• Core activities that call for time
• Chore activities that we want to
get done fast and in the dead time
• Moments of time when we take
a mental break or are waiting—good
for checking a quick email or playing a game.
Life-centered design challenges
the idea of design for task—it asks
us to fit product value into the real-
time slots of our lives.
Connection. Connection between
people is basic to human existence.
Whether it’s in the context of fam-
ily, friendship, community, or one’s
career, reaching out to transcend
our aloneness is as necessary as
breathing. Cool tools are helping us
connect to people who matter—and
that is what makes them cool [ 6].
The joy of connection is not about
the number of friends you have on
a social network site; it’s not about
the usability of collaboration tools;
it’s not about being able to see each
other with video. Central to the
cool experience of connection is the
way cool tools help make relationships that matter more real and
manageable within the unstoppable
momentum of life.
The mobile phone, texting, and
collaborative little games help us
maintain our relationships by “
dropping in” on those who matter to us
more frequently. Cool tools help us
find conversational content—news,
shared opinion, funny videos, or
photos of a trip—which gives us
something to talk about. And cool
tools let us find things to do —movies,
sports, games, events, and trips. A
relationship with nothing to do and
nothing to talk about is not a relationship at all.
Within a community context,
online communities like Ravelry.
com provide all this plus a way to
contribute to something larger by
providing help and expertise to the
community. Sites bringing together
communities of interest create tan-
gible community where only dispersed
people existed before.
November + December 2011