Not Quite Contextual Screens... Everywhere

In the last week or so, with SDL Innovate 2014 approaching, I took pictures of screens that had some sense of "context," but it seemed most presented typical magazine- or broadcast-like experiences.

Could a faucet display in Las Vegas show something related to the context of going to the bathroom? Does the faucet know your gender?

Could a taxi screen know location or time  of day? Airplanes and mobile phones show location and time to destination, but this seems like a TV broadcast.

Not that I'd want devices to recognize me, per se, but this vending machine could know it's outside a certain store. Could it offer a mobile coupon or another way to interact with it? If I buy something, could the point of sale know enough to give me rewards points?

The Starbucks App recognized my location and reminded me about my gift card. This is probably old news to you but I remember when this type of capability was prefixed with, "in the future you might get geo-aware coupons."

I've written about Creepy CXM and personally don't want my devices tracking everything and assuming they know me. But a screen that helps me out  in the right context could make for a good experience. Saving time, offering helpful information, and reminding me about things I'm genuinely interested in can be positive contextual experiences.

Maybe things like:

  • "By the way, the next show starts in 10 minutes and it's not far from this bathroom."
  • "You're 15 minutes from the airport."
  • "Hello, it's cold today. Sodas are on sale!"
Translating this to the Web,, a contextual experience is what a user is doing or trying to achieve as he or she interacts with your company on whatever devices and scenarios. This could include:

  • Navigation and interaction optimized to devices (fingers are less precise than mice, but you can't "pinch" with a mouse)
  • An action a customer may take across devices (e.g. check into a flight, purchase a ticket, research a product)
  • Time or event-based scenarios where "matched" events are presented to a customer related to what they're doing on the site
If you're leaving the SDL Innovate conference, see what contextual experiences help you along the way.
  • When you check-in from email, did you get the right screen? Was your name or other details passed to the website?
  • Did you get alerts related to your flight? Did you get real-time traffic?
  • Do your apps show you the local weather or time? What about websites?
  • Was the content in your preferred language?
  • Are there power plugs where you expect them?

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