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When you don’ start with design research, what do you do? Many design processes prescribe your work in a linear fashion: starting with design research to discover the problems you’re ultimately solving for, ideating on the solutions to that problem, prototyping and testing them. And you repeat that process for several rounds, where applicable.

Depending on where in the design process you are, design research unlocks so many things. It helps you define the problem, it can inspire a solution or a new opportunity area, it helps designers empathise with the users and it helps you prioritise decisions. …

Tore, UX designer at Topp conducting an experiment with gestures, voice control, Harry Potter wands, machine learning and Ikea Trådfri lights.

In this experiment, we wanted to add possibilities for controlling smart objects in our homes. By using Noodl as the “glue”, we quickly orchestrated several small sketches by combining various technology building blocks:

For example, make Amazon’s Alexa and the wand work together to change the colour of a smart light bulb.

Noodl in combination with machine learning creates a flexible prototyping environment where we can teach the system how it should work. Without using code we can iterate on complex inputs such as gestures by giving the system live examples of desired input. …

Since the dawn of time, or at least since Gutenberg invented the printing press, our visual language has been contained by frames — books, prints, the magazine, PCs, video games, smartphones, even the basic notebook have all been rectangular.

Most of our design patterns and best practices are built on a 2-dimensional surface being closed on all four sides. Both visual and interaction-based design practices are rooted in this basic shape, but we’re finally being challenged to go beyond the rectangle.

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From PCs to web to the smartphone, digital screen-based design has accelerated its reach and impact over the past 30 years. We have been entrenched in the “rectangle”, so challenging this basic assumption about the container of our experiences is more disruptive to an era of designers and product developers. …



Topp is a Swedish design & innovation studio. We help forward-thinking clients worldwide to shape future products and services. www.topp.se

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