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January 2018

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 jan 2018

Design evolves with time and new trends become visible accordingly. Here are 5 design trends that are expected to make a mark in 2018: (1) Explained Algorithms: For the last couple of years artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have been most talked about in technology. Tech companies often kept the algorithms secret as protected IP. But now, considering the role of AI in serious decision-making situations, the need for openness and transparency in algorithms is becoming necessary. In this regard, AI community initiated the field of computer science termed as 'Explainable AI (XAI)'. David Gunning of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is building a system on XAI. This new field commits itself to make algorithms more accountable as their use involves sensitive user data. XAI expects to ensure that the relationship between technology and users is built on trust by explaining the working of AI and machine learning in critical decision-making. (2) Less Minimalism: Anti-consumerist in principle and aesthetically pleasing in practice approach to design, called minimalism, that has been at the forefront of design through lifestyle tidying guru Marie Kondo's life-changing concepts, will see a shift. More color and bolder concepts will bring new freshness. In home decor world, companies have replaced cleaned-lined Scandinavian design with chunky, gilded, colourful pieces. Online, people are celebrating ugly design with Tumblrs and Instagrams dedicated to a glittering and gaudy aesthetic. (3) Optimal Use of Technology: Excessive use of technology, specifically social media, has started taking its toll. User well-being is the new technology design mantra, as compared to the user time-spent. The idea is to build apps and technology that quietly augment our lives, not commander it. Some people who are propagating this 'Calm Tech' movement are former Xerox Parc employees Mark Weiser, Rich Gold, and John Seely Brown, who literally wrote the book on calm tech. Tristan Harris, an ex-Google ethicist, is also attempting to loosen technology's excessive grip on our attention spans through technology and app re-design. (4) No More Boring Hardware: New trends are beginning to surface in technology product design hardware, as compared to the typical - cold glass, shiny plastic, blunt shapes. Gadgets are now an inherent part of our living spaces and how they are designed influences the look and feel of our living environment. Some examples in this direction include Google's new smart speakers that were covered in a layer of soft polyester that came in white, grey, and a warm salmon hue and Microsoft Surface Pro tablet with a keyboard covered in teal and maroon Alcantara, the stain-resistant fabric that's used in luxury vehicles. (5) More Inclusive Design: Earlier products were often designed for an average user with a concept - 'If you design for everyone, you'll exclude no one.' But it is now changing and 'Inclusive' design ideas are becoming prominent. Companies like Microsoft and Google are developing a new design process that considers the problems of underserved populations as a lens for designing more thoughtful products and experiences for everyone. The idea is that by building products that are accessible to people with special needs, you're building better products. Read on...

GIZMODO: 5 Design Trends We'd Like To See More Of This Year
Author: Liz Stinson


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