An Event Apart: The Art of Anticipation

by Luke Wroblewski September 23, 2014

At An Event Apart in Austin TX 2014, Derek Featherstone walked through ways to extend responsive design to make more accessible, context-aware experiences. Here are my notes from his talk: The Art of Anticipation

  • Anticipation is part of creating great experiences.
  • We get sucked in by devices. Context is seen as a device thing. But context includes time, proximity, device, state of mind, capabilities, interests, activity, and more.
  • When we create responsive designs, we traditionally think about the resolutions we need to design for. Instead we should think about ranges of devices. This is more future friendly.
  • Our content also needs to be more device neutral. Don't reference physical locations on pages (left, right, top). Instead link directly to content.
  • Simple example of context: if current date is date of a conference, show schedule on home page. Otherwise, show home page.
  • A context map can plot content priority over time. For example, pre, during, and after an event. From this you can increase or decrease the emphasis on specific content on sites.
  • Can you apply a time context to your content and change what you emphasize over time?
  • Can you apply a location content to your content and change what you emphasize based on a user's location? Example: prioritize walking directions when close and airport directions when far away.
  • Don't change the content but change the way content is displayed based on things like time & location. Example: airline app welcomes you to a city with directions to customer service when you land.
  • All saved context needs to be resettable -people need a way out for when you're wrong or they change your mind.
  • Adjust UI elements based on capabilities. When zoomed in (accessibility mode), shift menus from moving in from side to the bottom.
  • In Google Maps, the scale of the map changes based on how fast you are driving. Faster equals more zoomed out. Slower equals more zoomed in.
  • Figure out what the most important information is and bring it to people, instead of making them go look for it. Sometimes people will give this information to you. Example: sort search results by a particular variable. If they do, make that data bigger.
  • All the things that define context can be used to reorganize and prioritize content.
  • Content in context is king.