The barcode scanner never got hold in the western world. WeChat has turned it into a big success connecting the physical and virtual world.
With the most recent Google IO and Facebook F8 presentations we see both companies moving into the domain of connecting the physical world to the virtual world, building Mobile Object Recognition as a platform. The camera is no longer the end of an interaction (sharing), it’s the start of an interaction (recognise this). The company that can turn this into a platform is the company that can leverage the payments that are connected to physical spaces.
The Google keynote
Last thursday we organized the 4th Behavior Design meetup. A gathering in Amsterdam where we connect designers, scientists and entrepreneurs to share ideas and lessons about behavior design.
Who’s in control?
We touched the discussion about the implications of designing behavior without people noticing it several times. Overal people are confused about this topic.
Nir Eyal â€“ one of the speakers â€“ said behavior design will have a wear out effect. The same effect you notice when you look at old commercials. “Did people really believe this?”.
Attention as a business goal
In the digital landscape the design of a digital service that forces itself into your lifestyle can be an important business goal. Digital services are often focussed on attention and engagement.
Behavior design helps these services to succeed their goals. The addictive design elements in Facebook are an important part of it’s success (“you’re tagged in a photo, want to know what’s on the picture, come and visit”).
Is this right or wrong? It’s an interesting question because you usually don’t notice behavior design. The idea is to influence your behavior without you noticing. The result is that it changes something real. It changes the choices you make or it changes how you spend your time.
A designer has always given meaning to a product or service by it’s design. Even if it’s not intentionally. Design is about making choices and choices are as much about what you do as what you don’t.
In the end behavior design is just like any other design tool. You can use it for good or bad. Designers can have a role in pointing out where it’s being used and what for. Since if you design this stuff, you’re likely better in noticing it.
The other thing that came up in the discussion is that effect or addiction in digital products is measurable. Facebook knows what group of people is unhealthy addicted to their service. You can design behavior for this group as well.
I think the most exiting and successful combination was what CNN did together with Facebook. CNN had a high quality live videostream with Facebook updates from your friends talking about the video stream.
Current TV was also broadcasting the event on television and used Twitter. Which is great for television, because television is a one-to-many medium and you can easily interact with the television by using a Twitter client on your phone or laptop.
Facebook was the best option for the web. Watching video on the web is more a personal and more interactive experience. This is what Facebooks adds. You’re watching the stream, not with the world (like Twitter+TV) but with your friends/contacts.
The computer is much more personal compared to a television and thus the interaction should be more personal as well. My social network is not your social network. It’s a distributed conversation.
Portable Social Networks
These kind of combinations or applications can only be created if social networks are (partly) open and allow services like CNN to use the network. For this event CNN didn’t create conversation tools, networks or any other infrastructure. They just connected the dots of Facebook to the dots of what they do best. Making live television.
This is what happens when services open up. You get the best of both worlds. Portable social networks are the future.