Shifting away from merely designing for the expected is what gets us the paradigms that are mimicked, twisted and recycled until the next shift comes. But how do we get there? Who are these pioneers that cut the new pathways in our collective thinking to come up with the concepts? And why does it take so long for these waves to take hold and drive changes in our everyday interactions?
Everyone in the design world likes to think that they’re capable of designing the next iPad or iPod interface. But we as designers can only hit upon such things by luck. We need the power of multiple disciplines to come up with truly groundbreaking designs, and it must be the structure or core of the interaction that drives the visual layer between the user and the experience they’re undertaking. The visual layer itself may not be all that interesting. But when you try to get from point A to point B and something magical happens along the way, you’ve experienced a good design. If you loved the experience so much that you have to tell your friends, relatives and colleagues about it, you’re experiencing a great design which will shift the way that particular experience takes place forever. When you’re done with the interaction, do you ever think back to the design at all? Do the photo selections matter? Was that gradient so compelling that it made a difference for you? Probably not.
It was the entire experience that got to you.
We build the core of this experience by assembling teams of people that are passionate about solving any given design challenge through unorthodox thinking, debate, research, testing, and user validation. We don’t stumble upon the next game changer by accident-we make it happen through synthesis. We engineer strategies and frameworks that map out the best possible experience for any given task. We do this in lieu of technology. If you can come up with something great, you can find a development team that’s crazy enough to attempt to build it. You only become the pioneer after the project is over and you’ve set it free upon the world to see what happens. If the stars align, experience and design mesh to form a perfect union, and the product is something that people want to use, you’ve got a shift in motion. Soon, everyone under the sun will copy your efforts, which temporarily stalls further innovation. This is what causes the rifts in momentum as everyone wants to explore variations of the latest and greatest until it’s been exhausted. Then the cycle repeats itself and the next big thing rears its head and improves the lives of millions in some way.
So what are you doing to design a better world?