In an age where originality is hard-currency or rather soft currency. Everything that starts with “mass” is seen as a gust from the past. Designers are what often stands between market success and failure. It is an environment where intuition and preferences should be fed with a pleasant experience, not like before when everybody was offered more of the same thing as everybody else. This means that the image of the starving artist of 20th Century is changing. Since endless opportunities for a very prosperous future in the business world both as an employee or as an independent designer company startup is waiting to be explored. A Gartner Research report shows that 89% of the companies believe that customer experience will be their primary basis for competition by 2016, versus 36% four years ago. In this spirit, design studies are the main road to open up these extraordinary opportunities of the digital age.
Little more than a decade ago, a new dimension of design thinking was launched when Steve Jobs introduced its coming revolution on the mobile phone market. The iPhone did not only offer a new design and integration of new functionality, but it also worked to redesign human behaviour. Tania Lombrozo is a psychology professor at the University of California, writes the following about the smartphone technology to revolutionize behavioral science: “That’s because, for the first time in human history, a large proportion of the species is in continuous contact with technology that can record key features of an individual’s behaviour and environment.” Research projects like a study with more than 12 000 participants that twice every day should report their mood and location in an Android app with additional information collected with the phone’s location sensors, has already been finished. But more advanced research is on the way in order to study “how different experiences, behaviours and environments relate to each other and evolve over time, with the potential to improve people’s productivity and well-being in a variety of domains”, Professor Lombrozo writes.
A team from Erasmus University in Rotterdam has tested how the unconscious brain responds to art. The results show that if we are being told that an image is an artwork or not we automatically change our response, either by upgrading or downgrading the emotional experience. The research method was based on two experiments with 24 students. They were asked to evaluate pictures, some of the real events and some of the artworks, both pleasant and unpleasant in character, while their brain activity was measured via an EEG. After watching all the images the students rated them according to attractiveness. The results show that: “They were able to show that the amplitude of this stimulus was much greater when participants had been told that the picture was real, as against when they were told it was a work of art.” Works of art were also considered more likeable that than real images. This tends to give support to an over 200-year-old theory of art that origins from the philosopher Immanuel Kant in his Critique of Judgement.
Designing for interaction with a focus on user-experience and originality is an equation that forms one of the main foundations for future success. Soft currency in the meaning of human adaptation and personalisation makes humanism the ideology of this playground.
Also published on Medium.