Technology and design meet where user end

Jun 29th, 2015

UF95_Lifestyle

Design and technology are inseparable and that’s a fact. More than that though, they are inseparable from us, the users. It may have taken the smartest caveperson in the Paleolithic era to invent the spear, but you can be sure his tribe’s resident designer was standing behind him, trying to figure out how to streamline the design to hunt more effectively. A week later they were using a bow and arrow.

In the present, design is often considered to be primarily an aesthetic touch rather than a functional one. When we hear design we think of interior designers shuffling objects around a room and we forget that they might be doing this to balance the way we flow through a space. Of course, the way things look is still a big part of design, it’s just that when it comes to technology, functionality plays a critical (and obvious) role too.

Think of the way smartphones have changed in the last few years, getting slimmer to fit more comfortably in our pockets even as their screens grew bigger to augment each user’s experience. Really, those two changes speak to a two-pronged visual experience, one that emphasizes functionality and form as equal components in developing the most successful pieces of technology. And as technology adoption and uptake expands to include more and more devices around our homes – the fabled Internet of Things – we’re only going to see this relationship grow. Imagine the stylish potted plants in your house notifying you when they’re in need of water through sensors in the pots themselves, or your kettle firing up on cue at 10:30 because it’s spent the last few weeks learning you love your second (make that third) cup of the day around that time. Those two examples actually speak to why technology and design are so neatly married though: both the practical and visual aspects of our daily lives play a significant role in u
ser experience.

“I believe it is the consumer that the products are created for,” says Jayson Pillay, consumer & product specialist at LG Electronics. “Instead of LG creating a need for a product, we produce products consumers need.”

Pillay speaks to the core reason that tech and design go hand in hand. Technology helps us to do things more easily and design makes using that technology a more pleasant experience. That philosophy is pervasive in all the best technology companies operating today, and that only means good things as they prepare to roll out newer products.

“It’s getting to a point where users clearly see how design improves technology,” says Pillay. “If I had to break it down for you, I’d say we develop new products to a standard of 40% design, 30% user experience and 30% new technology. That shows how significant design to tech users.”

Pillay emphasizes the way simplicity plays a key factor in developing functional user experiences. “Last year we introduced WebOS into our TV range and the whole idea around it was to make TV simple again,” he says. “We remembered that, growing up, no one taught you how to use a TV, and took that classic simplicity of design to heart.”

Easy accessibility and functionality is really the key to design’s role in technological development. Good technology is informed by what we need to accomplish, offering solutions to our problems, and good design helps those solutions to feel integrated into our daily lives.

Like that kettle, the potted plant or even the classic bow and arrow, the ultimate aim for any new technology is to feel inseparable from what we do, but streamlined enough to not mess with our flow. How else would we get things done?