UXPA – SmartThings and RedBrick

World-usabilitydayWorld Usability Day 2014 combined three components of the “world” of usability: the internet of things, the content strategy (or behavior design), and… organizational structures that we have to navigate (as an example of government agencies).  Quite interesting – as usually.


SmartThings is a company trying to “connect” all “connected devices” with each other.  Its core product is the platform that makes the connection possible.

Though the first step in development of these devices was the creation of devices themselves, the next step is the possibility of the connection of all of the devices.  My guess, it is close to the concept of Cloud 2.0, when cloud-based software was expected not only interact with the cloud, but also with other software in the cloud.


I guess, it is still difficult to see the practical application of the “connected home;” the most interesting are security-related (knowing when the liquor cabinet has been open, or when children came home from school).

Interesting usability point on “difficult of use” of the “internet of things” in the case of a guest visiting “smart home:”

If you don’t know how devices are operating, it is difficult to operate somebody else’s devices

Samsung demonstrated that it clearly sees potential in the industry by purchasing SmartThings.   I love the site design!

RedBrick Health

RedBrick Health presenter, Sanna Yoder, has probably one of the most futuristic job titles: Director of Content Strategy and Behavior Design.

The new concept (for me) of Behavior Design is quite amazing – a scientific method is applied to the area of human life that was almost considered divine.

Teaching people what they should be doing is not working…  and had been done for centuries.

Fogg Behavioral Model approaches the task with concentration on small steps rather than unlikely to succeed commitments.


This approach is used by RedBrick Health in its behavior modification efforts.


Little tips from the experts:

  • If you wait for 10 minutes, craving will disappear (works on food 😉 )
  • To assure that you will exercise in the morning, sleep in your exercise clothes
  • People overestimate their chances for winning – drawing work reasonably well when resources are limited

Organizational challenges (government):

Information architecture should precede visual design (government agencies struggling with it also).

In the situation when one agency provides services to others…

We can provide glorious templates, but they manage to screw them up

Ah – so familiar situation 😉

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