Gadi Amit, founder and principal designer of the San Francisco firm NewDealDesign, kicked off the inaugural Designers of Things (DoT) conference here in San Francisco, setting off a discussion that echoed throughout the day of Internet of Things (IoT), wearables, and 3D printing panels and presentations: matching rational (or business) factors to emotional (or human) factors as we progress with design.
Amit has a deep personal perspective on the subject from his work on iconic products, including the FitBit, the Lytro Camera, and Google's modular and 3D printed Ara phone.
What he notes in our wearable progression thus far is data versus experience. Google Glass, as an example, is excellent work in product development but offers the wearer a less than smooth user experience, often putting the design emphasis on the collection of data, not the quality of use.
“The biggest challenge we have is moving away from 'smart' devices to 'wise' devices,” he said. It's not enough to collect data; there's a need to analyze that data for the benefit of the user to create a truly personalized device.
Part of what's holding designers back in creating more personal designs is a loss of “the wisdom of the hands.” As we've moved more toward CAD and application-intensive design, and away from simple sketches and modeling with physical materials, the argument could be made that we've lost some of the craftsmanship that comes with designing more-than-commodity products.
Amit discusses the benefits of designing with one's hands as we stand at the cusp of a new era in design, as well as taking a more positive stance on design accomplishments, personalization in wearables, and inspiration in the following short video.
This article was originally published on EBN sister publication EDN.