Cloud Computing And The Future Of Interaction Design

Having access to data any time or place has great advantages. Now designers must figure out how to make this a pleasant reality.

Scott Jenson wrote a recent article in UX (User Experience) Magazine titled “The UX Of Data.” In it, he talks about the role new technologies will play in the way we engage with our digital devices.

Scott starts by breaking down what he calls the three layers of user experience: presentation, task and infrastructure.

  • Presentation is the visual layer, from graphics and icons to color.
  • Task is about actions and how the application works and flows.
  • Infrastructure is the underlying technology being used. Is the application on a desktop or mobile? Is it WiFi or 3G? He makes the case that the more profound impacts in user experience come from innovations at the infrastructure level.

Cloud computing, although around for a while, is starting to go mainstream. Email isn’t hosted on a machine, but accessed by a browser. And that browser is becoming more mobile and ever-present. Documents are no longer being stored locally and edited by one author, but (thanks to applications like Google docs) accessible anywhere and by anybody. This is causing a fundamental shift in the way we think about and interact with our data.

Scott concludes the article with five advantages that cloud computing will bring.

  1. Device Independence: a concept people currently utilize–being able to access any of your data from any device. The ability to always have the files you need has transferred from the traveling businessman to non power-users.
  2. State As Data: data about data is becoming more important when thinking about a device or application’s interactions. If a music file (data) is being played on a networked device, being able to pause in one room and resume in the same spot in another room, will put more importance on the state the data is in.
  3. Sharing With People: as mentioned earlier, multiple people collaborating on a file or project is a great advantage. As it gets bigger, there will be more need to think about the multiple interactions throughout the process.
  4. Sharing With Computers: by having devices monitor usage and other contextual information, smarter systems will be able to augment your data and provide better feedback or automated processes.
  5. Devices As Data Generators: allowing users to delegate tasks (such as tagging and uploading photos or GPS locations) to smaller mobile devices will allow the user to focus on more important tasks. This advantage also points to when devices communicate with each other to share data to create systems and products that were nearly impossible just a few years ago.

UX Magazine: The UX Of Data

via Dan Saffer

image Creative Commons Marc Hassenzahl

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