News & Views

Now / Next / Why NYC / Claudio Pinhanez

by Contagious Team



'Branding the way it is done today is spam in the future'

Claudio Pinhanez, head researcher at IBM Brazil, is presenting on the topic of Beyond Screens at Now / Next / Why in New York on Wednesday 1 May. Here, he answers a few of our questions about the subject.

We're clearly moving toward a post-PC/post-mobile world. What does that mean for how you're designing interfaces for services? 
 
Both online and in the mobile world we are still designing interfaces for computers, not for services. The key difference is that in services there are people and organisations behind the screen who are always part of the interaction, even when totally transparent to the users. In my work, I show how anthropomorphised service interfaces conflict with their users, and create a dramatic narrative. This is true today for websites, mobile apps, and most likely true for other interaction technologies which may come.
 
Where are you focusing your research at the moment? What do you feel is the most exciting research going on in the area of interaction?
 
My focus today is in the developing interface design methodologies which are appropriate for services. I am experimenting with workshops where the people behind the screen are revealed, exposing their motives and conflicts with the users, and where resolution and compromising ideas are surfaced. This is a highly experimental area even for service design. At the same time the human-computer-interaction (HCI) community is still mostly oblivious to the special requirements of a world where services, not machine access, are delivered through a computer interface.
 
In terms of interaction research, I believe the most interesting, game-changing research is in the area of brain interfaces. Although we are still struggling with context-aware applications, mind-aware interfaces are likely to shake completely the possibilities of computer interfaces. Service robotics is also an area with a huge social impact in 10 years.
 
What are the implications for brands as interaction moves beyond screens and into the physical world? How can designers and brands capture the attention and focus of consumers as interaction goes 'outside of the box'?
 
Capturing the attention and focus of consumers is important in the old world of TV and outdoor signs where marketing is context-free. In a context- and mind-aware world, branding can be much more subtle and, sometimes, even unnecessary as a way to add value to a customer. Branding the way it is done today is spam in the future (it is already in many cases).
 
Where do you see interaction design being in 5 years? 10 years? Are we destined for human interfaces (e.g. tech implants) or is there another logical endpoint to interface development?
 
The HCI design community is doing quite well in making itself useless as it did in some times in the past. Luckily, the community has been shown to be able to reinvent itself in the past and, most importantly, rethink and develop new design methodologies. The industry has been leading interface design in the last 15 years (Google, iPhone, Facebook, Twitter) and so it will continue to be. However, I am still using a QWERTY keyboard and a mouse to write these lines, so the main challenge is not how to use brain interfaces but how to integrate them to our interaction legacy.

Claudio Pinhanez will be participating at Now / Next / Why in New York on the topic of:

Beyond Screens / (The Post-Mobile Era)

Technology is breaking out from behind the glass. What does it mean for brands?

Forget the post-PC era. What does the post-mobile era look like? Soon people will regularly interact with brands outside of smartphone and laptop screens, as technologies like Google Glass, projected interfaces from Berg, and haptic surfaces created by Disney Research reach the mainstream. Where is interaction going next, and what do new interfaces mean for brands/agencies creating marketing content?

To find out more information about trends under discussion at Now / Next / Why click here.

Ticket Information /

Standard Single / $733
Standard Group (3 for 2) / $1,466

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