Search Engine Interface Optimization |Interaction design | User Experience
Note- the information below can be applied in practice to any search engine.
Suppose, the user is typing in the Google search bar, and he gets the search suggestions. We can design this feature like- if the user hovers the mouse pointer or moves to a suggestion by using the arrow keys over a link in the search suggestions, the results page containing first ten results should be previewed in a side preview (popup) window for that suggestion.
Due to this the user gets the idea that which suggestion could be the best for him to perform the search.
I mean, it will be a better option as compared to displaying the number of results available for a search in the suggestions.
It won’t be much harsh on the bandwidth as we need to show the preview window only for the top 10 results in text form along with the links and cached text from the result pages.
Further, if the user clicks on a link of a single result (in the preview window of a suggestion) we can eventually direct the user on that page, and for preventing the user for going out of Google’s reach in a single click, we can use the upper frame and display the final end result landing page under that frame as in the page structure what you get while clicking the images in the Google images. This would also be in favor of the user if he wants to perform another search. And of course the user will have the option to close that upper frame.
It’s actually a very futuristic approach for user interface designing and can save a lot of users’ time, and can be first tested under Google labs.
1. The preview feature that allows users to preview text versions of a link should also have a scroll bar for previewing the rest of the content present on the page.
2. if the user scrolls till the end of the results page, the page should be auto refreshed in order to show next 10 results and the scroll bar should be repositioned at the upper side touching in the upper arrow.
3. If the user hovers over a link in the search suggestions, the results page containing first five results should be previewed in the same way as the preview feature for the content page.
FUTURE COMPUTING |Interaction design Idea | Technology
Think of ‘Computer’- a view of a hunchback person starring at the monitor pops up in your mind and that’s what we call a “computer assisted life”. But is this the only way of imagining our association with them? Scientists invent dual cores, large caches, hyper threading, and double bit size of the CPUs and code newer and powerful systems. Still the throughput is very little as compared to the endless hours devoted working in front of this ETERNITY. They say that to invent something you have to think out of the box and in this case apply the same. Scientists have to think beyond the available human interfacing devices to change this scenario.
The key to all our problems will come from a combined system which would include some revolutionary technologies. Human interfacing would be achieved through wearable computers with embedded Brain-Computer Interface having efficient pattern recognition capabilities with assistance from nanotechnology for embedding this whole system into fabric i.e. to move towards cyborgism without the messy implants and increasing human capabilities and connected with internet for voice and mobile commerce services through WI-MAX and 3G and location-based services through GPS.
BCI is achieved by the technique in which Neural signals from the brain are sensed, interpreted and used as input commands for the computer. The Neuron firing in the brain can be detected through electrodes placed in a headband or armband for the process of electroencephalographic (EEG) method and translated into recognizable computer commands. Within the band are several electrodes that can detect electrical signals that emanate from eyes or muscles and pass through the skin. A digital-signal processor extracts important signals after it recognizes some particular patterns in this data stream and these are fed as the input to computer. Commands can be easily differentiated for instance If we ‘think right’ or ‘think left,’ the neural activity accordingly changes.
One could unlock the door or access his bank account by simply “thinking” his password? Even the disabled can be benefited; they’ll simply imagine moving their arm. These computer systems would eventually enable paralyzed people to control their surroundings, perhaps even their own bodies. Just think how many of the countless ideas that go through our heads every day could be linked with the corresponding activation patterns? The user can improve mental power or memory by concentrating on emission of mind signals i.e. with the help of feedback offered by these computers. We would eventually learn how to control our mind.
There are other remote detection methods for recognizing brain signals such as Optical devices which use optics to infer neural activity without making contact with the head at all. A focused beam of light is used to measure the reflectance, and this reflection changes as the blood-oxygenation levels change. These could be used for providing remote input to the computer server systems. Computer systems with capabilities like this could be installed at public places for various purposes like identification, traveling reservation(think of the journey while walking down the airport and u have the ticket booked with the fare deducted from your virtual credit card), banking, etc. Someone about to commit a crime undergoes distinct physiological changes so we could report that something is wrong and they need a checkup.
As far as the heavy processing part is concerned, all the work can be done by sending the data to the servers. Embedded with sensors using nanotechnology, clothing could keep track of our health, responding to bodily changes reflecting illness and would also automatically synchronize and track our health related statistical information on the health servers. Virtual reality would be comparatively more real and would provide the user with feedback enough to simulate the real world and thus would help us to use it with the feel of real system and pleasure applications such as virtual gaming would be very popular as gamers would be able physically play the game and customize their physical surroundings which is not real and doesn’t exist at all. Apart from this the professional and personal applications like real time video conferencing for meetings or personal use can be achieved without any hassles anytime, anywhere.
Ability of these future machines to directly share experiences and knowledge with each other will lead to evolution of a new level of artificial intelligence. Rather than functioning as independent entities, these smart wearable machines would work more like intelligent front-ends of the global networked system.
This sort of future computing is something monumental in the world of computing and yet so hard to name. But developers eye this as the “stuff that doesn’t work yet”. What the science has for us is limited for probably a few universities and research labs and are not practically implemented in our day to day life. But this form of computing has come out of the labs and soon will enter our lives with the promise of computing that is foolproof, invisible and everywhere.The possibilities for the future are boundless; by picking up brain signals non-invasively; we could find ourselves controlling machinery with our thoughts alone: a marriage of mind and machine.
An aggressive Product Development Model |Idea for business model
In this model, Designers and Engineers (3 to 5 ) work in a room, brainstorming and rapidly developing the project. Negligible time is wasted thinking about solutions, and not asking through formatted emails or support portals as you can always ask the other person next to you and get their thoughts. E.g. No need to go to your manager and explain the problem’s scenario as he is there with you which saves a lot of time. The current scenario is that while the Designers and Engineers are working, they can come across problems which have to be discussed in a meeting or a session and then we implement the solution. The Designers can take on an issue one by one in this model. Brainstorming is done on each and every stage.
Some infrastructural improvements can be- the use of Tablet computers. Everyone can see each other’s screens as it’s like a book with a stylus as a pen. An employee can go to another employee and ask questions by just carrying this book like device and showing it to him like a book and then marking all the answers down. Again while working ‘in the room’ employees can simply pass on the tablet like a book.
Employees can work for 4 hours a day using this model and 4 hours of regular work which can be the period of ‘total concentration’ and some work which doesn’t require any assistance.
In the current scenario, most time is wasted in assigning the work, reporting the work, discussing issues, implementing and getting the solutions corrected and checked. However, there can be quite a level of transparency in the product development process by implementing this model.
Real time car pooling |Interaction design Idea
Any user who wants a ride would send his details like – location, desired destination, time of the ride, and the amount he is willing to pay – to the server using a simple SMS from his mobile phone. Any member driving a car with spare capacity in the same area would receive the details and decide whether they want to accept the bid. Of course, the car/bike owner would pre intimate the server by sending the same kind of sms about his destination or route. The server can manage the automatic payments. This system can also be useful for professional cab drivers who actually are looking out for passengers. Possibly if this system could be hooked up to GPS in real-time it would also be able to suggest to potential passengers and ride providers which route to take to ensure getting a ride, the location of the passenger, the location of the ride provider. Even direct automation of this whole system is possible by the use of GPS.
Location search by sms -search places on the go |Interaction design Idea
Apart from a few developed nations, everyone cant use GPRS, EDGE, 3G, wifi on their mobile phones. Still we can provide them with the same capabilities as a user with GPRS as far as a location search is concerned. Users can sms the name of the place along with the area to the server.
e.g. “KFC camp area”
The server knows the location of the user that the user is in Pune, it can sms the user containing address, directions and the phone number as well. Also this system can act as a Location Suggestion assistant in which user can sms the terms like Restaurants, Historical places, Banks, Hotels, Shops, Malls, Hospitals, so on and since the server also knows about the co-ordinates of the user(on an approximate basis) it can reply back with the probable results by some sms. Advertisers can attract potential buyers when they are near to shops by listing offers along with the search results. This service can fetch data from Google Local or wikimapia.
Shopping Assistance service on mobile phone | Interaction design Idea
In this design, the user is suggested about products while is he is out for shopping. The first step would be to get the product’s name from the user which is possible by 3 ways
- Scan the bar code- for this the user needs the barcode scanner equipped mobile phone.
- The user can type the barcode number in the mobile web portal
- The user can sms the barcode number to the server(no GPRS required)
The server would then process this request and would supply the top ranked reviews and best price and details of the offered product either on the GPRS enabled handset or by sms in case of non GPRS enabled handset. User can check whether the shop he is in is offering a good deal and also see if the product is any good.
Courier service user experience with mobile phones |Interaction design Research
What happens in the current scenario is that the user can simply track his courier by providing the tracking number on the courier company’s website. This needs to be improved.
We can have a mobile server to which users can send their tracking number and the server would return the status. Also, the server should automatically notify the user about the change in the status of the courier tracking e.g. the server can notify the user by sms that courier company needs the complete details of the address.
Also the sender of the courier should be notified that his courier has been delivered successfully.
Mobile phone based targeted Advertising |Interaction design Idea
Service Product Innovation (The idea):
Voice recognition for analyzing the conversation on mobile phones of consumers combined with other means like sms scanning (sms content based ads), location based, time sensitive and consumer identity for advertising.
There are some billion mobile phones around the world which can be the most personal and intimate way to communicate and engage with the consumer. The future of advertising is in the mobile phones not only because consumers can be targeted according to their location or profile, but also because nearly all consumers carry their mobile phones 24X7.
Feasible examples of voice recognition systems- Voice recognition technology is used for directory assistant for finding phone numbers and contact details about a company without having to talk to a person or by pressing numbers on your phone. Another example is Google Voice that allows someone to use phone to make a Google query.
Consumers accept the ads if they are targeted and purposeful. They want the ads to be relevant and about something in which they are interested in. E.g. you talk to your friend about having lunch together and you get the advertisement about an offer of discount at the nearest McDonalds.
The enterprise’s server analyzes every word of phone conversation along with other parameters such as location of the consumer, consumer identity, profile of the consumer, other preferences, etc so that it can serve up advertisements tailored to the topic on the mobile phones. These ads can be Interactive ads on the mobile phones in the form of text messages, images, banner style ads, and voicemails. Phone conversations are monitored only by computers, not actual human beings so the consumer’s personal information is never misused.
The parameters for rendering ads on the mobile phone of the user are described as follows. Consumer identity and profile- The enterprise can target ads to consumers with much higher response rates by gathering as much personal data about the consumer used for framing the profile. It is comprised of age, gender, location, working domain of the consumer. All these details are correct and can be collected easily because of the pre-requisites of buying the mobile phone. In case of web, the service enterprise doesn’t know surely that who is the user if he’s not signed in or has provided incorrect details. Another domain where advertisers don’t have an idea is the broadcasting – who’s watching TV, whether ads are seen by the targeted audience, e.g. It’s of little use if a child sees an advertisement for investment services on the television. But in case of mobile phones, the enterprise knows who’s reading the sms or voicemail. For e.g. if u are a male living in Mumbai in your twenties and pursuing technical education in electronics field, you might get an ad of electronics based course in Mumbai. Consumer’s Location- This parameter takes into account the current location of the consumer as well as the permanent residence of the consumer.
Content based analysis- The ads are rendered on the basis of user generated contents like sms, and Voice (through the use of voice recognition).
Format of ads- Advertisements can be in the form of SMS, ad sms attached to a user’s sms, images, banner style ads, voicemails and web links for WAP enabled phones and other multimedia in case of 3G handsets according to the handset and phone service plan of the consumer. Newer innovations and ideas like use of an audio advertisement instead of dialer tunes and call hold tunes. There can be an option for the consumer if he wants the service, press a key and receive a detailed sms about the offer and contact details or a web link.
Ads on Demand- The consumer can choose to search through ads for a service if he is seeking for a service. The consumer may dial a phone number and just speak or sms the required domain of service and he’ll get the relevant ads on that service.
Business model and design (the plan):
There are actually 4 entities- the enterprise offering the ad service, the advertiser who wants to buy ads, the Service provider and content generator for the user, the consumer.
The enterprise can offer design tools and services for mobile advertising, for retailers looking for simple yet effective solutions for creating ads to reach out to their customers; designing in minutes to upload straightaway. Advertising can be bought and sold through a simple phone call. The advertiser can call the enterprise server and select the appropriate option from the IVRS regarding the domain of the ad and type or speak the text that he wants to display as the ad of his service. The IVRS can also suggest the ideas to frame the ad, format for the ad- whether audio or text and link, images and banner based. The advertisers can buy ads on real time even on the move and thus this system would eliminate the time gap between the advertiser willing to buy ads and the time when those ads reach to the potential consumers. The advertiser can select the budget plan package for the ad and can also pay by specify their credit cards or pay pal account. Online portal for buying advertisements is another option which would offer many different features. E.g. Advertisers can get their sms, images and audio ad in terms of voicemail, hold tune or a hello tune sent to a person who is actually in the service offering area of the advertiser and his profile matches with the probable consumers of the service offered by the advertiser.
For the content creators or the other service offering entities which the consumer may require like airline, hotel, railway, cab reservation IVRS, banking IVRS who make their mobile compatible sites or IVRS can easily use the enterprise’s service to render the ads on the mobile phone of the users who use their service. E.g. a user uses a phone call based airline reservation system and books a ticket to Chennai. An ad sms can be sent to the user about the hotels and promotional offers for residing in Chennai or a pre-arranged cab service from his current residence to the boarding airport at the time of flight.
So the airline portal also gets the share of the revenue of the ad from the ad rendering company and the ad rendering company gets the revenue from the advertiser.
Reporting metrics- The enterprise’s server provides extensive reporting options which can be precisely documented giving media planners precise insight into the effectiveness of consumer response to the ads. The ways can be tracking the user’s behavior like time devoted for listening to voicemails or reading the sms. Other options are to monitor the user’s requests for service specific ads, or clicks in cases of internet enabled phones.
The future of the enterprise providing this service:
Experienced consumers wouldn’t care about commercials, ads, banners and other fancy wording and imagery that is forced upon them unless they are very specifically targeted. In the media and advertising business, requirements would arise where there is cost-efficiency against mass audience. Only cost efficient and targeted advertising systems will survive.
The most important aspect of advertising will be the consumer’s choice along with open exchange systems. Even if the next 5 years holds more change for the advertising industry than the previous 50 did, the enterprise still have gained a lot more advancement in terms of cost of advertising, the open business model, targeted consumers, real time services. The consumer’s would have moved completely from television to computers and mobile phones, and that’s the only evergreen domain for advertising industry.
As far as the progress of technology is concerned, Voice Recognition technologies will replace keyboards by 2012.
Future technological advancements- The enterprise can have developed advanced systems like human emotion based voice recognition. Example- On a phone conversation with your wife, you are very happy; you can be presented with an ad offering delivery of flowers or gifts to your wife.
The enterprise would possibly shift most of its advertising related business into mobile sector which is the most secure in terms of its existence because till we are all humans we’ll be communicating by talking.
Uni-Login Web Portal with Automation | Interaction design Idea
A web portal- the interface would be like a proxy service website (a panel over the browser display window) offering a main login with user id and password and he would be asked some preconfigured questions based on his personal life for security reasons. A substitute to this step can be to send a code to user’s mobile and the user can provide that code along with the user id and password.
After the user has logged in, he would be presented with his accounts like- email, social networking account, bank account, demat account, etc. For every account, the server has password and username stored. If the user expands the ‘email’ tree, this sub-tree would display Compose, Check mail, Rss Feeds,
Customized account actions are also possible like from the home screen direct jump to the ‘Order Book’ in the user’s Demat account as this would be configured by user.
Also tasks like bookmarking, direct mailing a block of text copied from a web page, recording text or images from web-pages in your online diary, etc All of this with a single click on the panel.
All this would provide a lot of automation and would save the user a lot of time.
From the business model’s perspective, ads can be displayed on the common interface according to the content in the user’s browser frame
Web service to buy Groceries and household items |Interaction design Idea
A web service through which user can order grocery stuff along with other household items. From the business model’s perspective a tie up with all the big grocery stores like Big bazaar, Spencers, Reliance fresh, etc. Products can be delivered at the user’s place. Even if we target 25% of the households who can place order through INTERNET the business potential is unimaginable. An improvement in this model is possible- the delivery van may have all the stock of food items and the driver could be notified about the fresh orders placed by an GPRS enabled handset on a real time basis and thus the user would get the delivery of the goods in no time.
Portal to barter or donate used stuff |Interaction design Idea
EBay is the biggest player in online shopping sector. But even it doesn’t support barter system. Users can search for products according to price, configuration, and location (in case they want to manually exchange it).
Person A can make a bid for a product offered by person B. In turn A would offer another product which may be lying with A or as pre-specified/demanded by B. So both A and B would have their offerings and their desired products listed under their profile.
The search algorithm would match the A’s desired product with the offerings of all others and then the offering of A with the desired products of the shortlisted results. Also if A just wants to give away his offerings for anything in exchange, others can make a bid with appropriate exchange items. The portal should also allow the users to sell or buy stuff, in case they want money in exchange of their products. Organizations can make their profile and users can donate their stuff to orphanages and old age homes.
Note: An implemented project is “swapace.com“, but it’s not with the features listed here.
Efficiently utilize a hotel |Interaction design Idea
Many times the capacity of a hotel is not utilized fully. We can have a web portal which can allow the hotel management to quickly add their deals if they are having some vacant rooms or other services. The users can be notified on the real time basis by sms and emails. This service can be used to book hotels by the users who would otherwise prefer another hotel but because of such deals, can opt for these hotels. Moreover deals can also be notified well in advance, so that the users if interested can plan a stay in the hotel or plan a get together.
Relevant Search | Interaction design Idea
While using search engines, user gets thousands of web-pages in which more than half are not relevant.
If we can implement something like Meta tags, a ‘Definition’ for every webpage stating what the webpage contains. This would be a sort of abstract for every webpage which will solve the problem and get more of the desired and relevant results.
The user can also preview this definition by just hovering the mouse pointer over a search result (like the preview feature of BING)
Electronic Money |Interaction design Idea
Use of Electronic money is possible, but it’s not that easy and readily accepted for most of us. This is not about the bank balance which we transfer electronically; it’s about carrying the electronic money with you.
A user can step into an ATM and swipe his ATM. Then he can be presented with an option to generate e-money. While generation, the user would be asked for a key which can be used to encrypt the code. The code can also be generated online by a web portal or the sender’s bank website. Third way of generating code would be by the use of mobile phone in which the user can send a sms mentioning the amount, key, and his tele pin through a sms based wizard and can get the generated code.
The generated code can either be printed or sent to the user’s mobile. The user can sms this code or email or by any means provide it to the intended receiver of the payment.
The receiver can directly step into an ATM and swipe his ATM and enter the code along with the key which the sender has used to encrypt. The balance can be withdrawn as cash or be left into his account. Also the receiver can send the code to a server through sms and can get that balance transferred to his account. Or else the receiver can use the web portal to deposit the e-money code into his account or for an online payment.
Both the sender or the receiver can use the code for shopping online- this way the account details of the source account aren’t leaked. In case of offline shopping, the user can type in the code in the merchant’s mobile along with the key so that the merchant gets the payment.
Character by Character Chat |Interaction design
Any messenger or a Chat client (Internet or Intranet) transmits a complete statement- i.e. the text is transmitted from the sender to the receiver when the sender hits the ENTER key. In this process, the receiver can only see that the sender is typing the message.
The idea is to have an option enabling which would transmit the text on real-time basis- i.e. if the sender enables this option, the receiver can see the text as the sender types dynamically. This would reduce the time spent in typing the whole statement and then the sender reading it and then replying. Instead, assuming that the sender and the receiver both know about the topic of the chat, they can very well respond in advance even before the other one types his statement completely.
Obviously this has to be an option which can be enabled because users would want to show the finalized and corrected chat statement to the recipient in cases where they don’t want the receiver to know what they were exactly thinking while typing.
I have tested this system and it’s really very comfortable and fast.
My Suggestion to makeitfrom.com |Interaction design Idea
Makeitfrom is a website for material selection for Product designers and industrial designers. It’s a nicely designed website- however can improve on some terms. But overall it’s a nice experience on makeitfrom
Here is my mail to them for which they replied saying they’ll look into the issue.
I am an industrial design aspirant and currently studying about materials.
I would like to list a few points here-
1. Please have pictures of materials along with the description.
2. We can also have a “select material by property values” in which some property bars would be there and the user would vary the bars for a desired value and then would search for the ideal material closest to his criteria.
3. Please use some charts in case of comparisons as a simple bar chart won’t suffice, also we can have charts for comparing on the basis of multiple attributes.
4. Also list the typical products parts for which the material is used so the user can relate it from his past experience.
5. If possible can use material indices to compare how a material would behave when shaped into specific structure.
6. Further, a brief about manufacturing techniques related to that material would be beneficial.