Interaction design is everywhere. This blog is my moderately academic attempt to capture as many instances of interaction design as I possibly can.


Google+ Teaches Skype How to Capture A Great User Experience

User experience designers tend to work remotely, and video calls are a great way to achieve that “in-person” experience. In addition to being able to hear one another, video calls allow participants to make powerful inferences from subtle gestures. This ability is absolutely necessary in the user experience design industry. However, the benefits of video calls don’t stop me from wondering what my video call participants must think when they can only see my eyes and teeth since I didn’t realize that my lighting was inadequate before the video call commenced.

When users accept an incoming Skype video call, they are given no warning before the camera is activated.  So whatever your current appearance happens to be (in a dark room with dark skin, suffering from a case of “genius hair,” etc.) you must gather what’s left of your dignity and smile for the camera.

Google+ takes a refreshingly different approach. The video chat feature of Google+ is superb. Before a user enters a video chat session, they are given an opportunity to see themselves as other attendees will see them so that they can make adjustments accordingly.

Here are a couple takeaway points:

  1. Design For Global Use- As our world becomes more globalized, user experience designers will have to design for global users. When it comes to products that rely on video technology, accommodate for users with different skin tones by providing them with an opportunity to make vital environment adjustments beforehand.
  2. Go Above and Beyond- Not only did Google+ tap into an overlooked user goal (sharing ideas with teammates without looking like an idiot), but it also managed to achieve this goal with a healthy dose of humor to diffuse an otherwise awkward situation. Just as Stephen P. Anderson evangelizes, a healthy amount of humor can take a user experience from average to exceptional.

I may have no personal desire to rely on Google+ for my social media needs, but I will probably strive to use it for video calls.

  1. kayladoeslife said: Great photo! =) Also, good article, I want to try Google+ now!
  2. everydayinteractions posted this