Basics of Smart Intuitive Experiences
Basix framework is a 3 fold approach towards building smart intuitive experiences. It is a complete suite of guidelines for creating, evaluating and benchmarking interactions and experiences of the future.
One of its kind, BASIX delivers structure to the fuzzy process of creating the architecture and behavior of smart experiences. It is the lean way of product development, ensuring repeatability and quantifiability of otherwise ambiguous and subjective parameters.
Basix smartness index is an analytical approach to examining smart products, services and experiences. It elicits 8 indices which encompass everything that a system should have in order to be smart enough, for a user to be able to trust, use and adopt them. It quantifies smartness on a 10 point scale across 8 dimensions.
8 indices of smartness
Although scoring well on un-intrusive, compliant and sensorial, is quite lopsided due to lack of Flexibility and proactiveness.
Another lopsided curve offering flexibility and proactiveness, but lacking in basic functionalities like reliability and compliance. For nest to become a smarter solution, it will have to evolve around these axes.
A curve that is very close to the ideal smartness, demonstrating why it has been accepted and adopted globally. Although it is quite intrusive, but that is a trait that users have forgiven in lieu of the other offerings.
Basix Sandwich Theory is a structured process for creating user flows that are user-centered for more humanistic experience. Sandwich theory is based on the principle of sandwiching the system task flow between two layers of Humanization - language and learning.
The top most layer in any human machine relationship is the layer of interaction. It is what users see, touch, hear, smell & taste. For any system/device to be smart, it has to communicate with the user in the language that he speaks, with the ability to decipher the modality that the user chooses to interact in.
It is the inner layer of the system, the layer of cognition. This layer is always hidden, but its implications are seen in how the system behaves and responds to user actions. Learnability is the system’s ability to learn user patterns, behaviors, preferences, etc. in order to suggest, predict & assist the user by reducing his cognitive load.
Basix Interaction Guidelines illustrate principles of interaction behavior that are universal and scalable. Borrowing from the classic principles of heuristics, it guides in building experiences that enhance usability and utility. A guide of ‘rules of thumb’ for Designers, Developers and Product Managers for creating smarter experiences.
1. Converse in Human language
While designing human machine interactions we need to minimize the amount of “thinking work” required, without compromising on the desired output. It is important to understand human “process of thought” to create experiences that reduce the cognitive load as much as possible.
Human language is inherently different from machine language. Humans generally converse on the softer aspects instead of measured units. For example: while grilling a chicken a human thinks of it as medium roast or light roast and not in terms of how much power it needs for how much time.
Interfaces should adopt human mental models of asking questions to be able to assist a human in accomplishing the task
2. Mirror Real world Metaphors
We should endeavor to mirror the language and concepts users would find in the real world. Present information piggybacking on the user’s real-world experiences for a more sensorial experience. For example interface can imitate analogous controls that the user experiences in the real world or recreate surface and textures like that of wood or metal that the user interacts with in his physical space.
The object’s sensory characteristics should intuitively imply its functionality and use. Make systems easier for user to understand by simulating ‘physical world’ affordances or by keeping consistency with modern web standards or other interface elements.
3. Contextual Hand Holding
The user should naturally discover all features and functionalities along his progression, without being overwhelmed with information early on. Maintain task-relevant information within the display while users explore the interface. The controls which affect an object, should be grouped with the object so that the user is able to learn and respond contextually.
Users sometimes may not even wish to learn the complexities of the system. Introduce default settings and preset choices for new users or people who either don’t wish to or aren’t experienced enough to access advanced functionality.
4. Make it Interface Agnostic
Today when users are constantly guzzling content, it has become imperative that he is able to have his desired experience from anywhere anytime. While designing systems we need to ensure that it is not just responsive to all interfaces, but agnostic to them. Design a universal language that is agnostic to device type, screen size and interaction medium.
For example a user flow when designed to bake cake in the microwave, should also be consistent when the user undertakes the same task from his phone app, or even if he brings home Amazon Alexa. The user’s interaction medium can change from touch, voice to haptic but it needs to be ensured that the functional elements, graphic style and terminology are maintained across.
5. Remember and Recognize
Today users are living in a fluid world, moving between spaces and consuming content constantly on the move. The millennials are global nomads with access to technology on demand. Connected environments and contextual data has moved beyond the "Internet of Things."
It is essential to design systems that not only recognizes it’s user, but also remembers his preferences, so that the user has a seamless experience across. For instance, imagine if you tell your home pod to add a certain item in your shopping list, then the pod should know what is your preferred delivery address and mode of payment. More importantly the pod should be able to distinguish your shopping cart from other members of your house.
6. Allow Human Overwrite
In the human-machine relationship the system should not overtake the entire decision making, it should always seek authorization before taking any critical steps. User needs to feel in control of the system. He should be able to take action at every level of his interaction and systems should be equipped to handle user inputs without challenging the user beyond his level of expertise.
This does not mean that the system should not be proactive and suggestive. It means that system should allow the user to customize or overwrite as per his requirements. While we create smart machines and systems we should always ensure that there should be scope of exception handling for the user.
7. Make it social and shareable
The digital age has brought people closer and made information more accessible. Today the systems should be designed to enable the user to connect to his social network for collaboration, counsel or interaction. A product’s experience for it’s users when uplifted along the social dimension drives 10X engagement.
For example, imagine if your microwave could download your father’s lemon chicken recipe for you or your washing machine could figure out how your mom kept your white shirts so white. Experiences can no longer be designed for just one person and on one device. In contrast, it should be adaptable to multiple users simultaneously, to elevate a solitary experience to a social one.