Saturday, 29 September 2012

What comes after touch?

Nice blog post on some thinking of what is next for interfaces -

Gesture tracking, 3D mapping of gestures and movement, etc - the view seems to be that is where we are heading.

But what are we trying to do?  What tasks are we trying to conduct with these interfaces? What are the applications doing?  Presumably we are not writing documents or other similar day-to-day tasks.

Perhaps it is an interesting route for uses where you don't want or can't actually touch a screen - like the example of surgeons given in the blog.

People will figure out uses for these technologies.  Touch spent years doing little but spinning and zooming photographs but now with the hardware of smartphones and tablets we have found real value.  Gesture hasn't yet had much of an outing other than for game play which is a short, occasional task - not a day long job.

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Thursday, 27 September 2012

Conferences are coming...

Just a bit of news that CCD staff are presenting at four conferences in the next few months

First of all, Adam Parkes is presenting on our SAMMIE work at a seminar at IMechE titled "Human factors in 3D - humans in engineering design".  If you want to go, get your skates on as it is next week (2nd October).

Then David Watts will be talking about consolidation of control rooms at the IBC Control Room Design conference in London on 5-7 November.  If you want to go to this, we can offer a 20% discount by following this link

David Watts is also chairing a conference on High Performance HMI (human machine interfaces) in December 2012, again in London.  This will include topics around alarm management, human error, data visualisation and interfaces of the future.  If you would like a discount on attending follow this link.

And a bit further out, CCD will be out in force at the 4th International Rail Human Factors conference in London next March.

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Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The Olympics and designing for the visitor experience

Visiting the Olympic Park and other venues for the Olympics and the Paralympics, a clear winner was how brilliantly managed they have been from the visitor perspective.  What lessons might be learned for airports, railway stations or other public spaces?

The main pitfall that was avoided was long queues.  There was much in the press before the games about the likelihood of long queues at venues (and at the airports!) especially for security.  But those fears were unfounded.  The uncomfortable truth for other organisations is that this was because of the level of human resources that were deployed at manning gates and security areas etc.  With lots of gates and lines in operation, the throughput of people has been sufficient to have almost no queing.  The Olympics were obviously able to draw about a vast army of volunteers in the wonderful Games Makers as well as the armed forces (and G4S!) for the security areas.  More commercial organisations do not have these resources which is why there is currently a drive in airports, supermarkets, etc for self-service.

However the second truth is that the experience for visitors in using the venues has been enhanced by the fact that the security areas and gates and other points of potential congestion have been manned by real people. As visitors, we often don't actually want to interact with a machine (whose usability has probably been poorly designed anyway) - kiosks and other devices offer a second best option.

The other key for the Olympics is that those people have been enthusiastic, welcoming, happy and a joy to interact with.  Again, this is difficult for operators in airports etc: the Games Makers and other Olympic staff were highly motivated, part of an experience themselves and only had to maintain their levels of positivity for a few weeks.

But both of these show the difference that can be made to the passenger/visitor experience if there is still interaction with real people and those people are positive and helpful.  A real challenge for a day-to-day service delivery.

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