Peter Skillman tells me that his journey in design started with making furniture, creating products and learning how to shape stainless steel.
You might think this is a million miles away from his work on user experience design at Nokia but it makes perfect sense when Peter explains how he sees the similarities between the physical and digital worlds.
“The reason why I got into the user experience work is that it became a virtual world where toolbars are like furniture, wallpaper on a phone is like interior design and applications are like appliances in your house,“ says Peter.
“For the mechanics of the user interface, it’s really about having a clear vision around how you start applications, how you switch applications and how you handle notifications.”
The new platform on the Nokia Asha 501 is the latest virtual world that has benefited from Peter’s design approach with the deep authorship of a great global team.
Get in the Fastlane
Perhaps we don’t always realise it but technology, and how we interact with it, has fundamentally changed our lives.
Peter and his team focus on delivering great products with an extreme focus on the thoughtful details around the things that we do every day with our phones.
Key to this on the new Asha platform is an exciting new feature called Fastlane. This is how Peter describes it:
“With Fastlane you can see your present, you can scroll down to see your past and you can pull down to see the future. It’s sort of a historical timeframe of past, present and future all in the one place.
“It tracks all of your behaviours and helps to gather your connected life, so you can go back at any point and access information without necessarily being stuck in application silos.”
Think of Fastlane as a second homescreen, or a shortcut that brings together all your recent apps, messages and content. It’s all the things that you did most recently, and all the things you do most often.
World in motion
Central to Fastlane, and indeed this new Asha platform, are the swipe gestures and motions.
“We built the user interface layer completely from scratch but it’s heavily influenced by the work we did on the Nokia N9,” says Peter.
“We learnt a lot from those patterns and we’re linking it with large easy gestures, swipe where you can go from one application with one large motion rather than fumbling for small buttons on the edge of the screen.”
The whole experience has been designed so that it’s fast and fluid.
Not only can you interact quickly, but you can also get information at a glance.
You remain engaged in the physical world around you, rather than with your head face down looking for a particular icon or button.
“It is an honour to represent the work of our teams at this launch,” Peter says.
“What we are building is architecture for the virtual world to help you manage your life and there’s a really big tie between the visual design, the interaction design, the motion design and the industrial design. All these things come together to deliver one connected experience.”