Device applies use not context

Paul Boag

I came across this interesting quote from Whitney Hess:

Physical context of use can no longer be assumed by platform, only intentional context can.

For the past couple of years, we have gotten into the habit of presuming that mobile means on-the-go, desktop denotes a desk, and tablet is on the toilet. But increasingly the lines are blurring on where devices are being used and how they’re being used in unison.

This year I have learned to see devices as location agnostic and instead associate them with purpose—I want to check (mobile), I want to manage (desktop), I want to immerse (tablet). This shift away from objective context toward subjective context will reshape the way we design experiences across and between devices, to better support user goals and ultimately mimic analog tools woven into our physical spaces.

I am not sure I entirely agree with the inferred purpose of the different devices. However, I do think it is a much better way of thinking of things than ‘device inferring location’.