We take a quick dive into facets of design in 2018, what makes a product stand out from the rest and how your team can best be prepared for the future of uncertainty.
When Dave DeSandro kicked off his company Metafizzy, he spoke that there was no distinct audience for what he was interested in at the time. Describing his interest for the "artsy web demos and UI tools", DeSandro focused his attention on the future of design while crafting his trade from techniques that were from the past. "I should have been a curating a web design gallery or crafting bespoke blog posts piqued with DSLR-shot photos. But the galleries are all gone, the blog scene faded out, and now artsy web demos are coming to pass. However, following my interests has enabled me to ride out on top of these waves, rather than trying to swim hard to catch them." Like DeSandro, one can considered today's trends as small glimpses user perceptions by looking user wants, and then infusing creativity in the solutions. "How to Build the Future with Mark Zuckerberg" Hosted by Sam Altman showcased how Mark focused on future needs, "I just followed what people wanted, I wasn't trying to make or start a business", he continued by suggesting that one can always start with solving today's problems for tomorrow's future. The advice by both Zuckerberg and Altman decodes
Facebook's "Learning Culture" is a 360 from typical business management. Mark Zuckerberg made it clear that if every new feature or product had to be approved by him, than Facebook would never be where it is. Instead, teams are instructed to build and test. Installing autonym within a population develops not only creativity but fosters the idea of the production feedback. Feedback fosters a unique anti-basis. It creates an opportunity to engage in your product or service and presents key things that are working. It also allows your product to be compared to other competitors. These comparisons are vital to pinpoint differences within your product and service.
Robert E. Franken author of Human Motivation states that with creativity comes from “being able to view things in new ways or from a different perspective. Among other things, you need to be able to generate new possibilities or new alternatives. Tests of creativity measure not only the number of alternatives that people can generate but the uniqueness of those alternatives. the ability to generate alternatives or to see things uniquely does not occur by change; it is linked to other, more fundamental qualities of thinking, such as flexibility, tolerance of ambiguity or unpredictability, and the enjoyment of things heretofore unknown”. (page 394).
"As a child, I used to look up to my father and ask him to talk about the future. We spoke about flying cars, food that comes in capsules, glasses you could put on and see different planets and worlds. We spoke about flying insects that could talk and bring you things". Robert E. Franken spoke that the imagination generates the vision on of the future. Creative approaches provide alternate scenarios that can change the course of our future. Moonshot projects such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), automation, sharing economy applications (Uber, Airbnb), 3D printing and health technologies dramatically alter the course of human evolution. Many say that these type of projects carve the way for our future.
Visualizing the future means forecasting trends and working off of current ideas. AI and VR, being trends in a particular futuristic class of opportunity, are by all means not the only facets that our industry drives the future with. These cases provide a scale equal in magnitude, both changing the course of human experience. Each case also prolongs particular strongholds in the current markets while building new ones.
We see in VR new doors for both application and game design to serve a new augmented community. 3D designers can be presented with an opportune capacity to touch on new frontiers and new human dimension. Meaning that there is an entirely new human graphic standard. The 1070 by 980 pixel dimension strings won't work in VR. This is both an obstacle and an opportunity for designers and makers alike.
While Elon Musk has been a proponent to the downside of AI and its demise of the mankind thinking that this technology shows an instable future, he still has a nurturing response in that if it is used in a democratize way and combined with our inner cortex, one can use AI to make and merge with our minds, extending ourselves to new limits; "We can be the AI, collectively" - Must. Looking at AI and VR respectively, one can attempt to foreshadow these events and activities around these events. There are many more Moonshot projects that one can identify. Doing so early on, one can gain early access and develop what's to come of these products and services before the masses do.
As the world becomes more fragmented with specialization, Uber and Airbnb have continue to guess correctly. The Sharing Economy continues to grow with more and more people carpooling and sharing their material goods. There are now thousands of applications that market "the Uber of X" and it will only continue to grow. Uber now has a particular strong hold into the Automatic Vehicle, along with Google and Major Car companies. As one looks into the future of this newly defined market one sees the particular vastness of opportunity to create complementary products or add-ons. As a reminder to all, imagination in the physical world creates solutions that one can only dream of. Using the trends of the future, we can all tailor products and sub products that can better these new markets.
The focus for the SM team is to be the most up to-date with design and prototyping tools. This means that we are working less in Photoshop or Illustrator and more in Webflow, Figma, Framer, Invsion and other 3D framworks like three.js. Since the end of 2016 we have completely re-worked our design process from working strickly with pen and paper to completely outlining the customer experience by using tools like Invision that can show a client what the actual design will look like in their hand. This has made both the communication and overall client to developer experience much more clean.
We see design trends in 2018 to be overall more sophisticated and polishes. Colors and graphics continue to play a large role in what we bill for, suggesting that product development is central around user design and experience. From afar, the clients best tools for communicating will be with paper and pen. Showing diagrams and napkin drawings are still something that hasn't changed since the 90's.