The future of design with emerging technology

   NEWS / 05 Apr 2016


With technology progressing in leaps and bounds with every passing year, it is only natural that the process and role of design would develop with it. The best practices in the design field are now cutting edge rather than wrought through decades of experience - it’s an exciting time to be a designer in technology.

A line of dialogue from the Japanese movie “The Wind Rises”, perhaps has the most profound statement about innovation:

“Inspiration unlocks the future;
technology will catch up”

If you ask a group of people to pick out the global brands they consider most innovative, generally the response you would usually get includes an Apple, Nike, Netflix or Tesla. The secret ingredient that has helped Apple for example to become the world’s most valuable company is arguably not great technology, but in fact inspired design. The very best design is often seamless and invisible, sometimes making it difficult to appreciate.



In the connected age, where our digital lives revolve around our smartphones and tablets, we have very little patience for bad user experience. We crave great digital experiences that make our lives easier. With the technology giants of Google and Microsoft becoming more design-led, it was telling that when Bill Gates was asked shortly after the death of Steve Jobs the one quality of Jobs that he wished he had possessed, Gates instantly replied, “His sense of design,” adding that Jobs’ — with the little engineering background he had — showed how design can lead you in a good direction to phenomenal products. However, the devil is truly in the detail; success comes from the small and often-invisible changes that can go unnoticed.

Research can be invaluable when creating considered user experience. It is very easy to design for ourselves, with the technology we have access to, however to create a truly brilliant product, it should be accessible and useful to all of the potential target demographic.



So how do we stay creative and innovative with so many developing technologies? Although, new interaction design patterns continue to arise to support these new technologies, the fundamentals remain timeless. Here are a few tips:

  • Goal-driven design – Focus on personas, user scenarios and experience maps so that every interaction moves users closer to completing their goal.

  • Usability – Function must be intuitive and reliable before it can be fun for users. Provide only as many features as users truly need, then hone in on reducing the friction and cognitive load of each feature. Mobile considerations force us to rethink the entire web experience – not just how it plays out on specific devices.

  • Learnability – Interfaces that are consistent with existing designs and across all internal assets are more predictable, which means that they are easier to learn. Learnable interfaces, then, naturally feel more usable since less friction is involved.

  • Feedback and response time – Interfaces must respond promptly to users in a human (and humane) way so that the experience feels like a real conversation.

  • Thinking Beyond the Now – Changes in technology continue to expand the capabilities of interaction design. After all, much of what we have seen and are designing for is mandated by the need to make unfamiliar devices feel instantly familiar.




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