Calm Technology to Create a Website

In the State of UX in 2019, the 4th point id about “Designing for less”.
It highlights the principles of the Calm Technology by Mark Weiser’s paper “Designing Calm Technology” from 1995.

To illustrate the concept of calm tech, I will use the Arran Street East website.

Principles of Calm Technology

1. Technology should require the smallest possible amount of attention

Capture d’écran 2018-12-11 à 15.19.22.png
On the Arran Street East homepage, there are just pictures of the products on a white background.

It is very simple and pared down.

The attention of the users can be focused on the animation that happens when they curse on a picture.
Indeed, a very simple description of the product and its price fade-in in front of the  image which is almost transparent.

2. Technology should inform and create calm

Capture d_écran 2018-12-11 à 18.00.44
The payment process is also very simple. It is easy to order on the website in just a few steps.

Capture d’écran 2018-12-11 à 18.23.00.pngCapture d’écran 2018-12-11 à 18.23.16.pngAbout the human aspect, Arran Street East makes a lot of different ways to contact them available to users.
Capture d’écran 2018-12-11 à 18.01.11.png

Users can send emails, call them and also meet them in the shop.
It is very convivial and it gives a real feeling of security.
We know the address where products are made so it encourages us to trust in their brand.

3. Technology should make use of the periphery

Capture d’écran 2018-12-11 à 18.46.29.pngTo sign up to their newsletter, Arran Street East uses a small animated button on the bottom of the page. Capture d’écran 2018-12-11 à 18.45.18.pngIt seems less “aggressive” to the user than messages that pop in the middle of the screen. Users have the choice so they could be more inclined to sign up to the newsletter.

Because of its colour, shape and animation, it brings users’ attention to the periphery of the website. But it stays a small and discreet element that lets the users easily bring their attention back to the center of the page.

It is a “Calm Communication” that doesn’t overwhelm people with popups.

4. Technology should amplify the best of technology and the best of humanity

The Arran Street East website represents an easy way to access to the brand products and services.

It is possible to order their products and book for a workshop session.

The website is also a medium to explain how Arran Street East works. Capture d’écran 2018-12-11 à 19.08.41.png
It is a handmade company so they highlight the human aspect in their brand description.

Technology is used to put the emphasis on humans and humans use technology to facilitate some tasks.

5. Technology can communicate, but doesn’t need to speak

Arran Street East uses a lot of different elements to communicate about their brand:

  • Image
  • Text
  • Video
  • Speak

They actually use speak unlike the principle of calm tech that says: “Does your product need to rely on voice, or can it use a different communication method?”.
Indeed, they deliberately use this way to communicate to bring the hand-crafted work back in the spotlight.

It needs humans to create products that are sold online, so Arran Street East wants to highlight the fact that there are humans behind this project.

Capture d’écran 2018-12-11 à 20.16.15.png

6. Technology should work even when it fails

If the website breaks down, Arran Street East is still very easy to contact. They make their products in the shop directly so it is easy to access to the products by another way than internet. Capture d’écran 2018-12-11 à 20.21.12.pngAbout the website itself, it would break down completely if there is a problem.

However, the most important information to contact Arran Street East are still available on Google:
Capture d’écran 2018-12-12 à 00.09.10.png

7. The right amount of technology is the minimum needed to solve the problem

Capture d’écran 2018-12-12 à 14.56.23.pngCapture d’écran 2018-12-12 à 14.54.23.pngCapture d’écran 2018-12-12 à 14.56.02.pngCapture d’écran 2018-12-12 à 14.55.49.pngCapture d’écran 2018-12-12 à 14.54.53.pngCapture d’écran 2018-12-12 à 14.55.49.pngCapture d’écran 2018-12-12 à 14.55.31.png

8. Technology should respect social norms

The Arran Street East website uses a simple and usual interface. Users are used to this kind of online store so they normally understand easily how to use them.

The brand also added elements to make the experience even more easier.
For example, on the homepage, there is a first hamburger menu available in the top right corner.

Capture d’écran 2018-12-12 à 15.10.17.pngCapture d_écran 2018-12-12 à 15.10.06But when the users scroll down, another menu appears. Capture d’écran 2018-12-12 à 15.10.29.png

It is very helpful for people who don’t know how to use a hamburger menu.
But it is also convenient when users are at the bottom of the page because they don’t have to return at the top to have access to the menu.Capture d’écran 2018-12-12 à 15.17.08.png

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