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The iPad Review – From a Toddler

I buckled.  I had told people in the office that I wasn’t getting one.  I lied.  Saturday morning came, and I got up, drove down to Best Buy Roseville, didn’t wait in any line, and was out in 5 minutes with the 16GB iPad.  I had left the house with the intention of getting one, if there were any left, for my wife.  I’m more interested in how my wife and kids use the thing, especially my 2 1/2 year old.  She has a lot of experience with our iPhones, so I was really excited to see how she used this bigger screen, and boy was I surprised.

Here’s the thing.  Most of use grew up with using the traditional mouse input.  One hand performs multiple tasks, and at most, two fingers are used.  This is why the iPhone / iPod Touch were an easy transition.  There’s a couple gestures to learn, and you’re off to the races.  The iPad has the ability to throw that all out the door, but the app developers haven’t caught up yet.  We haven’t caught up yet.  My 2 year old, immediately wanted to use both hands, and all her fingers.  No dice!  The SketchPad Pro app is wonderful, but it only recognizes 1 finger while drawing.  To be fair, there are a few other drawing apps that do recognized multiple finger inputs while drawing.  We’ll all have to re-learn how to interface with the computer to unlock the potential of this 9.7″ screen.  It’s going to take some time, some tears, and a little bit of patience.  I can tell you that my youngest children probably will never use a mouse, and it’s about time.

The Future of Online UX (User Experience)

There, I said it. We won’t be talking about “Social Media” 5 years from now. It will be roped into the practice of UX or Experience Design. How do I know this? Well, if I go back to my roots in online gaming (which I do for forecasting purposes), there was a movement in the early days of id Software and the game Doom. Gamers were editing, and creating their own game maps/levels (UGC). Some of the creators even ended up getting jobs in the gaming industry (sounds similar to Atari). Fast forward to today’s games. For the most part, game designers set the in-game rules. They allow for content to be created in their world, and give the players tools to enhance and build their experience, but ultimately control their world. I sort of see Facebook as a very immature version of a MMORPG, and whether it’s a video game or your life, they are both starting to look like games.

This poses the question, “Are you a game creator, or a player of the game?” This is where I see UX and Experience Design swallowing what we know as “Social Media”. I can tell you the average time a person plays World of Warcraft in a sitting, blows the average time someone spends on Facebook out of the water. To think that we haven’t even incorporated more than two human senses (sight and sound) into this game, is profound. When we get to a point with UX where we tap a third and fourth sense, it’s game over (no pun intended).