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Digital + Physical: Designing integrated product experiences

A talk by Bill Horan at IA Summit 2018

About the Talk

March 23, 2018 10:15 AM

Chicago, IL

Chicago, IL

"Much of my career in UX / IxD has been spent designing focused digital experiences - websites, software, mobile apps. In each of these cases, I could rely on a user who was (at least somewhat) focused on completing tasks within the dedicated digital interface.

Now that I work at a non-digital based product design consultancy, I work on a wide array of interfaces for our physical products - mobile apps that work with devices, embedded displays, physical controls, ambient, voice, and learning / automated systems. Some are simple iOT gadgets, others critical medical devices.

Whatever forms these take, the goal of the interface for these products is to support activities and workflows that are happening in a variety of physical environments and circumstances.

Working with our User Research and Industrial Design teams, we’ve developed a set of principles and tools to navigate these design challenges, with the goal of creating integrated product experiences that seamlessly blend the physical and digital aspects.

In this talk, I’ll cover: * The various configurations of digital/physical products, and how to choose the appropriate one * “5 Tenets” of digital/physical design to guide the process * Specific guidelines and considerations for each stage of the design process, including: * Ethnography / field research and observing physical workflows * Gathering requirements based on specific use environments, parallel activities, actors, and ergonomics * Understanding social contexts * Prioritizing use cases and key interactions * Our process of “Digital/Physical workflow mapping”, where physical, digital, and automated aspects of the workflow are mapped out in parallel, and relationships between them defined * Defining inputs and feedback, and deciding what should be physical, digital, or automated * Creating a cohesive mental model, and choosing appropriate metaphors, * Input/feedback relationships that cross from physical to digital and back * The importance of consistent design language across digital and physical aspects * Prototyping and testing techniques and considerations * User on boarding considerations * Hardware and engineering considerations

The talk will conclude with a case study of a product we developed to improve football helmet safety, demonstrating the overall process with specific examples for many of the topics covered above."

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