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Calm Technology: Designing for Billions of Devices and the Internet of Things

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How can we use technology as tools instead of letting our technology use us? This practical book explores the concept of calm technology, a method for smoothly capturing the user s attention only when necessary, while calmly remaining in the user s periphery most of the time. You ll learn how to design products that work well, launch well, are easy to support, easy to use, How can we use technology as tools instead of letting our technology use us? This practical book explores the concept of calm technology, a method for smoothly capturing the user s attention only when necessary, while calmly remaining in the user s periphery most of the time. You ll learn how to design products that work well, launch well, are easy to support, easy to use, and don t get in the way of a user s life. Old systems and bad interfaces will plague us if we don t learn how to design for the long term. By writing code that s small instead of large, and making simple systems rather than complex ones, we can begin to design technology that gets out of our way.Discover principles that follow the human lifestyle and environment in mind, allowing technology to amplify humanness instead of taking it awayDelve into types of alerts, product launch, "calming" technology, and tech that smoothly enters people s livesLearn from a trained anthropologist and a technology hobbyist who sits on the edge between technology and how people use it This book is ideal for anyone who actively builds or makes decisions about technology, including user experience designers, product designers, managers, creative directors, and developers."


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How can we use technology as tools instead of letting our technology use us? This practical book explores the concept of calm technology, a method for smoothly capturing the user s attention only when necessary, while calmly remaining in the user s periphery most of the time. You ll learn how to design products that work well, launch well, are easy to support, easy to use, How can we use technology as tools instead of letting our technology use us? This practical book explores the concept of calm technology, a method for smoothly capturing the user s attention only when necessary, while calmly remaining in the user s periphery most of the time. You ll learn how to design products that work well, launch well, are easy to support, easy to use, and don t get in the way of a user s life. Old systems and bad interfaces will plague us if we don t learn how to design for the long term. By writing code that s small instead of large, and making simple systems rather than complex ones, we can begin to design technology that gets out of our way.Discover principles that follow the human lifestyle and environment in mind, allowing technology to amplify humanness instead of taking it awayDelve into types of alerts, product launch, "calming" technology, and tech that smoothly enters people s livesLearn from a trained anthropologist and a technology hobbyist who sits on the edge between technology and how people use it This book is ideal for anyone who actively builds or makes decisions about technology, including user experience designers, product designers, managers, creative directors, and developers."

30 review for Calm Technology: Designing for Billions of Devices and the Internet of Things

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    This book had a terrible case of magazine-article-as-book syndrome; I was so excited by the topic that I immediately bought it, but came away seriously disappointed. The first problem is that there is about 25 pages of unique, innovative, relevant content in these 125 pages. The writing is redundant, often repeating the same calls to action over and over, superfluously restating points that were sort of interesting the first time but quickly lose their luster, and did I mention that it is redunda This book had a terrible case of magazine-article-as-book syndrome; I was so excited by the topic that I immediately bought it, but came away seriously disappointed. The first problem is that there is about 25 pages of unique, innovative, relevant content in these 125 pages. The writing is redundant, often repeating the same calls to action over and over, superfluously restating points that were sort of interesting the first time but quickly lose their luster, and did I mention that it is redundant? At one point, the author devotes almost half a page to describing how you should work through the exercises--maybe on your own at your own desk, or with a group, or maybe you could listen to some music while doing it. She doesn't say (but could have included with equal logic) that you could do the exercises in the morning while drinking coffee or maybe after lunch if you prefer that. Let's throw in some photos of dudes hanging around at Xerox PARC in the '70s, too! This is the thinnest O'Reilly book on my shelf and the author's struggle to get even to 125 pages is extremely evident. The second problem is the scope of calm technology. The author talks almost entirely about alert styles and interactions, with enough examples that aren't alerts that you can tell she realizes the scope should extend further, but not enough that the book can claim to offer "principles and patterns" for the design of things other than alerts. The discussion does extend helpfully into the concept of respecting the user, and along those lines, I thought that I might read here about applications like Scrivener (to organize writing), [email protected] (sounds to diminish distraction), or Leechblock (to disconnect from distraction). But the idea of calmness here is construed only in terms of avoiding interrupting the user with unwelcome/inappropriate alerts, not in terms of user affect while actively using technology. No wonder it's so short. Bottom line, there are a few good points here, but look on this book as a skim from the library.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    Amber Case clearly has some important things to say about how we notify. Business goals (and start-up 'glory') encourage us to get in front of our users as many times as we can. Attention serves as a proxy for starting new behaviors and habits which become sticky. Amber rightfully asks the question whether it's the right way to make technology. Imagine a coffee maker sending you 5 texts and emails if you didn't make coffee. It doesn't make sense, and it serves as a distraction from the things we Amber Case clearly has some important things to say about how we notify. Business goals (and start-up 'glory') encourage us to get in front of our users as many times as we can. Attention serves as a proxy for starting new behaviors and habits which become sticky. Amber rightfully asks the question whether it's the right way to make technology. Imagine a coffee maker sending you 5 texts and emails if you didn't make coffee. It doesn't make sense, and it serves as a distraction from the things we think really matter. But there is tech--constantly doing this. The NYT, CNN, Twitter and TMZ with a 'can't miss' update. Likes on your instagram and facebook photos. Amber argues the compelling and important point that our attention is limited, and too often technology doesn't consider the best way to convey its information to us. Limited to software in a few device shells, we lose out on a richer life. In this sense, Amber succeeds in pointing out issues in today's tech, but unfortunately the book stays too general. Too often the ideas stay as principles, and don't highlight technology (other than higher tech MIT media lab inventions) that has made it to the mainstream. One of her examples on notifications, Slack, I would argue is the opposite of Calm Technology. It basically encourages you to be in all-day meetings with no agenda, to quote a famous tech writer. While its notification system has many points in its favor, the question (I believe) underlying her book is whether we should be notified at all, and if so, with cues other than visual / auditory. Another one of her examples, driving, shows a system that works for most people. How would that be translated into the real world however? Most of the technology we interact with doesn't have a contextual 'system' for engaging with it like a car. As a result, I'm torn. As an introduction to the idea of technology that aids our lives and the hazards of our current fascination with growth and engagement, I rate it 4 or 5 stars. As a roadmap to actually creating that technology and putting better ideas in the marketplace, I'd give it a 2 or 3, hence my overall rating. I believe there's a huge leap to be made, by the way, with augmented reality. Amber's book and ideas could be expanded to create a framework for designing and implementing this new kind of technology. She highlights as much in her discussion of Google Glass: I just hope that in her next version she'll go even further.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alja

    The principles of calm technology are solid, and I had big expectations for the book. Unfortunately, the execution is lacking, relying on broad generalizations and simplifications, without looking at relevant research. For instance, how can a book on this topic largely avoid accessibility issues and keep advocating for solutions that are problematic for people with visual or hearing impairment? Also, a lot of questionable claims about human attention are made without supporting research. I did f The principles of calm technology are solid, and I had big expectations for the book. Unfortunately, the execution is lacking, relying on broad generalizations and simplifications, without looking at relevant research. For instance, how can a book on this topic largely avoid accessibility issues and keep advocating for solutions that are problematic for people with visual or hearing impairment? Also, a lot of questionable claims about human attention are made without supporting research. I did find a couple of examples from the book are interesting, but they could have been summarized in a longer blog post. You can get the core idea just by visiting the book's website and skip reading this highly repetitive book filled with assumptions.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Gregory Reshetniak

    Amazing book. A treasure trove that I will surely be returning to consult in the future. Read my thoughts inspired by this book over at https://ror6ax.wordpress.com/2020/12/... Amazing book. A treasure trove that I will surely be returning to consult in the future. Read my thoughts inspired by this book over at https://ror6ax.wordpress.com/2020/12/...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Vasilis

    It’s pretty good for designers who create ordinary stuff for ordinary people but I couldn’t stop thinking about what screenreaders would be like if their creators had read this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amber Case

    How can you design technology that becomes a part of a user’s life and not a distraction from it? This practical book explores the concept of calm technology, a method for smoothly capturing a user’s attention only when necessary, while calmly remaining in the background most of the time. You’ll learn how to design products that work well, launch well, are easy to support, easy to use, and remain unobtrusive. Author Amber Case presents ideas first introduced by researchers at Xerox PARC in 1995, How can you design technology that becomes a part of a user’s life and not a distraction from it? This practical book explores the concept of calm technology, a method for smoothly capturing a user’s attention only when necessary, while calmly remaining in the background most of the time. You’ll learn how to design products that work well, launch well, are easy to support, easy to use, and remain unobtrusive. Author Amber Case presents ideas first introduced by researchers at Xerox PARC in 1995, and explains how they apply to our current technology landscape, especially the Internet of Things. This book is ideal for UX and product designers, managers, creative directors, and developers. You’ll learn: The importance and challenge of designing technology that respects our attention Principles of calm design—peripheral attention, context, and ambient awareness Calm communication patterns—improving attention through a variety of senses Exercises for improving existing products through calm technology Principles and patterns of calm technology for companies and teams The origins of calm technology at Xerox PARC

  7. 4 out of 5

    conor

    Somewhat more geared towards physical products but still interesting.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alex James

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  10. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

  11. 4 out of 5

    TEELOCK Mithilesh

  12. 4 out of 5

    Marius

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elvi Nissen

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andy

  15. 4 out of 5

    Krishna Harish

  16. 5 out of 5

    Pauline

  17. 4 out of 5

    Keith Corbin

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jose

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gayle

  20. 5 out of 5

    Fergle

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rahul Sekar

  22. 4 out of 5

    Afonso

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ramy Nassar

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kamil Kolodziejczyk

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Bautista

  26. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Orbach

  27. 5 out of 5

    Iván

  28. 4 out of 5

    Yveta Londa

  29. 4 out of 5

    Boris Greenberg

  30. 5 out of 5

    Christian Ramsey

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