ETech: Art-of-Logic, Experience Making, the Nokia Way



Christian Lindholm from Nokia is taking the stage a few minutes late for a talk that should include a demo of some cool blogging stuff.

What do people need from a mobile device?  It’s hard to find out, because surveys find out what people say they want, not what they want.  Focus groups are another way to find out, but you run in to many of the same problems.  Christian calls these Overt needs.  You can extract data from focus groups by looking at what is actually driving people, not just what they talk about.  Lifestyle studies, analysis, observations, etc help figure out exactly what’s going on.

Nokia’s product principles.

Virtuvius: three pillars of architecture: Firmitas (firm, solid, etc), Utilitas (usefulness, utility, usability), and Venustas (beauty etc).  If you don’t address all three, your product will suffer.

Sullivan: form follows function.  But what drives the function?  What comes before function?  A users needs drive function.

Convergence is a hot topic.  What are we supposed to do?  Shrink a pc down?  bulk a phone up?  Chopsticks vs. knife and fork.  Forkchops?  Sporkchops?  How silly is that?  Convergence has to make sense.  The smartphone HAS to be operated one handed.  It’s a big thing.  That way you’re not spending all of your resources computing, you can be living and computing at the same time.  He was talking about this a bit on the way back from dinner the other night.  (There’s a plce for two handed devices (ala Communicator, Series 90, etc), but for smartphones, gotta be one handed.

The intersection of functionality, form, and context is user delight.

For example, usability for the older phones was a big issue.  Do you go for something that is efficient or understandable?  Or do you go for readability on a small device?  Or do you go for beautiful with graphics and icons and stuff?  Nokia did their best to incorporate and compromise.  That is the Nokia Way.

Christian has a case study.  There’s a really good book called Mobile Usability.  I flipped through it earlier, and it looks quite good.  Here’s a case study: the digital Kazu.  Kazu is a person and also Japansese for balance.  He carried a notebook around with him and just wrote all kinds of stuff in it.  Timeframe: 1994.  He misplaced his book, and freaked out.  One day Christian wanted to build an electronic version of it.  He was using a Newton at the time and was quite happy with it, but alas.

5 years later, the book is an annotated scrapbook, with notes, pictures, clippings, etc.  The book as evolved.  The book was a legacy.  A sort of self blog.  Around 98 a trend was spotted: digital cameras, internet, multimedia, content explosion, lots to keep track of.

Who was driving this trend?  Younger people, socializing, nomatic, living in the now.  Another group was the family centric recorders.  Recording kids, events, everything.  Nokia started attacking this problem back in ’98.  They did tons of research on GPS tracking, trails, facial recognition, moving the web to mobiles.  But the devices didn’t have enough MIPS.  They test and analyze things thoroughly.

Design Comcept A was PC based, allowed you to record and review your data.  Four views: patchwork, single view, matchmaker, and slide show.  Design Concept B was a revolving sushi bar.  Have things fly by you and pick out bits when you need them.  Organize by a more organic timeline rather than so linear.  Design Concept C takes little moments in to consideration.  Storing different moments in your life.  Pictures, text, audio, video.

They took the brain from A, heart from B and clothes from C.  It’s another compromise, another integration.  Together it’s a sexy concept app.  It could be groundbreaking.  It’s personal blogging, note taking, annotation, and more.  It’s presented in a unique way with a UI for your phone and a UI for your PC.  A PC has almost infinite storage capability from a mobile guy’s perspective.  It ends up being a two way multiplatform solution for managing your personal content.

Buzzword compliance: It’s ubiqutious.  Your phone is with you all the time.  Wallet, keys, and phone.  Your PC at home is your archive or your log.  It’s trusted.  (Make sure you back it up!)  The web is your universal place for sharing.  You of course need to be able to sync across all three platforms.

I really hope that this app (or one much like it) makes it out of the lab and in to our lives.  Here’s a closer shot of the current concept user interface: