You the User
a little writing, a little code, a little design

Unlimited design

This is a simple message for all my London IA colleagues and friends. This is the first in a series and concerns, in my opinion, our responsibilities in the face of our future in the interconnected network of (every)things.

Think about all *the internets* you frequent on a regular basis on desktops, laptops, smart phones, mobile phones, tablets, games consoles, TVs, projected on the wall. All the contexts you are used to. Then take away all these contexts and think of all those websites and web services again. Think of them with no *limited* context, no limits. Think of them anywhere, everywhere, everything. No obvious seams, beginningend.

What would you do if the work you usually did was only a minuscule part of the potential of your skills?

Are you thinking beyond your understanding of what actually constitutes interaction design/user experience/information architecture work? Are you creating constraints where none should exist?

For a minute, just think what would you do if there was no more website work? No more mobile applications to design. Have you started thinking about the interconnected city and services around you, your interface with the city, town around you? The one you work in, the one you live in, the ones you pass through. Do you care? Or is it someone else’s problem? Who is this someone else? Some of us need to be that someone else.

The ‘internet’ as we understand it is just … a small island in an ocean. And the tip of the rock on that island … A vastness beyond present human comprehension. There are ideas and notions attempting to gain comprehension – every grain of sand with its own IP address

every grain of sand with its own IP address
? – but really smart people have only tasked themselves with indicating to others that we really have no idea except that things will just get exponentially weird and every part of your life is going to be strange. I think Moore’s Law may just become a lot less of a law.

So interaction designer/user experience designer/information architect…

We all need to think more in terms of networks and less in terms of DESKtops, LAPtops, MOBILEphones, SMARTphones. Limited differentiation is dead, we need to start thinking in terms of input and output, the city as interface and network in front of you, as part of you, operating alongside you. A balanced approach is vital though to ensure “the interface doesn’t become our experience of the city, but helps to enhance it

What are you doing about it two dimensional interaction designer, information architect? Are you sitting forward, alert listening or are you slumped in your seat, eyes glazed over “someone else’s problem”? You might just be the person that is needed. This might just be your calling. Take an interest, this affects us all.

We are limiting ourselves by only thinking in current terms. The way we approach things/problems now will be ineffective for future problems. In fact there is no way we can comprehend the scope of future design problems, begin to comprehend solution paths from our current approach to problem solving. We shouldn’t necessarily try believing that we have to know now how to solve them. We just have to be prepared that it is all going to get very different and not a little bit weird.

Expect nothing. Be prepared for anything and everything.

In the next post we will begin discussing some specifics.

Please do consider joining us on one of our #walkshops around London. Keep an eye on #londonia and @london_ia

Thank you to @agpublic @byekick @bashford

@clurr @nicprice
and of course @pixeldiva


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