Great article by Cennydd Bowles describing the seven flavours of context:
- What devices will this product be used on?
- How about in a year’s time? Three? Five?
- What can those devices do? What can’t they do?
- What sort of interactions do these devices suit?
- Are there unique device capabilities we can use to our advantage?
- How does our site work on devices that don’t have those capabilities?
- Are there device capabilities that might make life more difficult? How can we mitigate their impacts?
- Will the site be used indoors or outdoors?
- Should weather conditions affect my design?
- What environmental information sources are relevant to the interaction?
- Will a user understand why, and how, my system is adapting to the environment?
- How can I make my product feel natural within its environment?
- Do users have simple tasks to fulfil, or a more complex network of activities?
- Are these activities or tasks digital, or do they support real-world activities?
- Does the current activity have a physical component? How can we support that?
- Are the interactions likely to be lean-forward, lean-back, or both?
- Can we use any stated preferences to tailor the system to an individual user?
- Is it appropriate to let users explicitly state preferences for this interaction?
- What sort of emotional connection will users have with our site, and the devices they access it from?
- What mental attitudes do users bring to the interaction?
- Do users have location-specific needs?
- Will access to the user’s location improve the service my app can offer?
- How can I best communicate why a user should grant location access?
- Can I present location information in a more human-friendly format than long/lat?
- How can I be sure my location assumptions are accurate?
- Will the app be used in solo, private contexts, or in public?
- Are there ways to reduce any risk of embarrassment or public discomfort for the user?
- Who else is involved in this activity other than the end user?
- Is there benefit in asking the user to authorise my app with their social networks?
- Does my app protect the user’s sensitive information with sufficient care?
Context design principles
- Context is multi-faceted.
- Don’t penalise people for their contexts.
- Assume gently.
- Allow adaptability.
- Revisit your decisions.