Should behavior change how we develop the digital tools we use everyday. Consider the following, my typical day:
This morning my phone woke me up. I reached over and turned off the alarm (it plays the Mission Impossible Theme song – setting the alarm seems so funny each night, but not so much in the morning). I glanced at the notifications. Lots. Shit. My brain is now thinking and I better get up. Twenty minutes later I am in the car. My phone is playing my favorite radio station from London (I’m a Brit living in the USA, but I got to have my UK radio stations). I get to work, power up my laptop and tackle Excel and PowerPoint – Xcode I have my eyes on you, too! Noon comes. Meet some friends to grab a bite to eat and watch highlights from the World Cup on James’ tablet sized phone (seriously, you make calls with that thing??). Back to work, to my number crunching and off home. That evening I sit in from of the TV. My wife is sitting next to me with her tablet. I go to bed and set Mission Impossible for my alarm – that will be hilarious in the morning!
Sound like a familiar routine? Maybe you do not have the Mission Impossible ring tone waking you up, but you do use multiple devices throughout the day. The cost of a phone and tablet is now so low that the key barrier to entry– namely, PRICE – is effectively gone. The PC maybe not so much, so we let the company buy it. Problem solved. What we have, today, is a collection of different devices – phones, phablets, tablets, laptops – that we juggle our email and work around.
To this end, I believe we need to determine behavior before a single line of code or your draw a wire frame. Behavior is now King.
The above chart shows how we typically use different devices. Form factor, portability and screen size all play parts into why we choose to use different devices at different times.
Today, we have three main devices – phone, tablet, PC – but the signs are clear that we will have many more devices. Add to the list: smart car, smart TV, smart watches, smart house, smart health devices, smart…. You get the picture. One app will NOT work successfully across all devices.
Behavior is now the key metric. Think about the apps you use today. How will they change as the tools you use each day adapt to your behavior? Take my daily routine, these are the changes I expect to see:
- My Android watch alarm wakes me up
- My iCar has an app for my favorite radio station
- My Laptop crunches Excel
- A phablet sized phone to watch video with friends
- I use my phone during the day to catch up on email and news
- My watch tells me when to get to the next meeting
- At home, my TV is linked to my wife’s tablet to send extra information about the show we are watching
We are surrounding ourselves with different screens that have different tasks. All are computers. All will be cheap. Get ready for behavior driven design.