I cannot say I know anyone who would characterize shopping for a mobile device as “fun and engaging.” AT&T, a client of my employer Avenue A | Razorfish, hopes to change things. At the CTIA Wireless Conference April 2, AT&T demonstrated how the company will use Microsoft Surface touch technology for consumers to explore mobile devices at AT&T retail stores. According to Microsoft, AT&T is the first company to employ Surface in a retail environment.
Here’s how the experience will work: consumers visiting AT&T retail stores will sit down at Surface tables and play with the touch-and-recognition technology to learn about mobile devices. For instance, consumers can review features of a device by placing it on a table. Surface recognizes the device and displays a graphics-rich overview of features.
Consumers may also use touch-and-hand movements to explore a map that reveals how much coverage AT&T provides in different areas of the United States.
The Surface tables will be piloted at a small number of AT&T stores in the United States (planned launch date: April 17) and later on at more AT&T stores.
Avenue A | Razorfish provided strategy, user experience, and technology to support AT&T and Microsoft. What’s interesting to me is the test-and-learn nature of the experience. I doubt anyone has mastered the art of designing an experience for consumers hunched over a table and touching it — Surface is just too new. No doubt the designers will learn lessons from the pilot and make adjustments . . . but the designers — and hopefully consumers — will have fun along the way. Meantime, check out this AT&T demonstration of Surface at CTIA.