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Building Experiences that Transcend Platforms

by Josh Tyson
3 min read
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Results of the Cross-Platform Experience category of the Design for Experience awards show the road to truly ubiquitous computing.

It shouldn’t be much longer now. Any day we’ll be able to flit from tablet to television to smartphone to the touchscreen in our electric cars, with our content and data leaping neatly along with us.

While inconversant operating systems and other technical hurdles make it difficult for digital experiences to move seamlessly from screen to screen, there are are products and services that have managed to brings disparate systems into concert for users.

Take, for example, Vantage, winner of the Cross-Platform Experience category in the Design for Experience awards. Their Equinox series of home automation systems give users control over numerous elements of their in-home environments using a proprietary wall-mounted touchscreen or their own mobile devices.

A dashboard layer allows users to adjust lighting levels, raise and lower their thermostat, control their stereo, and make selections on their television. “Discovery Dots” in the corner of each widget activate a fullscreen view that lets users control the elements of each connected element (scheduling the temperature changes on their thermostat, for instance).

“I’m impressed they’re able to get all these devices to talk to each other,” says DfE judge Jonathan Anderson. “Getting a bunch of movie sources to talk to a bunch of movie display devices and to synchronize display behaviors with controller states, that’s not easy.”

The system also allows for different profiles with different widget configurations and settings. Users can also make adjustments remotely, while keeping an eye on their video surveillance feeds.

“No other system empowers users to adapt their interfaces to their changing world,” adds Vantage Software Product Manager, Brian Peterson. “[The user experience] is 100% consistent across multiple platforms, such as the Equinox in-walls, Apple and Android tablets, and smartphones.”

While the Equinox is marketed squarely as a luxury product—a Wall Street Journal article from a few years ago noted, “Having a souped-up home with [a] Vantage system is now shorthand for high-end”—these are the kind of automations that will become more commonplace as technology becomes more pervasive and the Internet of Things (or whatever it will come to be known as) finally blossoms. Following Vantage’s lead, designers working on smaller scale projects might develop new insights, getting us closer to a time when a term like “cross-platform experience” will feel as outdated as “desktop computer.”


The finalists in the Cross-Platform Experience category also showed impressive work. Cerner has developed a solution for physicians that puts all of the disparate fragments of patient information, along with methods for communicating sensitive information, in the palm of their hand. As part of their Market Advantage software system, Crimson has designed ways for physicians to access critical information across different platforms.

The 2014 DfE awards are now accepting applications. If you’ve been a part of creating an experience that makes a difference, apply today. The final deadline for applications is February 28, but if you apply on or before February 14th, you can still take advantage of an early application discount.

If you know of any products or services that deserve DfE recognition, make a recommendation now using the form in the right-hand sidebar (or at the bottom of the page if you’re on a mobile device). For a limited time, anyone who makes a valid recommendation will get a free book download form our sponsor, Rosenfeld Media.

post authorJosh Tyson

Josh Tyson, Josh Tyson is the co-author of the first bestselling book about conversational AI, Age of Invisible Machines. He is also the Director of Creative Content at OneReach.ai and co-host of both the Invisible Machines and N9K podcasts. His writing has appeared in numerous publications over the years, including Chicago Reader, Fast Company, FLAUNT, The New York Times, Observer, SLAP, Stop Smiling, Thrasher, and Westword. 


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