As the head product designer, I spent 9 months leading a team of 5 researchers, technologists, and designers with two executives from InterDigital and one analyst from Omidia to create the 6G Quality of Experience (QoE) framework.
I helped InterDigital in obtaining a competitive edge by leading the shift towards a user-focused approach and introducing a Quality of Experience (QoE) framework into the creation and evaluation of 6G technology, instead of solely relying on traditional Quality of Service (QoS) metrics such as range and speed.
Secondary research, matchmaking matrices, contextual inquiries, storyboarding, experience prototypes, fictional narratives, semi-structured interviews, design workshops, cognitive maps, and paper and clickable prototypes.
I drove the transformation of a $1.6 billion telecom company towards a human-centered outlook, creating an interactive framework that prioritizes the user experience in the development of 6G, the next generation of wireless internet. This framework is the result of ten design sprints, where we conducted 15 experiments with over 75 users to identify key Quality of Experience (QoE) factors that will ensure a future powered by 6G feels familiar, natural, and –above all– human.
6G is expected to be rolled out in the next decade in a world with an estimated 29 billion IoT devices, or 3.4 devices per person. This advanced network will support most extended reality (XR) applications, which some market experts predict will replace current smartphones and become the next generation of mobile computing platforms. In this future, individuals will experience seamless transitions between the metaverse and reality, and will receive highly personalized services like never before.
Is extended reality and hyper-personalization an exciting or frightening prospect? Do everyday users crave this kind of technology? If so, what drives their desire and influences their quality of experience? Through our experiments, we found that context plays a key role in shaping desire and determining quality of experience. We uncovered that context has not only a spatial aspect, but also behavioral, technological, and cultural dimensions. The challenge was to translate this knowledge into a tool that InterDigital's engineers could.
To find out how to impact the work of InterDigital and shift the organization to a more human-centered outlook, I held workshops with executives and engineers to learn about and map their analysis of new technologies that could lead to valuable patents. With my stakeholders' mental model in hand, I saw the need to make the end-user a priority in this process, given the far-reaching effect that 6G applications will have on people's lives and society as a whole.
Therefore, I created a framework that enables my stakeholders to collaborate together and explore the context surrounding the people who will be making meaning out of 6G applications, and understand the QoE factors that should drive the development of new technologies and businesses. This framework will go beyond InterDigital's current approach of considering end-users, by incorporating a more comprehensive understanding of the context in which 6G will be used and sparking critical thinking.
"...I do not want to grant companies direct access to my brain.” Interviewee
To demonstrate one of the experiments conducted to build our QoE library, we utilized the HTML code and CSS style of technology news website "The Verge" while exploring the tensions between extended reality and wellbeing. We created a hypothetical scenario involving the future of entertainment with the use of brain-computer interfaces (BCI), haptic technology, and holographic displays and asked people to voice out their reactions.
"The user analysis is not really done now […] users should be considered early." InterDigital Executive
This framework consists of five sets of questions. The first section requires engineers to delve into the specifics of the activity. They then need to outline the usage environment. It is crucial to determine the timing and location of the action and the physiological capabilities involved for the users. Additionally, this framework prompts staff to contemplate the anticipated behavior of users and others, and the meaning of certain technology usage for certain groups.
How is the network and infrastructure supporting application safety?
Once the sections have been filled, the framework generates a list of key QoE factors relevant to the specific use case. Executives and engineers can use these factors as a starting point for critical discussions, such as the effect of a potential 6G application on users' lives, its limitations, potential harms and biases, etc.