What the failure of Google Glass teaches about UX?


In mid of January I saw the headlines making official announcement of the detah of Google Glass. I was not surprised. I knew lot of issues ave to be addressed before Gass could make it to the expectations. Many of them are issues related to UX. All of them related to an grey area of UX space, which was never given the prime consideration when designing a seminal product like Glass and many other legends.
Back in 2013, I had wrote a few posts on the usability in context to the social aspect of Google Glass that was being ignored. When I read now the article saying “privacy concerns” is one of many reasons of failure, it certainly louds the many of the design approach concerns I had raised.

Google Glass is not evil product, everyone agrees. Even all agree that it has immense potential. However, it certainly needs a facelift from product design point of view — and there by from UX point of view.

We saw, the raise and fall of Google Glass carrying it’s pattern where we can notice how with the emergence of Google Glass, the topics related to devices infringing with personal privacy became hot cakes for tech-debates. Many social scientists, human rights activists had started to see the ‘Glass’ as the evil that reminds them with George Orwell’s ‘1984’. The fear of a ‘Google Big Brother’ controlling the major shares of the information world is seen as the intruder to private aspects of ‘the public’. The “Glass Hole” incarnation of the Glass is equally seminal as the product “Glass” it self, due to bring out the topics like “user privacy”, “social context” and certainly what I believe as the “Context of the Other”.

It is not the case that Google has not spent money on user research and usability aspects before going ahead with the concept of persons using glass that may change the way we interact with systems in our daily life. Usability wise, it is definitely a super gadget that has the potential to catapult the device industry into next century. But the new features and interaction methods implemented in the device in a manner that is actually a decade old approach that is only fit for human-computer-interaction (HCI) in case of smart phones and tablets which have less tendency to hurt sentiments of those who do not directly interact with the device when the user might be performing some actions in a certain socio-cultural context. These sentiments could result in the fear of losing privacy , cultural distrust and humiliation among the second-hand users of the device who are impacted indirectly in some way by the device actions in the context.

Historically, the product design process while following the check and balances with heuristics and usability models, has never given prime importance to the user’s relationship to the ‘Other’ in his environment. And this is the missing piece that needs to be re-discovered and fit into standard usability matrix when Google might give “Glass” a face-lift to bring it back with a new incarnation that is more friendly and less intruder to user’s privacy and is compatible with SX model (Socio-cultural Usability Model) which I had proposed earlier.

Socio-Cultural User Experience (SX) – the missing piece in UX

‘Socio-Cultural User Experience to represent the aspect of Usability Design or User Experience (UX) that deals with usability aspect of products/ software in a social context. This is the same “Context of Other”

Considering the ‘Others’ in the User’s Social circle:

The existing UX model does not analyze the need beyond the current user and his ‘type’ to do a usability test — it never considers how it is impacting the other members of the society while the target user set is using the app/system.
For example, using car horn is a safety measure, but using it near a hospital or school is considered as unsocial and disturbing. There are many social check points that bar users of any system from using it in special socio logical context.

Criteria of a Good ‘SX’ Compatible System

Criteria of a sound usability design of an app on socio-cultural context:

1. Universal—has design elements that are universal.
2. Ethical – follows principles and approach that has positive ethical value
3. Non-racial – non biased and non-provocative attitude to user’s race and beliefs.
Socio-cultural User Experience (SX) and Social Interaction Design (SxD)
4. Respectful – towards user’s culture, social beliefs and ethnicity
5. Safety – has it’s social impact that is safe for the User.
6. Non-abusive – must not exploit the user and the environment he is in .
7. Common Sense – has geared towards common sense – behaves and reacts to the user in a sensible way
8. Protect Privacy – App’s feature and interaction must protect user’s privacy and other humans in the social circle.

Let’s take the case of Google Glass.

Google Glass is designed in a way that can act as more personal than a mobile handset, as it is a spectacle and can be indispensable accessory for the user once he gets addicted to it by replacing his conventional glass with it.
But the support for camera to take picture can pose a problem for the user to enter private areas, industrial areas, secure zones and offices where cameras are not allowed. In some places of earth, the cultural restrictions are in practice to ban cameras in certain places — most of the temples in India do not allow cameras inside. Now imagine, if the user has replaced his traditional spectacle for it , then he may find it difficult to manage without it in these scenarios.
So by following SX approach in usability design, the glass will require to have a “detachable set of camera” used in the glass so that the user can detach the camera and which would power it off and at the same time allow the user to keep on using the glass as a conventional spectacle.
This example may be just one of many features that Google glass might have, but it is enough to illustrate the approach in thought.

Points to Focus on while designing a SxD Compatible System

1. Provide multiple alternatives to the interaction methods to control the same functionalities in different socio-cultural context.
2. User should have total control over enable/disable of interaction methods for different scenarios.
3. The default interaction method must follow ‘SX’ approach.
4. Provide options to the user to switch between interaction methods with the system as and when needed.
5. Alternative mechanisms should be provided for physically challenged users. Rethink on the use of gestures and other interaction methods in the Article 508 context as everyday the new devices with unpredictable (not necessarily negative!) interaction methods and features.

Gesture and other Interaction Medium of SxD:

The ‘Social Interaction Design’ approach has the following major facets in the system interaction towards the user in socio-usability context:
1. Facial Gestures—The selection of Human triggered facial gestures (e.g. wink, smile etc.) to activate the system or trigger any action in the system must be judged based on the canonical meaning of those gestures in social and cultural context of the user where he is going to use it. For example, in case of Google Glass , the feature of “winking” (the gesture developed by Google Glass developer Mike DiGiovanni http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57582500-93/google-glass-code-lets-you-snap-a-photo-with-a-wink/ ) at someone to take a photo can pose a problem if the user is in India or Middle East countries. Even in western world winking at a lady or group of ladies (even though it is unintentional for any kind of abasement) can be taken as a negative action (e.g. weakness in character) and evoke anger and misunderstanding. So even if the winking to take a feature is a ‘cool feature’, in social context SxD will suggest the usability/interaction engineer to rethink on it to implement some options to ‘keep it disabled by default and allow the user the total freedom to use his judgment to enable and use the feature in any given socio-cultural context. Fig5: The ‘wink’ gesture developed by Google Glass developer Mike DiGiovann allows user to take a snap of the surrounding with just a wink of an eye.

2. Sound Gestures — The selection of sound gestures – the use of voice or sound pattern to control the system should be examined for different user environments. For example blowing a whistle to activate a play functionality on a portable music player, or to open an SMS on the cell phone can be an interesting feature, but on the other hand if it becomes useless in a busy street or in a meeting room where a discussion is going on.
3. Touch based Gestures – Touch, swipe and pinch are popular now a days as most of the tablets and smartphones offer this as a user friendly interaction method for the user. More devices are coming up which do not have any physical button rather a few multi-touch gestures are enough to fully control them. However ‘SxD’ stresses that the devices must be designed and developed with the interaction method that can allow alternative to the available touch triggered interaction mechanism. For example , while developing a digital medical instrument with touch sensitive display, the interaction methods should be carefully planned so that the surgeon can use the system without touching to avoid infections through contact with it while conducting any mission critical surgery.
4. Hand/Finger based 3D gestures – ‘SxD’ approach encourages to conduct a social analysis of the hand/finger based gestures that are planned to be used in a system – the gestures should selected / innovated by carefully studying the cultural context avoiding common gestures used in daily life that are considered abusive to others. In addition to this practical usage resulting out of user’s environment and work culture must be given consideration. For example the middle finger gesture commonly used by youths to represent the crack humiliating pun on the other should not be used for any app that is expected to be popular among the users from the similar demography. But note that only considering the demography is not enough to decide the gestures.
5. Mouse /Keyboard Control – Similar to the gesture , voice and the related interaction method with system, mouse, keyboard, joystick and other typical input device based methods should be considered with in the context in which they are going to be used. As this group of interaction method are very old, many standard guidelines are already in there in practice. They However we need to rethink on them and make sure they are upto date with the ever changing human –computer-interaction domain.

Our world needs products that are not only usable but also safe to use socially . It is high time, we need to consider the “Other” in our social context to improve the products and there by our future.

Patent : Touchscreen Display and Navigation (US 20130198677 A1)

Patent : Touchscreen Display and Navigation (US 20130198677 A1)

A document to be displayed on a touchscreen display device is arranged to have a hierarchical structure of categories, each category including at least one sub-document. A sub-document of a first category is displayed on a touchscreen display device. A first gesture is received through the touchscreen display device. In response to the first gesture, a navigation is made to a beginning sub-document of a second category.
Publication number US20130198677 A1
Publication type Application
Application number US 13/690,147
Publication date 1 Aug 2013
Filing date 30 Nov 2012
Priority date 1 Feb 2012
Inventors Samir Kumar Dash
Original Assignee Cisco Technology, Inc.
Export Citation BiBTeXEndNoteRefMan
Classifications (3), Legal Events (1)
External Links: USPTOUSPTO AssignmentEspacenet

DOWNLOAD the patent: US20130198677

Check out my article “WebKit touch events: background and terms for Edge users” at Adobe Developer Connection

Check out my article “WebKit touch events: background and terms for Edge users” at Adobe Developer Connection at
It’s also featured at
This article explores the concepts of touch events and gestures in reference to normal HTML and JavaScript rendered in the iPhone, iPad, or Android browsers.

MobileWish Pocket Travel Assistant has been selected at World Summit Award Mobile Content 2010 as one of the few Outstanding Regional Achievement Awards

Here is another good news for MobileWish Pocket Travel Assistant!!!

MobileWish Pocket Travel Assistant has been selected at World Summit Award Mobile Content 2010 as one of the few Outstanding Regional Achievement Awards in the category of  m-Tourism & Culturehttp://www.wsa-mobile.org/sites/default/files/Press_Release_WSA-mobile_Winners2010_short_final_101109.pdf ]from Asia.

See the list at :



m-Tourism & Culture

Pocket Travel Assistant
Language: English
Producer: Mr. Dash Samir Kumar

The Pocket Travel Assistant is a one-stop solution for all traveller information needs. PTA provides information on any major city/town in the world. The application combines data from Google Maps, Yahoo, Flickr, Wikipedia, BBC, Reuters, Twitter, YouTube and much more.

Note that the Outstanding Regional Achievement Awards are given to those producers/developers participating in the 2010contest whose product was evaluated by the Grand Jury to be among the best in a category where thereis no winner from that global region. WSA recognizes 6 global regions of the e- and m-content industry:Europe, North America and Oceania, Latin America, Asia, Arab Countries and Africa

About the WSA-mobile:

Organised by the International Center for New Media (ICNM) in Salzburg, the WorldSummit Award Mobile is a global initiative within the framework of, and in cooperationwith, the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), incollaboration with UNESCO, UNIDO and the United National Global Alliance for ICT andDevelopment (UN GAID).

The WSA-mobile is the only ICT event worldwide, which reaches the mobile community inover 160 countries and is able to promote the best mobile content and innovativeapplications out of this huge selection.Abu Dhabi, as the city of the award’s key partner ADSIC (Abu Dhabi Systems &Information Centre), will host all WSA-mobile Awards until at least 2015.

For further information, go to http://www.wsa-mobile.org or contact wsa@icnm.net .For ADSIC, Abu Dhabi, write to Ms. Batoul Husseini at batoul.husseini@adsic.abudhabi.ae

December 6-8, 2010
Celebrating the richness and diversity in m-Content

This year, Abu Dhabi and ADSIC (Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Centre) will be generously hosting the first edition of the WSA-mobile Winners’ Celebrations.  The unique networking event showcasing the most outstanding mobile content from all over the world and organized in close cooperation and back to back with the Global Forum of the United Nations’ DESA GAID  will take place from December 6-8, 2010 bringing together a wide range if experts from the industry, governments and the UN, along with the creative community.

The Winners’ Gala

The Gala Celebration is the highlight of the entire WSA-mobile process 2010 and a unique ceremony to honor excellence m-Content and innovative application creation. The winning teams in 8 categories from all over the world will be present and handed out the awards by highest level international dignities. The Winners’ teams will be invited to personally receive their certificate and trophy from dignitaries of government, the private sector and the United Nations. The Gala is orchestrated as a two hour show, with music and multimedia elements. Global webcasts and TV broadcasting are planned to cover the event. By bringing together government, business and civil society, the WSA mobile supports the creation of synergies between suppliers and users of communications applications and assists in connecting practical applications and innovative ideas.

WSA-mobile Winners workshops
Sharing the expertise:  m- Content & innovative applications

For two days, the World Summit Award mobile (WSA-mobile) Winners teams selected from around the world, will take stage to present their awarded projects, meet each other in a panel discussion, share their visions on ICT, creativity and innovation, speak about their experience and ask and answer questions. Each session will be thematically dedicated to one of the WSA mobile categories and moderated by a member of the Grand Jury.
The workshops will be dedicated to Innovation and creative use of ICTs, which lack sustainable value if not driven by quality content. Using and working with technologies creatively can improve the lives of many – this shall be clearly demonstrated and showcased during the three days in Abu Dhabi on concrete examples of excellence from all parts of the world. Creativity is not bound to being rich in terms of material goods, infrastructure and access to networks: it is a “natural resource” of the human mind everywhere in the world. Bridging the digital divide is therefore a matter of content.
The WSA-mobile winners workshops will be a unique opportunity and an invitation not only see the best examples of taking the main challenges of the new Information Society, but also to personally meet those behind the best in the content industry, from m-Learning to m-Health and from m-Entertainment to m-Inclusion.

More details about WSA Mobile Content 2010 can be found out here :


Click the link below  to register World Conference on m-Content, Dec. 6-8, Abu Dhabi


MobileWish Pocket Travel Assistant wins at mBillionth South Asia 2010 held on 23rd July 2010.

MobileWish Pocket Travel Assistant (PTA) finally made it to the winners list at mBillionth South Asia 2010 held on 23rd July 2010 under the category in m-Travel & Tourism. PTA was named among the 4 winners in the m-Travel & Tourism category in the award gala held on 23rd July 2010 at New Delhi. The other 3 winners in the category were : SMS 139 Railway Enquiry ,  AWATAR Mobile Booking, Suruk .
samir_mbillionth by you.

Another Good news is that another m-news application MobileWish NewsBox was appreciated as a shortlisted finalist in the awrd in the category of m-news & Journalism where the mobile application from Thompson Reuters was leading the winner’s list.

The event continued from morning 8.30 am till night 10 pm with various mindblowing panel discussions, idea sharing sessions related to mobile and possible ICT development and its imapct.It was a nice oppertunity to be face to face with mobile industry leaders and developers across South Asia.

About m-Billionth Award:

m-Billionth Award is a dedicated platform to explore the latent potential of mobile sector across South Asia. These Media phones/mobile, handy gadgets can now do anything from allow physicians to review patient records on-the-go, to alert drivers in any city of nearby parking spaces while looking for spot, in addition to the texting, surfing and calling on many of today’s phones.
The m-Billionth Award South Asia 2010 is first of its kind in the region recognising and felicitating mobile innovations, applications and content services delivery. It is to honour excellence in mobile communications across South Asia spread over 9 core categories. The m-Billionth Award is designed as an annual South
Asia’s leading mobile content’s award platform towards larger regional Mobile Congress in media and policy advocacy.
Recognise mobile innovations and creativity.
Provide a platform for the innovations into benchmarking in the mobile industry.
Provide a wider forum for strategic networking, alliances and partnership building.
Provide a South Asia Congress to exchange ideas, practices and policy strengths & mobile advocacy.
Facilitate in building a South Asia network towards campaign and advocacy in mobile for mass empowerment and inclusive growth.
mBillionth Award Partners
The event was sponsered by Department of Information & Technology , Govt. of India, Digital Empowerment Foundation, Verisign, Intel, The World Summit Award Mobile (WSA Mobile), One 97 Mobile, The national Internet Exchange of India (NiXI), MobileMonday  and many more.

Here are some pics from the event:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I will be uploading some videos and more pics along with good details shortly.

Ready for MBillionth Mobile Congress , Expo & Award Gala

Today I booked my flight tickets to Delhi for 23rd July so that I can participate in MBillionth Mobile Congress , Expo & Award Gala event. For the event I preapred my slides and printed the handouts . Hopefully the event should be an exciting one. as this event promises to be an exciting lineup of speakers from the mobile industries, as well as other industries and sectors will be touched by the mobile market, including entertainment and education. Conference will be held in multiple parallel thematic sessions in all 10 categories with panel of speakers, presenters and participants will be from mobile world of application, service delivery and content.

If you are happen to be in New Delhi on 23rd July, then you can register for the event at :http://mbillionth.in/reg/

mBillionth Award Partners

Here is some updates on the event:

mBillionth Award 2010 is a full day event scheduled from 9 AM till dinner in the evening (8 PM onwards) at Hotel InterContinental Eros at Nehru Place, New Delhi, INDIA. This event covers:

* mBillionth Exhibition: Showcasing South Asia’s Best Mobile Innovations
* Mobile Congress: Conference & Discussion on Major Issues around Mobile & Parallel Sessions
* mBillionth Award Gala: Felicitating & Celebrating the Winning Nominations
* mBillionth Mobile Application & Developer Community: One-2-One Interactions

Contact Person: – Maria Rizvi / Amarendra Srivastava, m-Billionth South Asia Secretariat
House No# 44, 3rd Floor, Kalu Sarai, Near Naraina IIT Academy, New Delhi-110016

+91-11-26532786/87, +91-11-46080646, mbillionth@defindia.net

Online registration at http://mbillionth.in/reg

Cisco Cius: Collaborate with Colleagues and Stay Close to Your Business

At Cisco Live 2010, Cisco unveiled Cisco Cius, a first-of-its-kind mobile collaboration business tablet that delivers virtual desktop integration with anywhere, anytime access to the full range of Cisco collaboration and communication applications, including HD video.

The innovative Cisco Cius is an ultra-portable, mobile collaboration business tablet that offers access to essential business applications and technologies.

Cisco's Cius - an Android tablet for corporate users

Cisco’s Cius – an Android tablet for corporate users


Applications Capabilities:

  • 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, 3G/4G data and Bluetooth 3.0 help employees stay connected on and off-campus
  • HD video (720p) with Cisco TelePresence solution interoperability for lifelike video communication with the simplicity of a phone call
  • Virtual desktop client enables highly secure access to cloud-based business applications
  • Android operating system, with access Android marketplace applications
  • Collaboration applications including Cisco Quad, Cisco Show and Share, WebEx, Presence, and IM

Tablet Highlights:

  • 7” diagonal, high-resolution color screen with contact-based touch targets delivers an elegant, intuitive experience
  • HD Soundstation supports Bluetooth and USB peripherals, 10/100/1000 wired connectivity and a handset option
  • Detachable and serviceable 8-hour battery for a full day of work
  • Highly secure remote connections with Cisco AnyConnect Security VPN Client
  • HD audio with wideband support (tablet, HD Soundstation)

More Info here: http://www.cisco.com/web/go/cius/index.html 

Note: you can check a video demo at the site.

Article on Pocket Travel assistant on Mint News Paper

An article on my travel application MobileWish Pocket Travel Assistant has appeared in today’s Mint News Paper (by The Hindustan Times & The Wall Street Journal) titled “Travelling made easier with a pocketdigital guide“.

This section highlights some of the best nominations for this year’s MBillionth Awards South Asia Mobile Congress organised by Digital Empowerment Foundation, , WSA MobileContent, Department of Information Technology , Govt of India with partners like Nokia Siemens Network, MobileMonday etc.

You can check the online version of the article at :


The scanned version of the story from the hard copy archive can be found at :


You can Download the story from by clicking this link     (PDF)

Following are some selected sections from the article:

… Pocket Travel Assistant, or PTA, is a free-of-cost mobile phone application that promises to bring the world to the fingertips of travellers.

It compiles a range of information about places of tourist interest globally, including landmarks, history, culture, weather, street addresses and phone numbers.

This is beefed up with local news, maps and content such as mobile phone books to serve as a comprehensive digital travel guide.

“The initial motivation was to create a proof of concept mobile mash-up application of non-mobile data sources, and to make it available on mobile,” said Samir Kumar Dash, the entrepreneur who has created PTA. “The idea was to provide the traveller with a one-stop solution for all his travel needs.”

Using PTA, travellers can also directly access images or video clips of a particular destination available on websites such as Wikipedia, Flickr and YouTube.

The application uses the location of the phone to provide users with local emergency numbers, such as police helpline or the nearest clinic or hospital.

In places where language is a barrier, PTA links to the Google language translator page to help out with simple phrases in the local language.

It has its limits. PTA does not provide information about the remote villages of India unless they have a historical or geographical significance.

But with the use of the Ineternet rising in India, Dash is hopeful. “As the data PTA uses is based on Internet data, in time more and more information about the remotest places will be available,” he said.

The application is available for Flash Llite 3x-enabledmobile phones only. Users need a GPRS/Wifi connection that allows data transfer to use it.

“(Being) easy to download and free of cost with no hidden charges involved makes the product even more usable by a traveller, along with its additional features,” said Dash…

BhoolBhulaya – Find Your Way Out in a 3D Maze (Flash Lite Game for Nokia Handsets)

BhoolBhulaya is my latest game for mobiles developed with Adobe Flash Lite (using Flash Lite 3.1 ).  The game is targets a wider screen such as that of N97/N97 Mini i.e. 640 x 360 screen resolution on landscape mode. Currently I have not implemented any touch interaction in this…may be I will do it in next release.

The of game can also be played on any Nokia mobile device having at least

                                  1. 240 x 320 px screen resolution or higher
                                  2. Adobe Flash Lite 3.1 (Distributable player) or higher 
                                  3. In such case it is preferable to play the game in landscape mode.

The theme of the game is about a real life maze where each cell of the maze is a room with 4 doors . The player of the game is the protagonist who is stuck inside one of the rooms (unknown cell) and he has to find his way out.

Even though the maze is a common theme in games, this game is unique as it does not gives you a view of the whole maze, rather it presents a real life view as if you are stuck in a room. The 3D like effect gives the user a simulated reality.

The user moves in the room using the LEFT, RIGHT, UP, DOWN keys. When the user reaches the door which blinks as Red color, the user can hit the SELECT key to open that door.

The user is provided with a compass and a radar that tells how closer or farther you are getting to the final room /door where you can get out of the maze. There is no way you can see the structure of the maze, or at which portion you are in. Each time you start playing the rooms are arranged in a random order and you are placed in a random cell, so each time it has a new challenge for the player.

The radar shows GREEN circle when user nears the end point, turns RED when the user goes farther from it and turns ORANGE-YELLOW when he is in someway between.

View the slideshare presentation at

BhoolBhulaya: Find Your Way Out in a 3D Maze (Flasah Lite 3.1 Game for Nokia Devices) 

 BhoolBhulaya: Find Your Way Out…







View the video on YouTube at :


NewsBox Demo Video (with sound)

Here is another demo video with sound.

MobileWish NewsBox  Demo (with Sound)

MobileWish NewsBox Demo (with Sound)

MobileWish NewsBox is one m-News application developed in FlashLite 3.1 with a 3D Navigation for touch enabled handsets like Nokia N97 that reads out the various news feeds, Twitter updates, NASDAQ stock updates and blog posts . The idea behind MobileWish NewsBox was to develop a Talking news app with a very user-friendly and easy-to-use touch enabled 3D navigation system which will be easy to personalize. This is a video demo with sound . http://mobilewish.com/newsbox/