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  • Writer's pictureAmber Case

Creating Calm Tech Experiences

Updated: May 12

Humans and technology have worked alongside each other for thousands of years. It is only recently that technology has been forcing itself into the center of our lives, instead of as a supporting character.


From smartphones to smart homes, we are constantly surrounded by devices and gadgets that aim to make our lives easier and more efficient. However, as technology continues to advance, there is a growing need for it to seamlessly integrate into our lives without overwhelming us. This is where the concept of Calm Technology comes into play. The Calm Tech Institute envisions a future where technology seamlessly integrates into people's lives while reducing cognitive load and respecting consumers' time and attention.


mui Lab's home automation system is covered with a very thin piece of wood, allowing for a seamless touch interface that disappears when not in use.

Since the book Calm Technology was published, many large companies have spent time adopting the Principles of Calm Technology, but they've also asked if they can do more. The Calm Tech Institute was created to offer company leaders more rigorous standards and guidance on how to make products that work with attention, instead of against it. workshops and standards. By focusing on principles of calm technology, we ensure that these products enhance rather than detract from our daily lives. If companies aren't yet ready for certification, or need more guidance, The Calm Tech Institute also provide partnership and sponsorship opportunities for longer term support in complex categories. Additionally, the Institute offers sponsorship opportunities for the development of industry standards, ensuring that the technology we interact with meets the highest quality and ethical standards.

Take a look at some our guiding principles:


Principles of Calm Technology


Technology should require the smallest possible amount of attention

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

  2. Create ambient awareness through different senses.

  3. Communicate information without taking the user out of their environment or task.

Technology should inform and create calm

  1. A person's primary task should not be computing, but being human.

  2. Give people what they need to solve their problem, and nothing more.


Technology should make use of the periphery

  1. A calm technology will move easily from the periphery of our attention, to the center, and back.

  2. The periphery is informing without overburdening.

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

  1. Design for people first.

  2. Machines shouldn't act like humans.

  3. Humans shouldn't act like machines.

  4. Amplify the best part of each.

Technology can communicate, but doesn’t need to speak

  1. Does your product need to rely on voice, or can it use a different communication method?

  2. Consider how your technology communicates status.

Technology should work even when it fails

  1. Think about what happens if your technology fails.

  2. Does it default to a usable state or does it break down completely?

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

  1. What is the minimum amount of technology needed to solve the problem?

  2. Slim the feature set down so that the product does what it needs to do and no more.

Technology should respect social norms

  1. Technology takes time to introduce to humanity.

  2. What social norms exist that your technology might violate or cause stress on?

  3. Slowly introduce features so that people have time to get accustomed to the product.

By embracing calm technology, we can create a future where technology enhances our lives without overwhelming us. Let's embrace this vision and work towards a future where technology works with our attention, instead of against it.




 

Amber Case is the founder of the Calm Tech Institute, and the author of four books, including Calm Technology and A Kids Book About Technology.

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