Biologically Inspired Service Model
One concept that has been a lingering ambition of mine is to find a way to create truly new User Experiences (UX) in applications based upon adaptation. The concept is deceptively simple, and that is that the application you are using, whether it is a web site, a mobile app, or an enterprise ERP system, should change its user interface based upon your circumstances.
Take for example a simple word processing program. When you start a new document you need all the formatting and font options at your disposal as you are setting up the document. You pick a font, colors, decide on a basic layout, and then you begin writing. What happens now is that in order to give you all those options you have a very complex set of menus and commands, because frankly there is a lot of functionality you have at your fingertips. The current state of UX design revolves around how to organize all those options in a way that make it less confusing for the user. Perhaps they group functions by tasks, like formatting, editing, or layout. Another UX option might be to group your most frequently used commands in one menu area for quicker reference. However, in both instances you are still confronted with a daunting set of options that you have to work through 100% of the time.
What if instead, the software changed based on what you were doing? I'm not saying changing menu layouts, I'm saying the whole UX morphs to be best for your current task. In our word processor example, the software would notice that right now I am writing, and not doing any formatting changes. It should sense this and the menu structure and UI should adapt to me. I should see a screen and options that is tuned to help me write efficiently and effectivley and other 'things' the software can do should just go away. By 'going away' I don't mean they are disabled, but rather they just aren't visible. And similarly when I pause writing and go to another application to copy a picture, it should sense that I have a picture on my clip board and then present me with all the image layout and formatting options. What if my company ERP system interface simply adapted to the time of the quarter or the end of the month cycle in a way that was optimum for the high frequency tasks needed at that particular time.
As a follower, and member, of the BICA (Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures) Society I am constantly looking for how to apply learnings in this field to more mundane challenges of a contemporary business, and this adaptive UX is one of those challenges. At my new project, we are working on doing just that, and tying to the career management process.
When you are looking for a new job, you need very different tools at the ready, than when you have a new job and are trying to ramp up, or when you are thriving in that new job and trying to improve your relationship with others.