in transit, mark danielsonJournal

Panel: Designing for Convergent Devices


Note (March 17th): This entry may be a bit hosed in the area of statement attribution. I believe I have the statements linked with those who actually said them, but please take what follows with a grain of salt.

I still have some cleanup to do on this one…


  • Richard
  • Burton
  • Beckham
  • Combee
  • Zbar

Beckham: Design considerations: control, branding, standards and trust.

Zbar: Group has done work tmobile and others. Showing web example of site. Mobile content distribution.

Q: Did designing for mobile first influence design?

Zbar: Took a lot to keep the web version simple. After desiging for mobile, wanted to fill all white space.

Combee: Developed palm tool for sxsw. (Look into this.)

Burton: Convergent services: One service, many devices. Convergent design: Ecosystem (how do you design for an area when users already have expectations for the space), touch points, cross-disciplines (designing for the web today, how can I design for mobile in the future), sweet spot (), design system (a base where you understand your design framework and what your app needs to do that you can put across all devices — object-orientated approach to design).

Don’t be consistent for consistency’s sake.

Richard: Spends a lot of time trying to get customers to NOT be consistent with web presences when desiging for mobile.

Burton: Design for the device: Environment (bright sunlight, etc), Activity (kiosk design–user may have baby hanging off them, etc), Device (constraints of display, input devices, and issues with different platforms on the device… browser wars for mobile).

Zbar: Of the 100 million mobile devices that support video, there are over 10 different standards that they have to support video for. Also wide range of network speeds. 1) detect streaming or download, network speed, maybe send to email depending on video size.

Burton: Screen: Resolution and orientation changes from phone to phone. Font and color support (gradients may be bad, for example)(mobile, everythign must be small, kiosk everything must be big), input device (TV device may have a zoom button, for example; you need to know all the features your users may be using), focus state

Combee: Palm started with stylus, then added five-way navigator. Had to keep one while accounting for the other. User feedback (status bars may not exist on a mobile device — issues around how you show feedback, tell the user what’s happening).

Richard: In some cases subtltey is overrated.

Burton: User expectations. Really tricky when designing for a new platform.

Q: What’s the place of advertising on mobile devices?

Richard: My general take is advertising gets in the way of what the users are trying to do. If advertising puts a user off task, the provider should find some other way to make money. “Anything that gets in my way is an aggivation.” Lessens goodwill for brands.

Zbar: You can brand entertaintment.

Zbar: People don’t know what phone acronyms like SMS mean. Have to use common language… Don’t use terms people don’t know. “Send this to my phone,” for example.

Q: Lots of the decisions makers are guys who don’t even own PDAs yet. How do you sell people on all the different devices they need to design for? How do you show ROI on this?

Zbar: Consistent question from investors, why do you need $6 million? Simple examples: YouTube transcodes one format, they do 10. Front end may be simple, but quite a matrix on the back end. 20 million users interested in video right now in US, and we’re way behind other countries where adoption is much higher.

Combee: We’re not going to get to one device that does everything, but a bunch of devices that do one thing well.

Posted in SXSW,SXSW Panels at 11:25 am


  1. […] In Transit […]

    Pingback by The Jeff Beckham Weblog » 2007 » March » 11 — 20070311 - Sunday @ 8:03 pm

  2. It looks like SXSW was seriously off on the panelist signs. The Palm schedule guy (me) is Ben Combee, the Zannel guy was Adam Zbar, and there was no Hoffman on the panel (I think that was an old panelist name).

    Comment by Ben Combee — 20070312 - Monday @ 8:58 am

  3. Thanks for coming to the panel. I was the moderator and was thrilled with the turnout for an early morning session. We’ve gotten great feedback from the audience. Feel free to drop me a line any time.


    Comment by Jeff Beckham — 20070313 - Tuesday @ 3:58 pm

  4. […] (More detailed notes here) […]

    Pingback by SXSW Interactive Brain-dump — 20070314 - Wednesday @ 1:53 pm

  5. Ok, I think I have everything reasonably cleaned up now. Thank you for the comments!

    Comment by Mark — 20070318 - Sunday @ 12:12 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

in transit—a lame attempt at a homepage since 1996—is a service of Mark Danielson and
© 1996-2006 by Mark Danielson. All rights reserved unless specifically noted.