Friday, December 27, 2013

A Look Toward 2014

More humanism in design? Sure. Advancements in automation for the end user? Probably. More voices than ever before? Always. 

It can be hard to think of new surprises for the near-now, but if remix culture has taught us anything, it's that novelty often extends from trying on a new lens, or 13

1. On new physical tokens to act with digital interface:
2013 showed us grasping at straws from comically misplaced energy in watches to virtually-there presence through physical armatures (like this). For 2014, we can all agree that hardware will continue its step down and software its rise while we (hopefully) return to the experiment phase that began with the ubiquitous glass brick. Now that we've mastered a million ways to post selfies, it's time to continue to unlock the true power of all this hardware in our pocket. Full room computing is a good start.

Thanks frog and GawkerMedia!

2. That same Heads Up Display on-demand approach will apply to our attitudes to permanence in environment as well. Like our grandparents know to never touch and smudge the glass, we've learned to always touch the glass, because, usually, it makes something magic happen. In 2014, look for our hard-edged, permanent physical barriers to be dynamic in the information they provide and the linkages they create to surrounding and remote zones. Digitally hail a taxi from any concrete curb? Yes, please get me our of the pouring rain!

3. Lastly, the joint concepts of ownership and sharing will continue to fall into question. Digital content licenses and streaming content set up a world where we rent our content and buy a temporary holding vessel to access it. There's already been attempt and backlash to this idea, like the Xbox One strategy (this video sums it up nicely), but early adopters will eventually influence the market and solidify the digital licensing puzzle. All of it is way out of my area of expertise, though, so I'll say as designers, it's time to look into the advantages of the system. We certainly like de-cluttering. And what about that hardware? Why bother collecting logo'd boxes for generations of the same device? Let's face it - we've been collecting obsolete 'stuff' for years. Isn't it time we figure a way to keep the closets clean? Watch those pitchforks come out when the proposal to rent hardware starts rolling (I'd expect from credit card companies most of all).

Those are my sweeping declarations common to this time of year. What's on your horizon? 

Cheers to the New Year!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Environment: Like any confine, only perceived

"A waterfall is not a 'thing,' nor is a flame of burning gas // both are, rather, a stable pattern of energy determining the boundaries of a characteristic sensible 'shape' in space and time. The waterfall I present to consciousness only so long as water flows through it, and the flame, only so long as the gas continues to burn."

Quote: Architectural critic, Reyner Banham
Drawing: me

What if your space grew to how you actually used it? What does group mass-customization look like? A bit like the above from studying a government building's lobby in Brasil. 

Bon sui-