Attentive User Interfaces – Part 2

April 27, 2010

Read Part 1 of Tony’s series on Attentive User Interfaces

No one can doubt that social media is here to stay. It has become as integral to this generation as email was to the past. On Twitter, people send messages about the most mundane parts of their lives. Businesses and news outlets are exploring ways to use this phenomenon like in the early days of the internet. I confess that I still don’t understand the usefulness of Twitter, but I can see that it is a force that can’t be stopped. What does all of this mean to the future? This is a question I keep asking myself.

People are tweeting and sending Facebook status updates from their mobile devices so their followers don’t miss a moment of their lives. For me, I think the interface is just too limited. You have to stop what you are doing to peck your trivial text into your mobile device before upload. I’ve been thinking of how this process can be made more user-friendly.

Using new research in attentive user interfaces by a team of researchers at Darmstadt University of Technology, I can see a time when people will be able to automate updating of their status without typing at all. You see, these students are working on technology that would allow your mobile phone or wristband to recognize your activities, such as sitting, standing, walking, cycling, or running in real-time. With this technology you could update your statuses with contextual information. Just think, we can start to look forward to tweets like, “Walking, Fifth Ave.”, or perhaps, “Standing, Apple Store, 767 Fifth Ave., NY 10153, Heart Rate: 162.3”, without even typing or thinking.