Context-aware services, Application software, Context awareness, Human computer interaction, Communication channels, Ubiquitous computing, Environmental management, Information filtering, human/machine performance, intelligent user interfaces, network filtering, adaptive user interface, context-dependent interface, human work interaction design
The Switching Cost of Multi-Tasking
We live in a connected era where multi-tasking is an essential part of life. Today emails seem to ping you at the most inopportune times. When your boss sends you a project specific email, you may be in the middle of a meeting about a completely different project; you might be on vacation or catching up with friends. Even if your boss’s email happens to be about the project you're working on at the moment, it’s unlikely that it's relevant or necessary to the task you’re focused on. These interruptions cost time. They break focus. Our devices allow emails and other notifications to reach us, and they're seemingly unaware of where we are, what we’re working on, or who we’re with.
“Thoughts exchanged by one and another are not the same in one room as another”
- Louis Kahn
If our devices were situationally aware, they could better curate what information is directed to us. Not only our locations but also events can be corroborated by our calendars. While at the grocery store, a device can ping you about that recipe your mom emailed last week. When you arrive at the door of a client’s office, the building's entry code could appear on your device. Information usually buried in the increasingly chaotic hodgepodge of an email inbox should appear as spatially and temporally encoded instructions throughout the day and the city.
Program Intelligence: 1. Disjointed Applications
Lets think back to your boss’s email. When you’re finally situated on a task that requires it you still have to spend time finding it. That means minimizing your program window, opening a web browser, signing into an email service, searching for the email, and finding the relevant information. While this may not seem like a big deal, when multiplied over many tasks, a day can turn into bizarre workflows of finding the right files, and opening and closing apps. I'm often irritated when it feels like an entire day of work was chopped up by these short retrieval tasks, breaking my focus and hindering my ability to get anything done. To create a final document I often require Gmail, Photoshop, Illustrator, Rhino, Slack and a web browser. Every time I switch programs, I lose time.
the architect's disintegrated workflow