The launch of Facebook Home brings some momentum to the ambient screen discussion that’s been kicking around for a while now. Russell Davies has done some great work on screens, and how the coming abundance of displays can be shaped through a focus on glanceability, not distraction.
This is the real opportunity for Facebook Home – rather than dominating a device with their Cover Feed, a stream of image updates from your network displayed as an interactive screensaver, perhaps some more thought could be applied to providing ‘glanceable’ value for network activity through the sleeping device screen.
Perhaps the display could tint blue if it’s a slower news day from your strong connections; maybe a song title is displayed if 5 of my friends are streaming it on Spotify; maybe a heat map of the world could show where and when my close friends are online.
It’s an obvious first step to use photographic content to add energy to our mobile device but personally, I’m finding my newsfeed cluttered with updates and content that are more distraction than value. As I’m interacting with my mobile through the day I’m using the lock screen on my phone in a real glance sense, a quick time check; next meeting location; missed calls. More shitty content from my extended FB network will turn me off pretty quickly.
So perhaps it’s enabling light, network sense-checks through smarter contextual stories and considered data visualisation that becomes the real kicker for Facebook Home.BERG London have re-imagined settings with smart, connected objects and ambient, ‘ignorable’ displays.
As Davies puts it, we should try create products that are ‘designed to be respectful of our primary attention, offering something quick, quiet, useful or rewarding in the moments we can spare it some mind.’
It’d be great to see FB chase this type of value for Home – monetising it is another question.