It can be intimidating — not to mention dangerous – trying to “tinker” with adding technology to public spaces and services. One risks violating laws and/or stepping on the toes of the various urban planning agencies, planning boards and other government bodies tasked by our communities to manage the world around us. This is particularly true when it comes to projects that require physical interaction and infrastructure — which we will see more and more often as the worlds of bits and atoms collide.
Social spaces, private spaces, unfamiliar spaces—no matter where, people can detect even subtle frameworks and etiquettes. As our relationship to products, services, and to one another has been transformed over the past few years, entirely new frameworks have emerged.
These conditions signal a shift. People are being asked to improvise, to frame their own experiences. The designer merely sets out opportunities for people to use—to perceive connections and take advantage (or not) of a framework. But how do people know how to improvise?
The handoff from Design to Engineering is often the point where designers begin to step away from a project to focus their attention on the next. It is at this point however, that the subjective qualities of a design will naturally start to take a back seat to the very real, very hard engineering problems ahead. Without guidance, the purely practical aspects of engineering a new product can become over-prioritized, while the aesthetic are easily downplayed.
In March 2008 my two-month-old son Luca was diagnosed with AML, a rare form of childhood Leukemia. Immediately following his diagnosis we were admitted into Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, where we would end up living in the alternate reality of pediatric cancer for a about a year. It has been an intense experience that has changed us in ways we are still discovering.
The way the street feels may soon be defined by the invisible and inaudible. Cities are being laced with sensors, which in turn generate urban informatics experiences, imbuing physical space with real-time behavioural data. The urban fabric itself can become reflexive and responsive to some extent, and there are numerous implications for the design and experience of cities as a result.
With their emphasis on 3D graphics and complex interface controls, it would appear that gaming interfaces and virtual worlds have little to offer people with disabilities. On the contrary, virtual worlds serve as a form of augmented reality where users transcend physiological or cognitive challenges to great social and therapeutic benefit.
Prototyping can help you create better designs, improve team collaboration, effectively communicate with stakeholders, and overcome hurdles before the development phase of your product. In this demo, learn how Adobe Flash Catalyst can empower you to rapidly transform your static designs into interactive prototypes without writing any code.
Open source development has taken hold in software design, and is beginning to show up in electronics hardware design as well. Thus far, however, open source has been limited mainly to the engineering side of development. Open source tools for design tend to be abysmal, largely because there are no designers working on them. And open source has not made a blip on consumer-facing issues like licensing, warranties, and customer support. Should it? What impacts could it have, and how can the design community help to bring that about?