Technology can be baffling for a lot of people, most of the time. While engineers and developers know all the quirks of software and hardware, people who are not in the industry have a hard time relating to it and even to the products that are based on it. That’s why UI designers have the difficult mission to translate all of that work into play, something easy to follow and great to look at. We met one of the top guys in the industry, James Haliburton, CEO of Topp, a Swedish design and innovation company, to get his perspective on where wearable design is heading and… the surprising (or not so much) tech company who’s taking the lead in design #mwc18 #ttllive
Remember the Samsung Gear S2? James and his team designed the interface. Since then, he’s been perfecting the craft by working on demanding and beautiful projects. Those came with its challenges, of course, since he’s seen a lot of tech companies jumping the gun without taking into consideration the value for the customer: “What we’re seeing now, which is great for design teams but really troubling for some technology companies is, as we’re moving towards IoT, data intelligence, is we’re going back to old engineering methodologies. Over the last couple of years, they’re shipping large-scale, expensive products and services and they’re not getting good results. So, it’s a challenge for them to find the design value [for the customer] before they spend 500 billion dollars developing something”.
That said, there’s one company that’s doing things right, according to James. Unsurprisingly perhaps, it’s Amazon. In the latest shopping experience – Amazon Go – they’ve managed to connect the UX in the store with the one in the app beautifully. Not to mention, they are currently leading the market of smart speakers and assistants.
The experiences Amazon is enabling, they’re [letting] developers and designers to build something new. Really, Amazon is running ahead
Before we go into trends with you guys, there’s one thing James said that really took us aback, in more ways than one. The CEO of Topp said, “If you look at Mary Poppins, you’ll see a lot of gestural technology, like Mary snapping her fingers. […] In one scene she speaks to a mirror and you see an avatar that replies back. […] Those magical scenes are what we’re starting to see today“. I never thought about the movie in that way and yet, once he said it, it made total sense!
So, if that’s what we’re seeing today, what is the future of UI going to look like?
Where should future designers look for inspiration? James believes that right now “what’s really interesting is what’s going on in the industrial and the commercial spaces. In those enterprise spaces, those organizations can create customized hardware, customized wearables. You get to create these tailored experiences with […] HUD displays and wearables, watches communicating information.”
Watch the entire interview above to see what’s next for Topp!
Topp is a Swedish enterprise that has been involved in drawing tech for automotive (Saab) but also mobile devices with biometric authentication (Tobii eye tracking for Windows Hello).