A topic I have been researching lately is how mobile technology is making us increasingly more isolated and severely damaging our face-to-face interactions. So, when I came across this article by Fast Company: "Jukey: A Networked Jukebox That Only Plays Crowd Favorites," about a product that was addressing this issue directly, I was instantly intrigued.
"Jukey" is still just a concept, but it has the potential to be the next version of the common jukebox. To enforce the value of physical presence, the device is "networked to accept requests from in-person smartphone users. The idea is that people at a party can pool their music collections, and the device’s intelligence will automatically create smart playlists composed of the favorite songs of everyone who contributed." This user experience is all packaged in a very attractive consumer product, designed by the group Vim & Vigor. The simple interface has no buttons and to turn the device on, you simply lay Jukey on its side; to change the volume, you swipe left or right on Jukey’s case; and to rewind and fast forward, you rotate Jukey like a big jog wheel.
For me, the most beneficial part of the Jukey concept is captured in this quote from Partner Irina Kozlovskaya: "Our team noticed that more and more music listening is becoming a solitary experience. This is part of a larger trend of minimizing social interaction in lieu of digital experiences, especially for younger generations." I hope more and more designers are able to recognize and address the growing need for this type of "(anti)social network behavior."