Nowadays, people try to reduce the working space for the business because of the high cost. Also, as the development of the tablets such as iPad pro and surface pro, people’s working become more and more mobile. It helps a lot in saving time and increasing the time-management flexibility. Based on these existing global trends, we could see more leisure time people will have and more possibilities in future leisure services.
Let’s move our eye on the existing leisure service now. I think no one hates watching TV. The first example I’d like to talk about is Midnight Diner. It’s a Japanese TV series. It tells a story about a little restaurant called Midnight Diner. The owner opens the restaurant from midnight to the early morning. The customers can order what they want to eat, then the owner would cook for them, like a kind of customization. The restaurant is really small and cosy, people have to sit closely. Though they don’t know each other, they share the life experience, working pressure and family problems there. The strangers sit together, eating the warm food, and encourage each other. This kind of weak ties power, as I mentioned in the night owl blog, plays an important role in Midnight Diner’s service. Sometimes people could share their secrets to a stranger rather than their friends or families. That’s the weak ties power we could think about. Life is not always smooth, this restaurant offers a place to meet people’s emotional needs. There are countless entertainment services in the world now, but they even make people feel lonely inside. The emotional needs worth to be aroused attention. From this case, we could see the opportunities like customization, emotional needs focused, and weak ties power.
The second case is a very popular game, PokemonGo. Gaming is one of the most popular things people love to do in their leisure time. It combines the real world and virtual world with a gaming app. Based on the VR technology, it brings the virtual characters into the real scenario to create a new gaming experience for all the players. As the fast development of VR, more VR derivatives would be used in all kinds of scenarios. So, the combination between virtual and real world would be one weak signal.
Surfing the internet would be another choice for the leisure time. The last example is the age-responsive design, like the age-responsive website. For instance, the version of the UI would be different for children and elderly people. It might be a lot of pictures, videos, even animations on the website instead of words when a child visit the website. Likewise, when an elderly visit the website, the font would change into a bigger size, and fewer words on each page. No size fits all, different user group don’t have to share the same online experience. People need customization, and personalised service, it does work very well in building a better experience in their daily life.
Therefore, we could see some weak signals from these cases:
- Customization and Personalization
- Emotional needs focused
- Weak ties power
- Physical and virtual connected
Provocation: what if people could do shopping while they are dreaming and get the parcel in the next day morning?
Prototype: The Full Dive pillow. While people lying on the bed, this pillow would help them fall asleep. Then their mind could be brought to the virtual world which is the same as the real one but works more effective because it knows the user’s preference. For example, when people would like to try the clothes, they could see what they look like immediately without a traditional or AR fitting room, even a mirror. People could just order it ‘online’, get their parcel in the next day morning, and pay for it. But there are some ethical problems, which we could realise during the following design experiments, need to be considered about this product.
I invited three volunteers to let them lie on the bed and close their eyes. I put some soft music as well to help them calm down and be ready to go into the virtual world. I described the scenario, like hypnotherapy. Then I tried to describe less and persuade them to talk more about what they saw and what they think. A girl like the shopping idea because she thinks it is really convenient, and makes up the disadvantages of the existing online shopping experience. Furthermore, it makes the sleeping funnier and reduces the worries before sleeping (As I mentioned in the last relevant blog). But they also concerned about the health problems, if people could get real rest when they use this kind of service at night.
About the trends, firstly, the virtual and real world connected is inevitable. It developed in an incredible speed. People like the blurred boundary between this two world. Especially when the virtual one could effect the real one, it gives them a new experience and more fun in the real wolrd. Secondary, the service design would be more customised and personalised based on the different needs of the different user group, even each user. The target might be a user instead of a user group. No one has to share the same service experience with others. However, while people enjoying the fun and convenient brought from the high-tech, they still pay much attention to health and sustainability in a long term. So, thirdly, the leisure service in the future would concern more about the health problems. It could help people cure some physical diseases, such as insomnia. Similarly, in order to cope with people’s deep needs, the leisure service would focus more on people’s mental health and emotional changing. Moreover, there is a new possibility of future online shopping. No staff and real place, the business budget would be less, and the resource wasting would be reduced as well. Last but not least, an ethical problem- as the exchange of customised service, much more personal details would be brought to the public, would be a hidden trouble. Who is responsible for supervising the whole virtual world might be a tricky problem.