An Event Apart: The Art of Anticipation

by September 23, 2014

At An Event Apart in Austin TX 2014, Derek Featherstone walked through ways to extend responsive design to make more accessible, context-aware experiences. Here are my notes from his talk: The Art of Anticipation

  • Anticipation is part of creating great experiences.
  • We get sucked in by devices. Context is seen as a device thing. But context includes time, proximity, device, state of mind, capabilities, interests, activity, and more.
  • When we create responsive designs, we traditionally think about the resolutions we need to design for. Instead we should think about ranges of devices. This is more future friendly.
  • Our content also needs to be more device neutral. Don't reference physical locations on pages (left, right, top). Instead link directly to content.
  • Simple example of context: if current date is date of a conference, show schedule on home page. Otherwise, show home page.
  • A context map can plot content priority over time. For example, pre, during, and after an event. From this you can increase or decrease the emphasis on specific content on sites.
  • Can you apply a time context to your content and change what you emphasize over time?
  • Can you apply a location content to your content and change what you emphasize based on a user's location? Example: prioritize walking directions when close and airport directions when far away.
  • Don't change the content but change the way content is displayed based on things like time & location. Example: airline app welcomes you to a city with directions to customer service when you land.
  • All saved context needs to be resettable -people need a way out for when you're wrong or they change your mind.
  • Adjust UI elements based on capabilities. When zoomed in (accessibility mode), shift menus from moving in from side to the bottom.
  • In Google Maps, the scale of the map changes based on how fast you are driving. Faster equals more zoomed out. Slower equals more zoomed in.
  • Figure out what the most important information is and bring it to people, instead of making them go look for it. Sometimes people will give this information to you. Example: sort search results by a particular variable. If they do, make that data bigger.
  • All the things that define context can be used to reorganize and prioritize content.
  • Content in context is king.