With great questions comes great responsibility.

The best designer is not the one having all the right answers, but the one knowing all the right questions. As designers, we facilitate experts, interview users, research relationships, analyse behaviours and do a lot of other things for the quest of understanding and gaining knowledge.

We also connect dots, bridge departments, translate from one area to the other, map one context onto the next. …


If you work with technology and design in any form, then you should extend your reading list from biographies and design books to include some good old Science Fiction — and some new ones too.

“Anything that one man can imagine, another man can make real.”

(Igor Szigorsky about his inspiration Jules Verne)

Inventor Igor Szigorsky forever changed aviation by constructing the first drafts of what we today recognise as the helicopter. He was deeply influenced by Jules Verne’s 1887 novel Clipper of the Clouds, and its depictions of travelling through the clouds in pursuit of new adventures, which became his driving motivation to pursue aviation and eventually led to him becoming the pioneer we know him as today.

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Igor Szigorsky in his first version of a a helicopter, built in 1939, inspired by the designs of Jules Verne.

In the 80s, the television show Star Trek built a universe including multiple technical wonders such as the tablet computer, mobile phones, voice controlled personal assistants, while the world outside of fiction would have to wait for many more years for these technical innovations. In fact, many modern inventions can be traced back to counterparts in literature long before they were realised — most prominently to science fiction. …


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When services and products become increasingly complex, a suitable process roadmap is as crucial to the product development life cycle as any tool.

Our work with clients in complex domains such as transportation or smart homes has shown us how the emergence of connected services and products changes our work as designers and agencies. We have realised that the majority of our projects now include not just extensive service design and user research aspects, but in general an increased need for a broader understanding of the ecosystems we are designing, taking into account shifting contexts, multi-user relationships and long term use cases. …


A personal comment on the consequences of seductive notification design and the pull of digital gadgets

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Photo by Mitchell Hollander on Unsplash

The moment I accepted that notifications are broken was the moment I realised the Apple Watch was not designed for me. I don’t own an Apple Watch, and the one I was staring at at that moment was vibrating on my partners wrist, disrupting our breakfast conversation as he checked his first slack message of the day. The realisation that this gadget was not designed for me made sense, since I am not the one wearing it. I am not the user Apple tries to make happy. And still, since my partner got the sleek smart watch a few month ago, I am sharing quite a bit of time with it. It wakes us up in the morning, when I feel it vibrating next to me, measuring my partners sleep quality. It sits with us at the breakfast table in the morning and on the couch in the evening after a long day, and distracts from the movie we are watching. Of course, it is discreet, subtle, and doesn’t want to draw attention to itself, at least not mine. I am not the focus of its existence. …


In recent years, we have seen a rising interest in the market space of wearables as well as in the multitudes of use cases they provide. From smart watches to fitness trackers and health monitors, a variety of new smart companions have entered the market, pairing up with our smartphones to make our lives easier, safer and more efficient. Times for sure are exciting in this area and future devices might change the way we interact with technology within the next couple of years. …

About

Sonja Rattay

Berlin born, Malmö based Interaction & UX Designer, Co-Founder & Design Lead @blockzero, Restless Mind

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