications, and persuasive technology. There are enough examples here that you may find something that parallels a project you’re currently working on. More broadly, reading through the various examples should help establish patterns that do a better job of showing how calm interaction works than any kind of theoretical explanation could.

Status indicators and contextual notifications are worth special attention, not because they are the sum total of technological interaction, but because technology is most likely to be uncalm in the way it announces itself. They are also the aspects of design most often left to chance, or default. Designers often implement visual alerts or default tones without really thinking about how they could affect people in context. Being able to choose from a greater range of status indicators can help lead to products that are pleasant to use rather than stereotypically difficult.

The final section is reserved for persuasive technology, a crucial theoretical construct that is ignored by ...

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