Macadamian Blog

Beyond the Screen: An introspective look at the future of product design

Michael Grigoriev

A series on the future of design and rebooting the user experience.

Beyond the Screen

Our world is one in which the technology we’ve created for ourselves is ironically both extending, and ending our lives. We are learning the effects and impact that recent technological advancements have had in re-writing our most basic human behaviours and expectations. Yet, as we stand on the cusp of significant future breakthroughs poised to do the same, are we in a position to judiciously re-evaluate our relationships with the technology we are about to surround ourselves with?

It is safe to say the last several decades have been the most transformative on human behavior, communication and lifestyle. The opportunities afforded by technological innovation are enhancing and rewriting previously natural behaviours with mixed results.

As we fundamentally re-wire our minds, we’re constantly altering the technological lens with which we interact with the world. While often an extension or answer to legitimate needs, these advancements are also often evidence of what we can do, rather than what we should do. If we were to stop and challenge some of our deeply-engrained behaviours, would we still arrive at the same outcomes? Would the design of today’s workstation be based on the monitor, keyboard, and mouse combination living on a desk we rarely question? Would our ability to tell stories be dictated by PowerPoint prowess? Would our potential romantic conquests be the result of location-based dating apps driven by the computers in our pockets?

As a result, more often than not the user experience has been playing catch-up to technological innovation, rather than driving it. Now, our behaviours, expectations, and experiences are in part directly influenced by the years of technological interactions we’ve packed under our belts, regardless of how well conceived or intended they are.

“If the future of user experience is driven by current behavior, however current behaviour is predicated by uninformed or haphazard design…”

As we begin to move beyond the screen, and experience a world where we inevitably integrate technology and interactions into every facet of our lives, design is positioned to rewrite the landscape in which our current technological reality was created. A future where after the dust of the first decades of technological marvel and magic settles, technology no longer begs for attention and instead better integrates itself into real human lives and needs.

“What does a future of design look like where we reboot our systems to be driven by human behavior, rather than human reaction to technological interventions?”

The future of design and the user experience is a chance to chart a new course in which technology is an indisputable enhancement to human behaviours and needs. It is one in which technology’s increasingly predictive and adaptive properties can be leveraged when needed and invisible when not. When we move beyond the screen, our technology can integrate itself into and enhance the lives we live, and its form can once again follow the function for the human user experience.

Watch the video we put together to stimulate discussion internally at Macadamian. Would love to get your thoughts on this subject.