New technology is emerging everywhere around us. We live in a time when phrases like Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Artificial intelligence have already made their way out of science fiction media and into our day-to-day dictionaries. Most of us spend considerable amounts of time on our phones, which are getting smarter by the minute. We’ve also got smart home appliances – TVs, microwaves, refrigerators, precision cookers and coffee machines connected to the Internet of Things and there to make our lives easier.
As most tech enthusiasts would put it – we live in the digital age now. And we, at FOME wholeheartedly agree with that. We’re surrounded by technology, have got very used to it, and living without the conveniences of Google, YouTube and Facebook seem impossible.
This is called an Emerging Tech Life Cycle – the progression of technology from an exciting innovation to something that everyone uses.
A look at the emerging tech lifecycle
When a new technology is first introduced, interest spikes through the roof. This is the point at which research investors typically get involved in emerging tech projects and developers get to really dive into things.
As the mass public gets wind of the possibilities, various influencers will tend to hype up the technology, posing numerous “What if?” questions. This is when mass pre-orders, unboxing videos and trending social media tags tend to happen. Generally, the prices will be at their all-time-high during this period
Trough of Disillusionment
Even though this doesn’t happen with every piece of technology, things will generally quiet down once the initial hype wave passes. People will realise that, even though new and exciting, this particular technology might not affect their own lives as much as they originally thought.
Slope of Enlightenment
As more and more big companies pick up the product, it slowly becomes more and more accessible, up to the point where everyone can have it. There is barely any hype now, coming only from the most die-hard brand loyalists and fans of the product.
Plateau of Productivity
If the technology turns out worthwhile (like smartphones did, for example), it lives to become an integral part of our everyday lives.
And while investors and while business owners and the public debate the risks and benefits of these emerging technologies, designers are preparing for the new user interfaces that these technologies will require.
Designers that tackle digital products and online experiences, for example, have to consider the rise of VR, which is being used more and more in the web design industry.
This experience, created to celebrate 50 years of Swiss Music Charts, is a good example of this in practice. It’s a VR website that maintains a strong desktop UX, a relatively new concept and therefore a fresh challenge within the world of digital design.
The introduction of biometrics to our smartphones is another example of this. Anybody with an iPhone 6 or higher will be familiar with the below Touch ID icon, which is used to prompt users to use their fingerprint to access protected data. Such an icon would never have been necessary on classic smartphones, and is, therefore, an example of how technological innovations create challenges for designers.
The future will no doubt give rise to more disruptive technology that will once again change the way we think about digital design. In fact, we’re usually privy to these breakthroughs beforehand – if we look hard enough.
Looking Forward: Thought Control and Holograms
This section of the blog might seem like science-fiction to some readers, but the technologies discussed have been heavily researched and could realistically materialise in the next decade or so.
One exciting example could be the rise of Brain-Computer Interfaces, which will allow users to interact with computers and other devices using thought alone. Much like the rise of ‘gesture’ interactions that touchscreen technology brought with it, Brain-Computer Interfaces could give way to a whole new brain-wave of interactions to design for…
Pun definitely intended.
And software innovations aren’t the only new technologies that designers will have to look out for.
Volumetric displays – or holograms as they’re more commonly known – represent another exciting and potentially paradigm-shifting technology for designers. If sufficiently implemented, this technology could be much more than science fiction; it could end up replacing computing displays and making standard hardware like keyboards and mice obsolete.
Changing the way that users experience computers and mobiles would provide a brand new challenge for a lot of stakeholders, but none more so than designers.
The last 20 or so years have seen a boom in digital innovation, creating new and exciting platforms for UX and UI designers to work with.
As new technologies continue to emerge, new interfaces and experiences have to be created to support them. At JBi, we know the importance of preparing for these advances, and our designers are ready to embrace the technology that we now see as science fiction.
Who knows, we might all be viewing this blog inside a contact lens by the time it’s published.
If you are looking for support on your digital project – whether it’s AR, VR, or just a good old website build – please don’t hesitate to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org