Amber Case

Designing Calm Technology

Synopsis

Our world is made of information that competes for our attention. What is needed? What is not? We cannot interact with our everyday life in the same way we interact with a desktop computer. The terms calm computing and calm technology were coined in 1995 by PARC Researchers Mark Weiser and John Seely Brown in reaction to the increasing complexities that information technologies were creating. Calm technology describes a state of technological maturity where a user’s primary task is not computing, but being human. The idea behind Calm Technology is to have smarter people, not things. Technology shouldn’t require all of our attention, just some of it, and only when necessary.

How can our devices take advantage of location, proximity and haptics to help improve our lives instead of get in the way? How can designers can make apps “ambient” while respecting privacy and security? This talk will cover how to use principles of Calm Technology to design the next generation of connected devices. We’ll look at notification styles, compressing information into other senses, and designing for the least amount of cognitive overhead.

About Amber

Amber Case studies the interaction between humans and computers and how our relationship with information is changing the way cultures think, act, and understand their worlds. Case is currently a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and a visiting researcher at the MIT Center for Civic Media.

Case is the author of Calm Technology, Design for the Next Generation of Devices. She spoke about the future of the interface for SXSW 2012’s keynote address, and her TED talk, “We are all cyborgs now,” has been viewed over a million times. Named one of National Geographic’s Emerging Explorers, she’s been listed among Inc. Magazine’s 30 under 30 and featured among Fast Company’s Most Influential Women in Technology. She was the co-founder and former CEO of Geoloqi, a location-based software company acquired by Esri in 2012. In 2008, Case founded CyborgCamp, an unconference on the future of humans and computers.

Case lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Portland, Oregon. You can follow her on Twitter @caseorganic and learn more at caseorganic.com.