By Leah Buley
There are two topics that SXSW seems especially enamored of this year: startups, and Lean product development (as championed by Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup). Of course, the two go hand in hand. There’s a whole area in the Hilton dedicated to Lean, and every time I wander through it I get the distinct feeling of having entered a party. People are hanging out snacking and drinking beer. There are balloons. Everyone seems to be having fun. It’s another reminder for me that in addition to a sound product development practice, Lean Startup at the moment is the coolest kid in class.
Along with Lean there were a number of interesting sessions this year. The session on mobile payments was particularly relevant for me and the design work that I do at Inuit. (Intuit’s own GoPayment has been enabling people to take credit card payments on the mobile phones for a few years now).
The panelists came from Isis, the mobile wallet consortium, and Gemalto, a company that provides data services to payments companies, and Tony Merschen Consulting. Their discussion reinforced something that just a few months ago had the tenor of a debate and now seems to have grown into an industry-wide conviction: touch-based mobile payments WILL be coming to our mobile devices, and as consumers, we will soon begin to adopt them.
As a user experience designer, I usually find myself wondering what the benefit to real people is in all this, and I was gratified to see a healthy bit of discussion among panelists on exactly WHY we will choose to adopt touch-based payments. The most compelling possibility, mentioned by one of the panelists, was the ability of a mobile wallet to aggregate information about all your credit cards (including balances, interest rates, transaction history, and contact numbers, in case of loss) all in one place. That’s not strictly a payments solution, but it sure sounds nice.
Stay tuned for my SXSW wrap-up blog post this week to hear how serendipity and engineering are joining forces and what that means to our future.
Leah Buley is a design strategist at Intuit focused on making it easy for customers to manage their financial lives. When she’s not working, you can usually find her at the park with her dog Roku and husband Chris.