Designing Technology: Making the Leap
Effective print design is laconic: no wasted ink less is definitely more. A great designer can communicate a sensational quantity of information with surprisingly couple of tools. Design is pervasive within our media-centric culture, and subsequently we’re constantly absorbing information via color, line, shape and symbol. Likewise is technology pervasive. From mobile phones, to handhelds, to Computers–technology has turned into a permanent and essential tool in today’s world.
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However the means by which we communicate with technologies have yet to completely evolve the bond frequently remains sterile and detached. The possibility to enhance this relationship lies with designers.
To begin with, we have to acknowledge the lingering disconnect between print and tech design. Exactly the same minimalist ethos that drives effective print media appears lost among a ocean of bad websites and unwieldy technology.
First, unhealthy websites:
Affordable publishing software has allowed a number of amateur web-site designers to go in the fray. The advantages of empowering visitors to go to town on the internet are indisputable–indeed this is actually the living, breathing heart from the information revolution. What these recreational desktop publishers do in order to advance design, however, is questionable. Because of so many untrained hands in the helm, proper design is vulnerable to being run aground.
Now, the unwieldy technology:
Technology, obviously, is definitely an enabler: it can make our way of life simpler, better, or both. Without thoughtful design, however, technology only partially meets its definition. A good example: Multi-purpose mobile phones. Theoretically, they allow you to talk, calculate an 18% tip, take videos and pictures, and surf the net. What these to grow in potential functionality, they lose in actual utility: you cannot make use of the calculator while you are speaking the images are low-res the videos are sub-componen and also the web access is slow and needs really small, nimble fingers. Why don’t you design a telephone that, rather of all of the features, will get very-obvious reception everywhere?
The need to bring along lots of functionality right into a little package is tempting mainly because we are able to: technology will get constantly smaller sized and faster. The exponential development in circuitry explained Moore’s Law (which celebrated its 40th anniversary in April), has outpaced a concomitant knowledge of how you can humanistically design these extra circuits into our way of life. The drive to harness technology’s full potential ought to be tempered with restraint and good design.
Think about the ipod device. Its success has little related to Apple’s unique or cutting-edge technology–it is a hard disk with earphones. ipod device is effective since it conveys a large idea using what are basically School shapes: a rectangle and 2 concentric circles. By restricting functionality, they produce a sleeker consumer experience and clearly articulate the product’s identity and purpose.
This method may be the type which will humanize our relationship with technology. But how can we make it happen?
Ironically, exactly the same advances that spawned an onslaught of poorly designed webpages also produce the chance for systemic change. Technologies have entered a vital threshold. Just like you don’t have to know HTML to produce a website, you don’t need set up code or binary math to approach tech development. The pieces are available, we simply need to place them together. Rather of viewing technology as something to create around, we ought to design by using it, engaging technology less a auto technician uses tools, but because a painter uses paint.
Getting together with technology should not be taxing for that user–it ought to be fluid and intuitive. Good print design communicates ideas by doing this doing exactly the same in technology design requires only one courageous tweak in the manner we embrace the medium. Time is ripe for any transfer of paradigm.