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Smart Phones vs. Dedicated Hardware… November 26, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in making the invisible visible, physical interaction design, sustainable interaction design.
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At the event “Positions on Interaction Design” this year at my university I tried to explain why I moved from Physical Interaction Design to Service Design. One of the reasons is that the hope in dedicated mobile devices with innovative forms of physical interaction did not really happen – and that mobile device – thanks to Smart Phones – went the same way as the PC world: one hardware – many applications!

Today I found this nice collection of images of disassembeld gadgets, which are not only very beautiful, but which also remind me on how much waste is produced for theses single application devices:


(image source)(via boingboing)

Experience Design for Banking November 23, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in service design.
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Webcredible, an agency offering “user experience serives” based in London, wrote a nice post on the their blog on how to think about customer experience in the financial services. The distinguish between retail and investment banking and for the first one, they make an important statement:

It could be said that customer service is re-gaining its power for the high-street banks, as it was back in the day when your bank manager knew you and your family.

In that observation lies a lot of new opportunities, especially if you conncet the very personal relationship with technology.

Furthermore webcredible names 5 key areas to look at:

  • Testing and Research requires recruitment and persona creation of a wide variety of customers to cover the spectrum and needs to map out the entire life-cycle of clients to really understand their motivations, needs and desires.
  • Accommodate for the lowest common denominator. This means using a language and creating a level of usability that applies to a wide audience.
  • Seamless interactions across in-branch, call centre and digital interfaces. This requires a mixture of staff training, digital design, and striking a careful balance between automation and personal communication. We would recommend at this point that customers should be able to choose their communication and interaction methods that they are most comfortable with.
  • Flawless usability is necessary as consumers don’t have patience with services such as banking. This may seem like a difficult and obvious goal but what we want to highlight is that usability can be difficult to design for large audience types. In some cases segmentation could be a vital step to help reduce the scope of design and to ensure the experience is correct for the most appropriate target audience.
  • Consistent brand experience through all touch points including websites, mobile apps, print ads, TV ads, customer service advisors, any form of communication. The issue for retail banks with regards to this aspect is one of ownership over the customer experience as most of these outlets are managed across different departments.

Well, I guess that the case study (by IDEO) about the service design solution for the 1st Source Bank described in the Business Week is adressing some of these key areas:

A key insight that emerged from our initial research was that 1st Source could leverage its brand as a local bank in ways that national banks could not. We also found that tellers felt constrained by their role and were frustrated by not being able to act more broadly and effectively on conversations they were having with customers. In return, customers connect to people who work in banks, not to banks as institutions, and they want to be treated with respect and concern. While bankers intuitively understood this need, the bank’s service model and facilities did not support it.


(image source)

IxDS’s “Bad Connection”-concept presented at TED Global November 8, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in mobile, poetic, service design, social computing.
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IxDS has been working for many years with Dr. Gesche Joost, leader of the Design Research Lab at Deutsche Telekom.

In 2008/2009 we conducted together a large design research project called “Woman’s Phone” (or Gender Inspired Technologies)(or Call Girls), where we investigated the specific relationship of women and their mobile phones. Based on the assumption that women conceive of their phones differently than manufacturers want to make believe, we developed a number of concepts to uncover this perspective.

One of the outcomes of the “Woman’s Phone“-project is Bad Connection, which was shown at TED Global last year in Oxford (starting at 3:22):

Bad Connections allows the user to induce noise into a phone call. This helps to end unpleasant calls: “Sorry, I can’t hear you anymore…”

I like the fact that Gesche did show this concept, because it proves that doing a design research project based on co-creation with a certain group (in this case women) does not mean that the results cannot be useful for people outside of this group. I would love to have such an app!!!

IxDS is currently developing a feasibility study of this project for Android.