In the large-display scenario, the
container is initially empty, and as
such its task context is undefined.
Let us assume that users in front
of the display are discussing a new
organizational structure and begin
to pull up names of managers who
could play a major role in a new
business. At this point, the display
becomes a collection of content
items (people) and is still not tailored to a specific domain. When
a user adds an org-chart view and
begins to sketch org units, the context of the large display becomes
focused on organizational structures. People’s names within this
context are potential candidates for
manager positions, and users can
annotate pros and cons for each
nominee. The large display then
turns into a planning tool and the
container context becomes an organizational structure, with managers and organizational units as the
content items. When several users
create different variants of the org
chart, the org chart itself becomes
a decision option (content item)
within a larger decision-making
context. When the discussion is
wrapping up, follow-up actions are
defined and users agree to get in
touch with some of the proposed
managers. Now the manager object
has assumed the role of a to-do
item for the respective task owner,
which can be accepted, rejected,
and signed off as completed.
Today an explicit design rationale for systematically constructing such an organic, open-ended
interaction framework has not
been articulated. Transformative
User Experience attempts to identify the principles of how to construct transformative interfaces
in a native way to empower the
user to incrementally establish
new task contexts with intended
meanings within the system itself.
While our principles for content
composition resemble the classic drag-and-drop principles of
direct manipulation interfaces,
Transformative User Experience
aims at leveraging the interaction
between content and container in
ways that acknowledge the potentials for semantic plasticity of both.
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We believe that Transformative User
Experience is a promising conception for bridging the omnipresent
chasm between the levels of con-tent-agnostic operating systems on
the one hand, and packaged applications on the other (see Figure 3).
An integrated work environment
for knowledge workers requires
more than generic file-storage systems and tool palettes that launch
packaged applications. The seamless transition between searching,
collecting, using, and transforming
content is what characterizes knowledge work. Currently, an intermediate layer that supports goal-orient-ed, lightweight situational actions in
a more fluid way than today’s application paradigm is missing. This
layer requires a new design rationale
suitable to augmenting knowledge
work and would create a symbiosis
between system and users in which
the system supports the emerging
intentions of users.
Instead of launching packaged
applications and navigating along
static screens, users should be able
to navigate in an ostensive manner between content, context, and
applications, and to create content
and contexts at runtime. When the
user can actively transform content
and create task contexts and the
user interface is no longer restricted
to a priori packaged applications,
the difference between use time and
design time begins to vanish: Design
time becomes use time.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Markus Latzina is a senior UX
architect at SAP. His aspirations
are oriented toward developing a
generative design theory by
adopting a praxeological, human-
istic stance that puts designful
thinking at its heart. He holds a master’s degree in
psychology from the University of Tübingen and
completed graduate studies at Sonoma State
University with a Fulbright scholarship.
Joerg Beringer is VP of New
Product Design at SAP Labs in
Palo Alto, CA. As a design entre-
preneur and thought leader he
contributed to establish innovative
products for knowledge-intensive
work and collaboration at the
workplace. His current focus is combining aspects
of business intelligence and personal productivity
to define new product experiences that form a sym-
biosis between business and personal needs.
March + April 2012
© 2012 ACM 1072-5220/12/03 $10.00