A History of Disruption

UX Evolution Timeline Infographic (2 x A0 timeline posts)

Get ready for Disruption!

We have something new we wanted to share with the design community on Medium. A complete timeline of the computer and internet revolution, and yes, it’s massive A0+A0, and yes, you will be disrupted! when reading it.


The format we’ve done it in is duel A0 so you can print it out and put the two side by side on your agency wall. You can download them here:

About the Disruption Timeline

The aim was to go through history and look at some of the key technological advances and how they impacted users and society as a whole.

What we see is humanity, to varying degrees, is in a constant flux of disruption as UX and technological advantage improves.

Big Disruptions

  • Like punch card technology being replaced with computer memory.
  • Or computer networking phasing out widespread usage of the floppy disks because you can just download.

Smaller Disruptions

  • Like tablets taking user eyes away from laptops
  • Or facial authentication versus pincodes

So what does this mean for designers? If you figure out ways to marginally improve user experience by say 10%-20% don’t expect a major disruption. However, if you develop a technology that represents a fundamental shift or leap in user experience ‘the seas will part’ and society could engage with your technology. We call this ‘Big-Bang Disruption’. There is a great article on this phenomenon you can read here by Harvard Business Review. Big corporates try to avoid it or be ahead of it. Small startups encourage and harness it to fuel faster growth.

So how do you get real value from timelines like these?

Huge multi-nationals have teams that create large data visualisations representing technological convergences and breakthroughs to guide their strategy. Both on a macro level like this or on a micro level being industry or product line views. They use these artifacts or views as a steering point for strategy.

But even if you’re not a massive organisation you can still derive opportunity from drilling down on a more granular level. Create your own timeline for your industry or that of a client. Taking time out from working on your business to say hey ‘what is coming next?’. ‘How can we disrupt things and commercialise a new technology?’

Bottom line, by learning the lessons of past disruptions it could just help you identify how to disrupt the future. A way to transcend from being a product designer to becoming a disruptor and shaper of history.

Let me give you a simple example. Smart phones on a timeline could go in several directions.

  • Ear implants
  • Contact lenses
  • Glasses
  • Tooth implants… you get the idea.

Brainstorm and have fun with it. Research and learn more.

Once you take a big picture approach you can change the world.


Hope you enjoyed the infographic we designed it for the Medium Design community. It’s still a draft but please Enjoy! Check back shortly for new versions.