Co.Design

8 Insights About The Coming Era Of Interactive Design

This 18-minute documentary talks to some of the brightest in the industry about what’s next.

It’s all moving so quickly. Just yesterday, we were amazed by the miracle of making calls from our cars. Now we’re furious when our 4G cuts out while streaming an HD video on a four-inch touch screen, just because we’re 50 feet underground riding the subway.

Connecting is a short documentary by Bassett & Partners and Microsoft that explores how our lives (and our gadgets) have and will change in a more connected world. It’s 18 minutes long but very worth the time, as it features interviews with designers from Method, Twitter, Arduino, Frog, Stamen, Microsoft, and Nokia. What’s crazy, even with the magic of editing, is that so many of these talented perspectives tend to finish one another’s sentences.

As you watch, you’ll see a general consensus on a few really important points. They’d make a decent poster:

  1. Our phones demand too much attention, detracting from our real experiences.
  2. Analog metaphors are making less sense on digital devices.
  3. We’re waiting for new paradigms in experiencing media like text on screens.
  4. UX is a living, somewhat unpredictable thing. All experiences need to be fluid and flexible now.
  5. You shouldn’t just try to understand a product. You should try to understand its connected network.
  6. An "Internet of things"—countless connected sensors—is coming (and here).
  7. All of our information feeds into something larger than ourselves, a "superorganism" or "colony" of digital information.
  8. The hive mind got so big that greater Internet thought is now manifesting locally (think Egypt’s uprising or Occupy Wall Street).

When you mix all of these ideas into a blender, you definitely spot some dichotomies—how can we pull our attention from our phones when the Internet is a superorganism of all mankind’s thought? Or how can you design a product to be part of a network when networks are living, changing things? Even the smaller concepts are confounding, like if we’re not reading text in ebooks, how should we be reading text?

But that doesn’t make any of the ideas wrong. It just means that they’re going to be very important, and very difficult, to solve.

[Hat tip: The Creators Project]

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