What would it take to make Surface Pro+/Blue really cool? Really, if you are into windows, Windows Surface Pro is ‘generally’ really the best machine to date. Some people might argue that but let me say why for me it is so cool. First it replaces my desktop and laptop. With the two Helium displays I have an awesome work station at work and the same at home and in between the same machine is a tablet on the train. For me running Visual Studio, a little Adobe Photoshop and watching a movie all at the same time using an all solid state super slate is great and there is nothing as powerful that is as light and is visually cool looking (yes its really about looks). Yes I know I am very shallow regarding hardware… that being said after living with Windows 8 and a slate for my only computer for going on 2 years including a Surface Pro since its launch, here is what it would take to get Surface Pro to the next level or Surface Blue. Continue reading
Another great episode of #TiredAllOver on Emerging Experiences in retail and how those will evolve over the next several years, how we build them, what it means and maybe a bit about why brick and mortar won’t die and more. It’s a fun monologue on how technology affects retail and UX professionals now and in the future additionally about how those technologies work together and how they compare with other market trends.
Related links to some of what I talked about:
Microsoft retail store video… talking about the engineering of one of the emerging experiences I did at [wire] stone. http://blogs.msdn.com/b/mvpawardprogram/archive/2011/01/04/achieving-digital-zen-in-retail.aspx
and another some what related video from MSDN Bytes where I was interviewed about win8 experience design: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/bytes.aspx
This is from an interview I did with Planar which you can see here: planar interview’s with david but I’ve added some material that was cut from the interview and some additional links etc as are related:
“This week Planar will be at National Retail Federation Annual Convention and Expo in NY. Planar will be showing several exciting touch products throughout the show, so I thought I would ask David Kelley, Wirestone’s UX Architect and Microsoft MVP, about the impact Windows 8 in retail.
We know Windows 8 as a consumer product, but is there any reason to think Windows 8 will impact digital signage for retailers?
DK: Windows 8 by itself won’t increase the impact of digital signage but it is an enabling factor in allowing the trend towards more interactive retail space and digital signage to continue. One of the big trends right now is the move towards ubiquitous computing meaning that computers will be more and more part of everything we do and part of our environment. This more immersive interactive computing experience will hold true in emerging digital retail experiences as well. Windows 8 is an incremental improvement for emerging experiences over what could be done using prior technology such as Windows7/WPF. A key element of Windows 8 being the complete integration of Touch and Touch API’s which makes it easier to build these kinds of digital experiences. At Wirestone, for example, Windows 8 is seeping into our work which is including more touch retail experiences.
Does Windows 8 make it easier to create interactive digital signage applications?
DK: Yes, to a point, Windows 8 makes it easier to build touch enabled applications with a more uniform API/framework then we had with say flash, Silverlight or WPF. It is not a revolution but an incremental improvement.
Consumers are used to using touch screen in retail, for example to enter debit pin numbers; with Windows 8 focus on multi-touch can we expect more interactive and dynamic applications in retail?
DK: We have done a number of studies of touch and multi-touch in retail and for the most part multi-touch is a very small percentage of what is important in UX design for public, architectural, or retail touch experiences. Where ‘multi-touch’ is really important is for touch experiences large enough for more than one person to interact with the screen, and when viewing image galleries such as a product catalog where users really expect to pinch and zoom. If an experience has anything that vaguely looks like an image gallery you must implement multi-touch or consumers will get frustrated. For the time being these are going to be the two driving forces behind the need for multi-touch in interactive retail experiences. Developers will need to accommodate for the experiences. The good news is that Windows 8 provides all the infrastructure for making this fairly easy where previously this was difficult and could cause lot of UX problems for users or lots of engineering problems for developers.
Are there other unique retail experiences you see coming that will be enabled by Windows 8?
DK: This really gets to the trend towards ubiquitous computing. With technologies like touch being fully baked we have additional emerging technologies such as NFC (Near Field), QR code type technologies, vision based systems like Kinect, voice and other sensor technologies that will all coalescence around further ubiquitous computing. In the short term we will see the ability to go into a store buy something tap a device, pay for it and tap your device to a POS device and get a token allowing some x y or z feature, service or product. We will see systems like xbox glass where I can swipe things off a touch wall onto your local device or slate. This will emerge as more the norm in conferences or public spaces with touch walls, and in specialty shops like the Apple Store or the Microsoft Store where the digital experience is part of the reason for going inside.
Will retailers require any different hardware to take advantage of Windows 8?
DK: Windows 8 more or less runs twice as fast in half the hardware so there is less of a need to upgrade computers but more of a need to upgrade the displays to include touch. Windows 8 w/o touch is like calculator w/o buttons. To take advantage of windows 8 you really need not just touch but multi-touch especially for large retail displays.
Thank you for your time today, David. […]”
here are questions and responses from the interview not in the initial post but I thought might be interesting:
Cris: Do you expect developers to focus much attention on W8 digital signage applications?
DK: Only to the extent that that business will increasingly ask for these kinds of interactive display’s; so over the next several years there will be an incremental increase in the amount of digital signage or retail experience kinds of applications.
Cris: Does Windows 8 offer any advantages for deploying and maintaining digital content?
DK: From the developer standpoint the big advantage for content is the added infrastructure around using the cloud and cloud based resources. For example an application for a given user can more easily all be pointed at the same cloud based resources in windows 8 then was previously possible or at least with less work as that infrastructure you get for free. That is not to say there are not other great cloud solutions you can do this with on none Microsoft platforms as well. There are great Azure tools for Android and then Apples iCloud and so forth. It is beyond doubt we will see this stuff increasingly deployed. In this particular case Windows 8 gives us an easier path then was previously supplied on any platform.
to learn more about Planar: http://www.planarsystems.com/
In this episode (my first) I’m talking about the state of my world in the tech industry including new hardware such as the great displays from Planar, Microsoft Surface, Windows Phone, Nokia’s great industrial design, Apples BEST industrial design and their hot new hardware the iphone 5 (I got to touch it… it was good for me…) and the like.
related links include:
Helium Display from Planar http://www.planartouch.com/products/pct2785/
Surface from Microsoft www.surface.com
Nokia Lumia 920 http://www.nokia.com/us-en/products/phone/lumia920/