Bridging the Physical-Digital Divide: Industrial Designer Edition

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With the proliferation of touchscreens and a hardware revival driven by internet technologists, Industrial Design is at risk of becoming irrelevant. How can Industrial Design engage with the technology, user experience and software communities to help create harmony across physical products and digital services? From research with 30+ Industrial Designers, User Experience designers and technologists, I concluded that the divide can be broken down across a series of axes and bridged by connecting, calibrating and collaborating. A cut-down Industrial Designer oriented version of a longer 45 minute presentation for Interactions 14.

Text of Bridging the Physical-Digital Divide: Industrial Designer Edition

  • Bridging the Physical-Digital Divide ! 23 May 2014 Product Design and Innovation 2014 ! Jason Mesut Head of User Experience, Plan Local Leader, IxDA London !
  • 5years ! Industrial Design years ! Digital User Experience 15
  • 3years Local leader Interaction Design Association L o n d o n Subjects over 3 years Internet of Things Future of publishing Urban environment Smart materials Mobility / Automotive Clinical applications ! Upcoming Smart home Music interfaces Consumer healthcare
  • I want a future where physical products and digital services work in harmony
  • Industrial Designers Industrial Designers Digital / UX Designers Ive interviewed over 30 designers
  • Experiences with familiar names Consultancies Manufacturers Education
  • Some key questions Why should we care? What are we aiming for? What are the challenges? How can we tackle them? ?
  • Some key questions Why should we care? What are we aiming for? What are the challenges? How can we tackle them?
  • Screens dominating
  • Screens on everything
  • Screens replacing tactile controls
  • Screens in front of babies
  • Emerging hardware revival
  • The internet of things is hitting the mainstream Niche Mass
  • In odd ways
  • Tech companies buying hardware companies + skills
  • Service companies selling hardware
  • Wearable excitement Something other than a smartphone to design
  • Even if they make us look ridiculous
  • Industrial Design seems to be losing relevancy
  • Digital designers User Experience for web, GUI expertise Software technologists Understand infrastructure and web services Makers Prototype, and play with combining technologies Graphical User Interfaces Systems thinking Human behaviour & experience Web technology Data Infrastructure Prototyping Human behaviour Connection with the arts Mike Kuniavsky, author of Smart Things Matt Webb, Berg Kate Hartman, artist, technologist, educator OCAD Digital natives seem to be driving the future
  • Industrial Design doesnt engage Industrial Designers have their heads in the ground Ian Bach Senior Interaction Designer Method
  • Doesnt include freelancers 350-600+ a day Industrial Design User Experience Huge pay gap
  • Some key questions Why should we care? What are we aiming for? What are the challenges? How can we tackle them?
  • Greater harmony between physical and digital
  • A recipe for integrated products? + +Physical Product Digital Interface Digital Service Integrated product =
  • + +Physical Product Digital Interface Digital Services ! Aesthetic Visceral. Visual, sonic, feel. Interactive Behavioural. Distribution of inputs and controls. ! Experiential Reflective. Fit with persons context and ecosystems. ! ! Key levels of harmony Components of integrated experience
  • Unite product and graphic language Nokia and Microsoft Windows mobile Separated at birth
  • Physical form and interaction design Nokia and Meego A touchscreen curved at the edges to aid friction for swipes from the edge
  • iPod The original integrated product? Appropriate interactions Hardware and software interface working together iTunes store Aesthetic mismatch
  • Clunky car interfaces Screen clash Dangerous disparity Aesthetic mismatch Interface not tactile Doesnt create a better experience
  • Integrated automotive interface Texas Instruments Immersive Automobile Physical controls designed in concert with graphical user interface
  • Nest Rare harmony? Coherent product-service Elegant hardware Slick UI Intelligent services
  • Nest Rare harmony?
  • We need to seek 1. Quality balance 2. Connected design language 3. Appropriate interactions 4. Consideration of overall experience
  • Some key questions Why should we care? What are we aiming for? What are the challenges? How can we tackle them?
  • Why harmony is rare
  • Hardware is being commoditised 1/2/3/4
  • Objects, like apps, are becoming transient like kettles that dont last or phones we replace regularly ! Jeremy Offer Design Director, Great Fridays Objects becoming transient
  • Delivery timelines are different 1/2/3/4
  • UX is very much focused on the near term its less reliant on supply chains ! Mark Delaney Head of Design Forward, Nokia UX focuses on the short term
  • Software design often begins later in the cycle. ! Youre given a spec of controls and its very hard to adjust the hardware in the midst of development without long delays. ! Nick Myers Director User Experience Design, Fitbit Software added in later
  • Different delivery timeframes 18 months+ 3 months+ initially Then monthly, weekly or daily Hardware Software Problem framing Tooling Tuning production Manufacturing development ! Ideation ! Design development R C D ! Production 2-6W 4-8W 4-8W 26W 12W 3W 4-8W C D C D C D RCD RCD Research Concept Design RCD RCD RCD RCD RCD RCD RCD RCD
  • Disciplines dont understand each other 1/2/3/4
  • UX has done a pretty good job of making itself complicated in a short period of time with all the different sub-disciplines: IA, IxD, etc. ! The more compartmentalised, the worse the result. ! Marcus Hoggarth Industrial Design Director, Native UX is confusing
  • Teams are separated 1/2/3/4
  • Hardware and software teams often separated SW HW SW HW In-house In-house Agency SW HW Agency 1 Agency 2 SW HW Agency
  • Design silos inhibit collaboration ID UX VD SD
  • Should we destroy design silos before organisation ones?
  • Why harmony is rare 1. Hardware commoditisation 2. Delivery differences 3. Dont understand each other 4. Teams are separated
  • Some key questions Why should we care? What are we aiming for? What are the challenges? How can we tackle them?
  • How can we bridge the physical-digital divide?
  • How can we bridge the physical-digital divide First, we must Define the divide
  • ID Industrial Design Physical Product Design Mechanical Engineering Ergonomics CMF Product visualisation
  • Offer Mindset Language Tools Time ID Industrial Design Physical UX Digital User Experience Product Design Mechanical Engineering Ergonomics CMF Product visualisation Interaction Design Information Architecture Content Strategy User Research Visual Design Experience strategy