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CONTENTS new information environment trends OPEN SOURCE








design method for the future TECHNICAL PROTOTYPING


futurecast: new information environments of the future NEW CITY, NEW OPPORTUNITY


reflection LOOKING BACK


new information environment trends OPEN SOURCE • BIG DATA • SOCIAL MEDIA


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As the world changes and advances the ways humans interact, generate, and consume knowledge adapts and evolves. The following essays explore a designerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s role within emerging trends of these interactions and ends with a brief comparative analysis of the trends.

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Open source is often associated with programmers, hackers and directly linked to startup central, Silicon Valley. The open source model allows source code (text language a program is created in–the back-end of how software or websites work) to be open so that others can use, revise, or improve the program. It’s a great way to improve software quickly and collaboratively. Now, the open source model is for everyone and has evolved into a philosophy of collaboration and sharing information. Open lines of communication and sharing information is a main component of why open source works. When working with a diverse, large group of people, the outcome is usually efficient and successful solutions. More brains are better than one and a diverse perspective allows for unexpected solutions to surface. Building on the ideas of others and sharing information is made 6

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easier today through open source networks. Tim Brown, CEO of innovative design firm IDEO, is a proponent and example of how making content or ideas free and open allows for social innovation and helping others around the world. IDEO has released their own “Human-Centered Design Toolkit” for download. This toolkit involves various design and research methods that articulate ways of understanding the user to design for their needs. Teams in developing countries are able to empathize with the community by using these methods. One student from the Emily Carr University at Vancouver had an internship to work with women weavers in Rwanda. The original brief was to create a website to give exposure to the women, but the student quickly realized after talking with the women that they had little to no access to computers and the internet, so this was not the best solution. The student used IDEO’s toolkit and implemented a combination of methods including diary studies

It’s not important who came up with the idea, but how that idea can help others

and cultural probes to better understand what the women’s needs were. The end result had little to do with creating a website but how the women could make change in their community. Visualizing their needs through documentation and design thinking techniques allowed them to prioritize their actions. Giving the toolkits away for free shows that IDEO values how the idea can help others, and not the proprietary ownership of the idea. It’s not important who came up with the idea, but how that idea can help others. It’s not important who came up with the idea, but how that idea can help others Open source models also work for the science industry. In an interview with Karim R. Lakhani, an associate professor in the Technology and Operations Management unit at Harvard Business School, he explains that scientists willing to share their research and allow others to try and solve their problems are having success. Lakhani has done multiple research studies using open source methods with mathematicians and scientists with outcomes resulting in solving problems quicker and the person with the answer is often in an unrelated field. Designers are also embracing the open source movement. AtFab, which is associated with Filson and Rohrbacher, lets users download templates of furniture they can make themselves. The only “payment” is to sign up for an email list. This model encourages users to find local materials or reuse existing materials. It also emphasizes the DIY (Do It Yourself) culture that is becoming more popular today. This model could potentially create new jobs in areas and the prices for these items will probably be more affordable than buying them from a large <new information environment trends>


corporation. Of course, this model is not perfect as AtFab is not gaining any direct revenue, and it’s more of a side project for the company, but it’s a stepping stone to what the future of design and open source can create. Open source has also caught fire in the education field. Sites like Coursera offer education for free. Universities and professors throughout the world teach online courses for free, like Algorithms Part 1, from Princeton University. This trend of massive open online courses (MOOC’s) has brought up some concerns of the outcomes of these classes and the credibility of the courses being taught. There is no application process and this can harm the reputation of a university or the academic field in general by allowing anyone and everyone to take a course. Certification and passing grades keep the qualifications of certain career fields in check. Coursera’s model may help develop a successful platform as they offer courses from top universities. They have started to implement a Verification Certificate when users take a series of courses and pay a fee to become “certified.” Of course, this model is not without its bugs, but it does shed some light on what education will look like in the future. Open source is not supported by everyone. In the software and application industry, it has become a hairy problem with many conflicting opinions. The issue of protecting open source initiatives and deciding the flexible and scalable authorship standards has produced a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the open source system. The Open Source Initiative hopes to protect the open source systems and explain what the different licenses allow. 8

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Open source is a way of sharing ideas and collaborating in order to discover solutions that would not be found on our own

There is also the issue of monetizing when programmers are offering their products for â&#x20AC;&#x153;free.â&#x20AC;? The free open source model may not be suitable for every situation, as sometimes these situations produce buggy or complicated software as the developers did not have the time and money involved to create amazing software. For example, most visual designers use Adobe products as tools to create. I believe this software is necessary in allowing us to do our jobs well. We could use free software programs like InkScape or GIMP, but would these programs create the best outcomes?

Open source is a way of sharing ideas and collaborating in order to discover solutions that would not be found on our own. These ideals may be utopian in some contexts, but being able to share information so freely through the internet makes this an exciting time to live in. Open source is not the perfect model, but if used in the right way it can produce great things and help people around the world. />

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Petabytes, terabytes, exabytes; are the new form of

and plan for a better biodiversity index. This strategy

currency. Big data has grown rapidly in the past decade

has been implemented in Singapore, London, and

because collecting data has become an obsession

other major cities. A biodiversity index is a ratio of

and small storage technology has made it easy to

the optimal balance between green space to buildings

archive. People broadcast their lives online and that

and population. With the data collected, cities can

information is stored and mined by big corporations

calculate their biodiversity index to help them create

like Google or the government. Brands use this free

better places and environments to live followed by a

data to measure the success of their marketing goals

more sustainable future. This took over 10 years in

and to better understand their users. Hopefully the

Singapore, and happens through rethinking urban

average person begins to grasp big data and becomes

development. Creating spaces that balance both nature

part of the conversation, before we are exploited for

and man-made structures sustain growing urban

less-worthy causes.

living spaces by attempting to grow with the Earth, not destroy it. This is done by setting aside land for nature

How does this affect design? Designers have the

reserves, rooftop gardens, and preserving existing

capabilities and methods to make big data seem

green spaces. Working with scientists and analysts,

smaller and more palpable. We can synthesize and

designers can uncover other ways of applying data in

break down the data to find meaning. Designers can

beneficial ways.

help the average person utilize the power of data for their own benefit, or to better comprehend the

Shwetak Patel created a device called Zensi that detects

severity of a situation. Cities are using data to design

how much energy household devices use. Users can


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Cities can calculate their biodiversity index to help them create better places and environments to live followed by a more sustainable future

identify what appliances are sucking high amounts of electricity and have a clear picture of why their energy bill went up. This will make residents more aware of their energy consumption. They can understand their personal impact and realize their energy depletion in concrete numbers by sharing a visualization of this data with users. The security and privacy of data is an issue we need to consider. The hacker-activists of the Anonymous Group have made several examples of how unprotected and weak the security of big data storage is. They have hacked sites and databases in order to make a statement about the current systems. If these hackers can get into high profile databases, then anyone can. If the wrong person hacks into these systems the consequences could be a lot worse. Their latest infiltration was the website of the U.S. Sentencing Commission to avenge Aaron Swartz suicide (Swartz was under litigation for illegally downloading archives <new information environment trends>


and distributing them). The Anonymous Group created

and storytelling. One example of this is Periscopic’s

buzz and concern for the security of “private” data, and

infographic on Gun Violence in the US, 2013. By using

internet users should be aware of what information they

language such as “Stolen Years,” they give a different

are sending into those databases. As designers, we can

perspective on the data. They calculated the number of

help design systems of data privacy that work to benefit

years that would’ve been lived from each life that was

individuals as well as businesses. There can be a way of

taken. The speed of how the data is shown, slow at first

structuring privacy systems and data so that needs of

and then speeding up, also parallels the bullets of a gun

both parties are not compromised.

shooting out of the barrel. They give you a few specific examples so you comprehend the story of the data, and as

With all of this data, the people who want to use it are

it speeds up you see the volume of data. There is concern

going to need experts that are able to make meaning of

that fancy data visuals distract from the truth of the

the data and interpret it. Part of this process will require

facts, but as designers we need to uphold our reputation

data analysts and scientists, while designers have the

and make sure that the data tells an accurate story.

skills to create beautiful information displays that present the data in a way that is easy to comprehend. We

A designer’s ability to take quantified data sets and

can think of new ways to interpret and tell the stories

create interactive stories that juxtapose the meaning

besides the conventions of pie charts and bar graphs.

of the data with the numbers will help shape the future

By telling stories with the data, besides quantity, we

of big data. Designer’s can create meaning from all of

add a visual narrative that impacts the viewer on an

these numbers and display it in a way that is digestible

empathetic level. Big Data gives us new content to work

by anyone. We can bridge the gap between large data sets

with, and the advances in technology allow us to shape

and the common man allowing for everyone to learn

the data to create interactive, spatial information stories.

from and understand big data. />

A new career field of data visualization (heavily influenced by design) was manufactured due to of the amount of data collected and people asking what it means. Designers are able to give visual sense to large data sets through the use of visual narratives 12

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Big Data gives us new content to work with, and the advances in technology allow us to shape the data to create interactive, spatial information stories.

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I started using the micro-blogging social network,

Twitter, in 2010 just for fun. Then I became obsessed with it in 2011, where my experience with Twitter led to me to create a senior capstone project revolving around the benefits of Twitter. For me, it became a relevant news feed that kept me up-to-date on what I wanted to know. I curate and re-curate my feed based on what I am interested in during that time in my life. Twitter keeps me on my toes. The connectivity of the World Wide Web has allowed everyone and anyone to communicate. The digital birth of social networks has created new forms and ways of communicating that affect how people share and what becomes private and public conversation. Designers play a key role in communication, as they are often relaying a message from one party to another, and need to realize how social media is changing the way their users communicate. In the print era, and 14

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The digital birth of social networks has created new forms and ways of communicating

still today, designers made posters and printed marketing materials to relay a certain message from their client to the audience. It was crucial that the visual and textual language of the poster relay a clear, succinct message. Today, social media changes the ways we communicate and almost everything is done digitally. We as designers can communicate quickly and more directly through online tools, and this is a challenge to keep our audience interested among all the noise. If designers want to keep in touch with their audience, they need to keep up with social media. The Emerging Issues Commons at the Hunt Library on






is a great example of integrating social media, communication, and design. Second Story, a design firm out of Portland, created a space for open discussions about the issues citizens care about. The space is designated for social engagement and <new information environment trends>


accessing communication lines between citizens and government officials. Design was an integral part of this project, from the couches, interactive screens, information





visualizes the action coming from a Twitter feed. To me, this is a new interpretation of social media. Creating a comfortable, open space for communication creates an open avenue for important messages to get to the people who can take action. In IEI’s example, these suggestions and ideas are relayed to the appropriate government officials and leaders. The transformation of communication gives designers new opportunities to design interfaces that harness the new forms of conversation. There are many opportunities for sharing that are untapped, as we have just begun to explore the sharing of rich media. Designers are integral in shaping these experiences. Without design, the social networks we have today would not be easy to use and visually appealing. Integrating the user into the design system is enabled through social media. By engaging the user with products, they can share their story. The latest Nike Fuel and Nike Plus Ad campaigns are the type of sharing and socialization that can be extended in a product line. Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” campaign engages users to share their unique athleticism. Athletes uploaded videos of their skills and viewers voted on who was “better.” This type of competitive, consumer engagement may not directly result in an increase in revenue, but it helps build a brand experience that focuses on the user. Citizen journalism has also emerged from social networks. By creating open avenues of communication to global issues, designers can lend their skills and


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Social media and socia

communication lines op

a blessing and curse fo

al networks keep the

open, and this is both

or designers

talents to causes. For example, when the earthquake hit Japan, artists and designers donated art works to fund raise for those affected by the disaster. This campaign probably would not have been as successful without the publicity and rapid spread that occurred through social networks. Action through these networks has also proven that social media is faster at carrying news and updates than publicly broadcasted news. Citizens can alert each other where a natural disaster has hit in real time, while the news has more steps to complete their story. However, this does not always spread the truth as rumors have circulated creating some chaos in whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s true and whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not. Bringing designers closer to their users affords stronger connections between products and people. This user-centered design generates products and services that perform well because they are created with the end user in mind. Social media and social networks keep the communication lines open, and this is both a blessing and curse for designers. />

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language of product experiences exposes the

purposes and values of the product or service. The visual and written language as well as the structure of a product are all evidence of the motivation and purpose of the product. The trends of open source, social media, and big data have different motives behind their products and this is shown through the interface. In open source programs like WordPress plugins, the Noun Project, and FOAP , thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a common expectation to rate credibility of products and authors which helps curate and filter content. Users of Wordpress plugins trust the opinions of others who are downloading the plugin and the developers submitting them. The Noun Project trusts the users to give proper licensing citations and designers to contribute quality icons.


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The language of product experiences exposes the purposes and values of the product

Within these examples, specific touch points expose

FOAP focuses on monetary values, exemplified

the goals or motives of the products determined by

by constantly pushing users to rate photos in

the creators gaining from the use of these products.

order to be put on the market and sold. Some of

For WordPress plugins, ease of use is not critical as

these products have selfish motives while others

the instructions and navigation within the plugin

exemplify a more communal outlook.

websites can be repetitive or lack hierarchy. This that

Social media products thrive on active contributors

navigation is not a priority, but having a variety

and an engaged community. These platforms create

of plugin solutions from different developers is

space for user-generated content to be shared,

important. These seemingly minute details give

broadcasted, and remixed. There are various levels





evidence of the main purposes behind this type

of engagement ranging from 6 second videos on Vine,

of open source platform and how the design of the

to spatial environments allowing engagement and

system can affect the usability. A template is set up for the plugin creators, but how they use this template

sharing at a local level, as the Institute for Emerging Issues Commons (IEI Commons) at Hunt Library

does not seem to be important to WordPress. They

does. The IEI commonsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; goal is to enable engagement,

value variety and number of plugins offered versus

share and start important conversations about how

the ease of use of each individual plugin site. This

to make North Carolina a better state. The Commons

also uncovers the level of expertise expected of the

have multiple touch screens, a large gesture based

userâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;it is not friendly to novice users.

screen, and videos that play the audio when you are seated on their curved, cushioned benches. The 15

The Noun Project focuses on sharing icons and

foot by 10 foot interactive screen allows viewers to

giving proper credit or payment to the designers

learn facts and figures related to North Carolina.

of the icons. Their model values contributors and

The smaller screens, which act as tables, allow the

their attention to the design of the interface shows they want to give their users high quality products and experiences. The website is easy to navigate, search, and elegantly displays icons. The

They value what the user can make and show this by creating a simple, invisible, easy to use interface.

Noun Projectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s model could take away from potential design projects that require

viewer to have a more intimate experience by giving

personalized icons. If they can buy an icon for

their suggestions to improve North Carolina related

$5, than the need for hiring designers to create

to specific themes. The commons have created a

customized icons may disappear. This is a potential

space where viewers can interact, learn, and engage

consequence of many open source models, and leads

with the content.

to designers constantly adapting and changing to make sure their value is understood in the market.

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These social platforms gain traction when the user is curious and pushes the limits. For example, Vine’s constraints have resulted in a Vine Roulette where a user can post 6 seconds of options and when one of their followers clicks on the Vine Roulette to pause the loop, that is the “choice” they make. Vine did not expect this to happen or tell users to use the platform in this way–users experimented with the format and constraints to produce a new way of using Vine. Vine encourages the user to explore and challenge what can be filmed in six seconds. They have set parameters of 6 seconds, recording sound, and the ability to create stopmotion animations. Users are accepting this challenge with open arms and pushing the possibilities. Vine’s ease of use and constraints allow the user to experiment. Viners have created cut paper stop-motion animation shorts or 6-second time lapse videos, as well as the Vine Roulette I mentioned above. Showing high-rated clips gives the Viners inspiration to create their own works of art. They value what the user can

It allows the viewer to digest different moments within the data visualization and curate their own interpretation of the data make and show this by creating a simple, invisible, easy to use interface. The Institute for Emerging Issues Commons is a place to share ideas, engage, and start important conversations about how to make North Carolina a better state. Their main goal is community engagement, which can be difficult if citizens are self-conscious or if the feedback loop lacks affirmation of value. The space includes comfortable couches to relax and learn more about North Carolina, as well as interactive tables allowing citizens to express ideas, concerns, and suggestions. The commons are an intimate, communal space catering to social interactions. 20

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Posting personal content often evokes a self-conscious,

using cool colors and displaying that information

hesitant moment for the user. Submitting personal

first. The insurgent casualties are warm, dirty colors

thoughts, feelings, or statuses creates expectations for

and listed second. These codings and hierarchical

some type of feedback. Social media has become rampant

decisions hint to who created this visualization and

and sharing in multiple ways gives users’ a feeling of

why. It was created by a scientist who spent time with

connectedness–being a part of something larger.

US soldiers in Afghanistan and wanted to expose in numbers how many civilians were being killed. He

The mass amounts of information involved in data

obviously is biased to an American’s perspective on

visualizations are not always minimized when you

this data as well as a US soldiers’ perspective based

first look at them. They involve spending time with

on his formal and hierarchical decisions.

the visualization to experience the various levels of information. The layout of data often points to

In all of these experiences, their creators value the

its motives and goals. Google Maps iPhone app, the

engagement of the viewer. These systems would

Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan 2009-2010, and the Census Dot Map 2010-2011 all include macro

not be valuable in creating dialogue or sharing

and micro views. They explore spatial relationships

levels of complexity in each experience, but they all

as well as relationships between variables. In the

allow the viewer to filter how much information is

Civilian Casualties example, viewing the dots

seen at once. Viewing information at a macro and

(representing casualties) from above, inside, or

micro scale is repeated throughout, but treated

from the side creates a visual metaphor of bodies

differently depending on the context and motives.

falling from the sky. They can be viewed in relation

The subtleties in visual and written languages of

to each other, the area they were killed in, and

each experience shed light on who created these

the type of casualty. All of these applications

things and why. Users and viewers should learn to

have different levels of difficulty in navigating

understand these subtleties to make well informed

information. These different levels of information

opinions and decisions on which services to use or

allow for different entry points for the viewer. It

what information to believe. Anyone can spin a story

also allows the viewer to digest different moments

for their own benefit, but it can be useful to see past

within the data visualization and curate their own

the spin and make your own decisions. They also have

interpretation of the data. The Civilian Casualties

a visual language that adds to the story. The visual

rotates and flips when scrolling and Google Maps

language depends on the creator’s motives and the

zooms in an illogical way creating a confusing,

goal for the experience with users. />

knowledge if no one viewed them. There are different

spatial relationship with the navigator. Distancing the context and content of the data is most apparent in the Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan. The array of dots creates a spectaclelike representation of harmed or dead humans. The military casualties look calmer, less negative by <new information environment trends>


design method for the future


<design method for the future>

Designers are directly affected by innovations in technology as it changes the tools we use as well as the types of things we design. The future of the design process and methods used will undoubtedly change and adapt to the environment. The following is a proposed design method of the future.

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Technical Prototyping is a method of testing different

The communication resulting from this method

technologies within the prototyping phase by reaching out

will afford designers to broaden their technological

to a network of technology and developer experts (Techies).

vocabulary. It will also encourage experimentation

These Techies would be motivated to contribute in hopes

and help generate new technologies or new uses for

of becoming part of the implementation of the project.

technologies. In this phase of the design process

Social media tools and big data will help designers to

designers and Techies may be creating things that ask

connect with potential Techies.

for technologies that do not exist yet. This will curate a time to try new things and invent new technology

Digital technologies and software change rapidly and it

to fill the need of the designerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s idea. Designers and

is difficult for designers to be able to determine which

Techies often have to experiment and test things out

software, programming language, etc. will be the best

to find kinks or because they are attacking a problem

to use until you test it out or until you get too far into

and investigating it in an area that has no precedents.

production to turn back. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s extremely difficult to have

The science lab culture of this method will allow for

a complete knowledge of all programming languages,

collaboration and opportunities to combine design

CMS systems, and technology that exists. Reaching out

and technology to creatively explore and solve

to a broad audience will allow the designer to dip into

problems brought forth by designers. By science lab

the common knowledge of experts. This will take the

culture I mean an atmosphere where experiments and

burden off the designer to be tech savvy and allow for

tests are encouraged. People testing their hypothesis

technologies to be recontextualized and more widely

of what could happen. The experiments and tests


could inform solutions to more pragmatic issues.


<design method for the future>

Having access to each other will hopefully encourage

how the prototype should work and the user’s intended

experimentation and help them learn each other’s

role. Posting this proposal to a network of Techies will

languages. This exchange will also foster a closer

allow them to comment, build, discuss, and suggest

relationship between designers and Techies, allowing

possible technological solutions to implement in the

them to focus on their expertise, but appreciating

prototype. After this dialogue takes place, the next

each other’s expertise.

phase will involve building out working prototypes utilizing different technologies, which would be done







by the Techies as they have the skills and knowledge to

prototyping phase. Through prior research, mapping

make the prototypes work. Based on these prototypes

and ideation, designers will produce a prototype at the

the designers will use methods of user-testing. From

phase of being “usable” which may still be at a low-fi or

there, the designer can advance in the design process

wireframe-like stage. They would post their wireframe

with one Techie in order to implement their chosen

online and reach out to a network of Techies and the

technologie(s). The chosen Techie will be the best

Techies will follow with suggestions or questions

fit for the designer based on experience, skills, and

in order to clarify the needs for the wire-framed

possibly personality type based on first impressions

prototype. This will allow for multiple opinions to be

from the designer.

heard, giving the designer different options to weigh, or ideally come to a consensus on the best form of

Some challenges to be aware of in this method are

technology to use.

motivation of Techies to participate, and being able to build rapid prototypes. To motivate Techies to

Designers using this method must be willing to share

participate the system could set up a monetary reward

their ideas early on in the process, and have access to

model. Designers could contribute a fee for each project

a network of trusted and skilled Techies, and ability to

they upload. The fees could be distributed to Techies

cooperate with programmers and technologists. The

that contribute to projects. Also, a trusted network of

system will have an encouragement badge system to

knowledgeable Techies must be established in order

motivate designers to submit ideas. Having a positive

for this method to succeed. Designers must be willing

affirmation that makes this process fun yet serious

to share their ideas in process and communication

will encourage an open exchange. Chatting and easy

between all stakeholders must be clear and open in

to use communication tools embedded in the network

order for this method to work well. Communication

will allow for clear communication of ideas between

tools including chat and video chat will be embedded


in the network to ensure that the opportunity for communication is readily available. />

The designer will pitch a clear sketch of proposed prototype and describe affordances and requirements of technology needed. Techies can also pitch their own ideas and ask designers for their skills to help in developing their prototype. They will clearly outline

<design method for the future>


futurecast: information environments of the next generation


<futurecast: new information environments of the future>

A future-fiction story of one girlâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s experience in a new city. Explores the possibilities of technology and new information environments of the future.

<futurecast: new information environments of the future>



the best place to get a java jolt around here?

I come from a place that specialized in coffee, so I’m

“Most of my friends actually like Java the Hut. I haven’t been there but I’m sure it’s worth trying.”

willing to pay for good coffee,” asked Kelsey, a young girl dressed in a geometric, flashing skirt and the new

Elizabeth just ran into Kelsey on the street. Kelsey

HIDEntity glasses, the latest trends from Voguefied.

is new to the city and attending the Raleigh based education hub. She’s getting her second masters in

“Hmmm, well the Jolterator has pretty good coffee.

Visual Art. Elizabeth was once a newcomer, so she can

Although, I’m not much of a coffee drinker. Let me

relate to Kelsey’s culture shock and uneasiness about

ask my friends.” Elizabeth replied, gawking at Kelsey’s

being in a new place.

outrageous outfit, flickering lights and all. “So where do you live? We should get together this Elizabeth pulls out her mobile wrist companion,

Saturday, maybe for brunch? Then I will have time

Wristified and broadcasts a message requesting

to tell you more about the city and help you get


familiarized.” said Elizabeth.

response from


close friends,

specifically ones who enjoy coffee. She asks her Wristified, “Best coffee place near me! Hurry up!” It

“I live a few hundred meters from here, so not too far.

shows her who is the best match for that question and

Saturday would be great! I will send you an invite, hold

she pinpoints them to answer quickly. Within a couple

up your wrist please.” Elizabeth holds up her wrist

minutes, Elizabeth is pinged with several answers.

exposing her Wristified. Kelsey presses a button then thinks about what time they should meet and where.


<futurecast: new information environments of the future>

She randomizes the restaurant selection and decides 10:00 am would be good, as it’s open in Elizabeth’s schedule. The randomizer chooses Brunch Bunch and Elizabeth’s calendar receives the date. They both part ways on their hover discs. Kelsey makes a mental note of Elizabeth; her aura, face, and tone of voice. This information is saved to the scheduled date as well as Kelsey’s contact list. This allows Kelsey to attach these characteristics to Elizabeth’s contact info in case she needs to be reminded of Elizabeth’s personality before they meet up again. Kelsey double checks the customer ratings of Java the Hut to make sure it’s the place she should go for coffee. She pulls out a slim screen on her Wristified and looks up ratings. The shop is rated very highly among Java Fiends, Java Junkies, and Java Snobs, so it must be a good place. She selects Java the Hut and her Wristified spouts off directions on how to get there. Kelsey hops on her hover disc and floats to

The mirrored lenses

the coffee shop.

generate a shield that blurs

Kelsey locks up her hover-disc using an encrypted

Kelsey’s face, so her defining

code to magnetize the disc to the parking space. She enters the coffee shop and everyone looks up from their tables to see who’s entering. Kelsey feels too exposed and decides to put on her HIDEntity glasses. The mirrored lenses generate a shield that blurs Kelsey’s face, so her defining characteristics can not

characteristics can not be seen while she is wearing the glasses.

be seen while she is wearing the glasses.The HIDEntity glasses allow people to go to public spaces and remain mostly anonymous. Ubiquitous systems are recording video constantly in public spaces, and the glasses allow users to opt out of this documentation. It also lets others know that you need some privacy and do not want to be disturbed.

<futurecast: new information environments of the future>


She walks to the counter to order a double non-fat Java

limited her view to a couple elements at a time. When

Jam and a Gooey Chewy Brownie. She settles into a

she was done reading she flicked them to the side. If

cozy corner to enjoy her snack and learn more about

she wanted to view them later, she swiped them to her

the city. The table she sits at has an online, interactive

Wristified allowing her to save this information and

screen and activity feed to see what people are doing

have it for reference when she’s mobile.

in the coffee shop. This feed encourages inhabitants of the shop to find common interests among each

A map of the city came up with the places recommended

other and engage in dialogue if desired. Kelsey

for Kelsey, and she quickly noticed that the city was

decides to hide her current activity for now based on

very small, but had a lot going on. She pinged a couple

the welcome she received.

places to check out later, and decided she wanted to listen to music. She tapped the online radio button that

Kelsey notices the lack of verbal conversation in the

synced up to her headphones, which were tiny devices

coffee shop, everyone seems to be talking through

discretely planted in her ears. Her headphones acted

mind swaps or sitting alone reading or chatting

like tiny speakers which she could remove at any time,

virtually. Kelsey is used to having verbal conversations,

using them to talk with someone or listen to music.

which are considered antiquated now. She looks around

She sipped her java and listened to some local bands.

at the people in the shop and most of them hide their identities with glasses, but allow for their information

A young man wearing last month’s solar powered

be displayed through the coffee shop’s activity feed.

sweat suit comes up to Kelsey’s table and asks, “Do

The atmosphere of this particular shop is anonymity of

you mind if I sit here?”

actual identity but transparency of digital activity. Choose your own adventure The table sensed she is new and brought up a resource with information about the city. The resource gathered

Kelsey allows him to sit at table ---> page 32

information from all types of users, newbies, locals, natives, and visitors. The table matched up some

Kelsey does not allow him to sit at table ---> page 33

interests of Kelsey and showed her concert venues, restaurants, and shopping centers. It also displayed

Kelsey leaves the coffee shop ---> page 34

nightlife opportunities and special events. Kelsey was exhausted at all this information, so the system

Everyone seems to be talking through mind swaps or sitting alone reading or chatting virtually 30

<futurecast: new information environments of the future>

<futurecast: new information environments of the future>


Kelsey allows him to sit at table “Ummm, sure. Let me move my things,” replies Kelsey as she removes her HIDEntity glasses. The young man sits down and takes out a small stylus. He pulls up a written document he’s been working on, and starts editing through the interactive table surface. Kelsey notices he’s working on some sort of text that includes dialogue, and she is intrigued as she has been writing frequently. She asks, “Excuse me, what are you working on?” “Oh, I’m writing a short story for my creative writing class. Do you want to take a look? I could use some feedback.” “Sure! What’s the context it’s written in?” “Well, it’s basically a creative fiction story with no purpose. I’m trying to be ironic and I’m not sure if it’s working. Here, use the stylus to make corrections,” he explains as he passes her his stylus and changes its color. Kelsey reads his short story and gives her perspective. The two discuss his story until they have to leave. They exchange contact information and decide to keep in touch in case either of them need outside feedback on their school work. Kelsey felt discouraged and lonely in her first few days of being in a new city, but now that she’s met a few locals, she realizes she needs to be open to new opportunities and not lose hope too quickly. Hiding her identity may result in missing out on potential conversations and relationships. Sometimes the convenience of technology can inconvenience the humanity of connecting with others. />


<futurecast: new information environments of the future>

Kelsey does not allow him to sit at table Kelsey replies, “Umm, no actually, um I’m waiting for someone.” Kelsey lies as she doesn’t want to be friendly or bother with small talk. Afraid to open up and engage with a stranger, Kelsey may have missed out on a potential friend. />

<futurecast: new information environments of the future>


Kelsey leaves the coffee shop “Well, I’m actually about to leave, so you can have the table,” explained Kelsey as she gathered her dishes and got up. Kelsey left the coffee shop in search of another place to explore. Maybe the atmosphere of the coffee shop wasn’t what she had hoped for. Exploring a new city takes time and trying new things until you figure out how to make a strange place familiar. />


<futurecast: new information environments of the future>

<futurecast: new information environments of the future>


reflection: looking back


<reflection: looking back>

Through this class I am beginning to understand how interwoven these trends are. Some trends seem to be the driving force behind other trends, for example quantified self is a form of big data which uses interfaces and the ubiquity of sensors to collect the data. Design has an integral role in all of these trends, but sometimes the specifics of that role are still to be determined. Yes, we can make things look pretty, but we can also help in the strategic part of planning new uses for technology or incorporating these trends in different ways. These trends also reveal the importance and need of multidisciplinary teams. Many of these trends do not have precedents or are using new technology. Being able to work on a diverse team allows for creative and innovative things to emerge from the variety of perspectives. Throughout this semester I’ve learned that it’s not the designer’s role to force our knowledge and skills into a problem but to find opportunities where our expertise can help create a better solution. Finding these opportunities expects designers to stay on top of new cultural, social, and technology trends. We have to understand what’s going on in the world in order to offer our skills appropriately and affect change. One of the challenges with these new trends is being able to explain and persuade others to understand the importance of what we do. We live in an age where everyone is a designer if they have the right tools, which will become everyone is a programmer or everyone is a user experience designer. In order to keep up the design field will continue to adapt and change as we have always done. Now and in the future we will become well-rounded in our knowledge and skills and aware of the change with the environment around us. Being a designer in a time of change and growth is exciting and challenging. I’m glad that I am able to adapt and grow as a designer and I hope I can keep up. <reflection: looking back>


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