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Bryan Rieger & Stephanie Rieger, Letting Go

These are my notes from dConstruct 2011… Bryan & Stephanies’ slides are also available.

“Our ability to capture, store, and constrain knowledge, led us to believe that knowledge itself might be a finite thing…”

All ideas tend to spread (and grow) when put on the internet.
Ideas on the internet don’t just grow, they self-replicate and evolve …often at an incredible pace.
It’s hard to contain ideas as they spread… the portable/always on and connected device amplifies this.

“Propelling unexpected ideas to greatness… enabling new voices… accelerating change”

(we need) unprecedented levels of creativity for new and unique challenges created by a perfect storm of events and technology.

“We can no longer expect customers to interact with our creations in a linear, exclusive or predictable manner”
Users won’t wait for us to create the experiences they want …they’ll climb overt he fence…. use things in ways we didn’t design for… improve on our content delivery (eg. Instapaper/Readability/Flipboard etc).
Example of enhancing a physical product – eg. Moviepeg. New technology like 3D printing will empower people even further – to make their own products/enhancements.

Traditionally market penetration took time. This was good for mental models…
“with time comes stronger mental model, development of social norms and an undrstanding of how a product may fit into our lives”
Time is now a luxery. Radio took 40 years for a market penetration of 50 million/TV 10 years/iPod 5 years and YouTube less than 6 months. Google+  could achieve this in less than 3 months.

“Each of us is engaging, understanding and engaging with products in a slightly different way…”

Apple = multi-layered and tightly inderpendent systems of experience… achieved by controlling and containing most touch points and user interactions. Like a trip to a Disney theme park where every part of the experience had been designed for you… Like Don Norman talked about earlier – they design for the memories eg. you don’t come away thinking about the time spent queing but with other positive/designed “memories”.
Most products won’t have this luxery… the best products might fail/there will need to be trade-offs in complexity with and increasing reliance on other parts in a larger ecosystem… product models that can adapt to future (abrupt) change eg. environmental – fuel or material costs.

“In an increasingly complex world the most succesful producst may in fact be the simplest-or most flexible…
…enabling pathways for users to find meaning and enrich their lives, through experiences they create for themselves”

The best designs will live beyond there intended purpose ie. open API’s. Maybe even designed with no primary context at all.

Letting go doesn’t remove our responsibility as designers… we’re now more responsible than ever… as technology becomes more a part of our lives there are more implications for our work.
“A responsibility that is directly proportional to the number of people we may affect with every product we create” – Video Games and Human Condition, Jonathan Blow

“We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.” – Marshall McLuhan

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them” – Albert Einstein

Ben Holliday is an experienced design leader, writer and speaker. This is his blog (started in 2005). You can follow all of Ben's blog posts by subscribing to the RSS feed, or follow him on Twitter for more regular updates.