Tagged: mobile

Facebook Home: Baby photos, engagement news and food porn coming to the screen nearest you.

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.

Grubby fingerprints

One of the earlier, and more interesting discussions of the Transmediale festival this year came in the exploration from David Berry on Depletion Design.

While presenting perspectives on the theme of Data Exhaust (the intentional or unintentional stuff that’s left behind from our digital interactions), he touched on some key themes for our relationships with technology.

As our objects become smarter, and our technologies more pervasive, we’re generating more and more data. Now commentary on big data isn’t exactly ground breaking but Berry made the observation that advancements in computing actually lead to a withdrawal of its prominence in our awareness. Effective tools, platforms, experiences and ‘things’ eventually become part of the furniture of our daily lives – Julien Smith discusses some implications of this for experience designers in the latest Media Hacks episode.

Add connectedness, and new ‘enchanted objects’ are quietly capturing and reporting an increasing amount of interactions that we’re mostly ignorant or indifferent in giving up. For me, it’s these less-intentional/ unplanned byproducts of our relationships with tech that throw up some important questions.

The light, regular, digital fingerprints we’re leaving across our platforms and devices is quite fascinating in it’s reflection of both our screen-based behaviour, and with networked ‘things,’ our lives away from the screen.

I was reminded of this when reviewing my mobile WiFi access list after a recent trip overseas.


A neat, unintended snapshot of the spots we spent some time while grabbing a hot chocolate, connecting for information or spending a night.

Katy Connor makes a comment on exactly this topic with her work, Pure Flow – an exploration of the ‘invisible noise’ created by the GPS and WiFi networks that we pass and interact with every day. Are these involuntary connections playing a role in our behaviour, and should we be more cognisant of the systems (digital and physical) we operate in?

(Photo by Seb Lee-Delisle)

Evan Roth’s Angry Birds All Levels takes the smudges from our interaction with the iPhone glass, and elevates them to a sports-like summary of our passage through the game. Literal finger prints demonstrating the user’s strategy and progress through the experience. Could narratives and insights be pieced together from physical markings left by interactions with technology?

As we move toward a hyper connected society of objects and people, how important is an appreciation of where our interactions are being recorded? Like my holiday WiFi list, what are the stories we’re leaving behind through our casual exchanges with technologies? And, questions of privacy aside, what are the implications of the permanence of our grubby, digital fingerprints?