Fjord on the Art of Digital Distraction

DistractedIf you’re in the process of developing a mobile app (or testing one), then chances are you have spent a great deal of time thinking about the optimal design. You’ve put yourself in the shoes of your “target audience” and made your decisions on what you think they would find useful.

As design firm Fjord explains, this is not always the best approach. Rather than design an app that requires the users’ full attention, you should instead design for the glance.

VentureBeat explains:

Last year Fjord created a new mobile app for the Swedish mobile phone operator 3,  which displays all the information about a customer’s bill and usage using  simple data visualizations. “If I want to know my own data usage, my carrier  says ‘You have used 320 MB out of 1,024 MB and it’s now Feb 25′. What do I do  with that information? I immediately have to go into system 2 to figure it out.”  3 itself offered over 200 different subscription models. My3 displays a visual  snapshot of usage and trends over the past six months as well as showing how the  bill compares to that of a typical customer. Hundreds of thousands of customers  now rely on the service.

Banks and payment companies are also starting to think simple. “Paypal and  Square have been brilliant at simplifying, although largely for merchants rather  than customers.” Fjord itself produced a new set of mobile applications for the Spanish bank BBVA  that now have 1.2 million users. Recent usage statistics show that customers log in 21 times a month on the mobile apps versus three times a month on the web site.

The next frontier in service design is what Fjord calls living services, where  the same service is delivered via a whole plethora of interfaces and becomes  ever more atomized. “We are already seeing financial services clients saying how  can we break up what they do into little chunks which other people can use in  discrete ways. Spotify, for example, will deliver the service in my car, through  my phone, through my PC, through my Sonos system at home mediated by Ford or  Apple or Android or Sonos.”

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