Breaking Development: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

by September 24, 2012

In his The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Managing Content and Experience in the Age of Ubiquitous Computing talk at Breaking Development in Dallas, TX Jonathan Stark described what the future of networked devices might be and how it will impact Web content. Here's my notes from his talk:

  • From machines that filmed the room, to desktop devices, to mobile devices, computers have slowly become more accessible to people all over the World wherever they are. Network access has followed a similar path.
  • Computing posture from day one to 2007 was sitting down. After the iPhone was released it became standing up and moving around. There were mobile phone before this but not truly mobile computers.
  • Today we have mobile phones that enable this but it isn’t really mobile computing. We need our eyes and hands to use portable screens.
  • The next mobile interface needs to be hands free and eyes free. These are currently restrictions on mobility.
  • What kinds of technologies can enable this? Perhaps Google Glass (eyewear) or Apple Earpods (earphones). Both of these have the potential to change computing posture and be still be connected to the network all the time.
  • These kinds of interfaces don’t have screens. What are the implications for content creators and Web developers?
  • Smart content: you can’t have layout specific information in your content. We don’t know what the target device will be so we need to be presentation agnostic in our data structures. Focus on structured information and metadata in your CMS.
  • Embrace APIs: use APIs internally and externally to interchange data and information between your applications. The API is your product. Make it agnostic to any client.
  • Start small: when you begin a project, consider the most constrained environment first. Mobile raises issues of prioritization and focus due to its extreme constraints. If you don’t start small, you are going to hate responsive design. It’s a lot easier to build up CSS.
  • When you apply these principles (smart content, APIs, and starting small), you do the right thing for accessibility and prepare for the incoming diversity of devices to come.