We no longer live in a disconnected world. Ubiquitous, flexible communication has become the norm. We are living in huge device ecosystems, whose complexities are increasingly challenging to perceive. At frog, we’re passionate about designing products that are meant to advance the human experience. That’s why we’re excited about helping to shape the future of the Internet of Things (IoT). There are over 200 billion connected devices estimated to be a part of the IoT by 2020. We need to participate in helping to create these next waves of connected devices, bringing our skills as designers to bear on creating meaningful solutions.
At this year’s HOW Design Live, I was able share some of the tools we use to create design solutions for connected devices, in collaboration with Jennifer Dunnam, a senior interaction designer from our New York studio. Our session, entitled “Off the Page, Into the Wild: Designing for the Internet of Things,” was focused around sharing three tools that Jennifer and I use as part of our design work. These tools included mapping out device ecosystems, creating device behaviors, and imagining stories that show these behaviors in the context of people’s lives. We also had a bit of fun with some “IoT theater,” demonstrating how connected devices function with 10 beach balls and some role-playing.
In our talk, we underscored that the most valuable aspect of the IoT is the human element. The IoT today is not just intelligent kegerators and Nest. And it’s more than simply a network of connected objects, or connectivity for connectivity’s sake. The relationships we have with this vast array of soon-to-be-connected objects, and the emotional qualities that we imbue into how these objects converse with us, must be considered and thoughtfully designed around human needs. This is the frontier we are now charting and exploring.