During this year Dutch Design Week – completely virtual thanks to Corona – four leading figures in the digital design world shared their ideas on the future of digital design and its contribution to the different aspects of life that (will) make a real difference to our future. Presented by Dutch digital design
– a collective of Dutch agencies and brands sharing and celebrating the best of Dutch digital work.
Enjoy reading our report from the DDW Talks live roundtable between Harald Dunnink – Founder and Creative Director of the Strategic Design Agency Momkai and the flawless online news platform The correspondent, Luna Maurer – co-founder and interactive design partner Studio nickname, Jeroen van Eijk – founder and CEO of the production invention laboratory Handmade, and Michiel Knoppert – Creative Director Advanced User Experience at Dell. All beautifully moderated by Emily Hinks, founder of the facilitation agency Malice makers.
How do you enter this discussion?
Harald would like to share his vision on the future of something he calls limb design. At Momkai, we no longer talk about user experiences. They think it’s too generic, calling them users. They prefer to call them members and offer them meaningful member experiences. To give these members a reason to subscribe. To a membership that supports the cause. The Correspondent digital information platform is a prime example.
Luna agrees with Harald’s point about the generic term users. In all of the work created by Studio Moniker, they aim to ensure that users are participants. Invite people to participate in a fun environment. Add a human aspect to the digital environment. But with a focus on more serious aspects / issues in life, raise awareness. Luna illustrates this with one of their projects called Paperstorm – putting virtual flyers on a Google map supporting the cause of net neutrality.
Michiel comes from a more technological angle. At Dell’s Advanced User Experience Lab, they like to look ahead, to see what might be needed in 5-10 years. Develop prototypes that can be transformed into a real project or product. For example, AR can give us the opportunity to create a better, more beautiful view of how things might work – by trying, failing, and trying again. To see another Work habits. For example, they looked at the evolution of interfaces. To reconnect by making your interface experience more human.
Jeroen’s angle is also based on technology. At Handmade, they explore future products by bringing different experiences to life. Their way of testing a product before it is manufactured. For example, with regard to the automobile industry, they look at the future of cars, including sustainability and mobility. Designers can examine and solve all of these issues with today’s digital technology and try to design the perfect car.
It is a time of great change. What changes do you see related to your job, in response to everything that is going on right now?
“The Internet is no longer an open network. People don’t really browse the web anymore.
~ Luna Maurer – Studio nickname
Luna feels that we are moving towards a closed internet governed by large social networks. As a result, people’s mentality has changed and the market is saturated. She feels that the Internet is politically charged and would like to raise awareness of how to position itself in such a saturated environment.
Harald agrees. His mission and that of Momkai is therefore to create spaces of calm online. Be constructive and help each other, rather than sowing division. An online experience should trigger meaningful behavior and be more than just using your mouse and looking at your screen.
When you look to the future, are you optimistic or pessimistic?
“Apparently 55% of our non-verbal communication is now missing. “
~ Jeroen van Eijk – Handmade
Our more tech-oriented panelists Jeroen and Michiel believe designers should always consider both sides of the coin. Their goal should be to do good with technology. However, in order to do that, they also need to consider the down side of what this technology might bring.
For example, 5G has incredible potential. It offers many possibilities to create products using data streaming. These products need 5G bandwidth. However, on the other hand, it could also be used as a spy tool. It is the responsibility of the designers to consider both sides.
Michiel adds that technology has allowed us to work from home, has allowed us to adapt to a new normal. However, we are now all thirsty for contact. We suffer from “zoom fatigue”. We miss human contact because we are humans after all.
Our future – what role do you think digital design / technology has in this?
“We spend 2.5 hours a day looking for information on any device. “
~ Michiel Knoppert – Advanced User Experience Lab at Dell
The future that Michiel wants is that digital technology – such as AI – will allow us to better manage our days. To have us deliver the desired information. It will save us time and give us more time to focus on other things.
Luna thinks we need a change. Change in today’s digital climate. Demand new non-finance-driven business models that can recreate a truly public digital space.
In today’s digital world, we want everything to go faster and run smoothly. Luna thinks it’s time to do the opposite: design obstacles and create the unexpected, always combined with fun. She compares Google Quick Draw – a completely safe and never inappropriate doodling tool – with Studio Moniker’s “donotdrawapenis” doodling platform where the algorithm created by them will always spot a penis in everything.
What do you think of the relationship between the digital world and the physical world? How do you see this development in the coming years?
Jeroen begins by saying that the Internet is everywhere and therefore the need for physical products is decreasing. However, he believes that we should always focus on the people who use a product. What is their need? Therefore, most things should exist in both worlds. Products need to be smart and meaningful, not just practical.
Our goal, Harald says, should always be to bring people together, to connect. Therefore, when starting a business, we should always write down our principles and consider obstacles first. Momkai’s goal is to aim for minimal data collection in any project: both an obstacle but also a Momkai principle. We shouldn’t focus on selling the data we collect, but let the members control the data and thus create an online space of calm. Without feeling tracked down.
What’s your only piece of advice when it comes to “shaping tomorrow”?
“It’s a great gift to be able to design something from scratch. “
~ Harald Dunnink – Momkai / The Correspondent
Jeroen: exploit all kinds of technologies in order to allow rapid “design by making”, with as little as possible as quickly as possible
Michiel: take nothing for granted. To force yourself to look at things with new eyes and learn something new each time.
Moon: put your device away. Force yourself to be without, without technology. Provoke and feel friction in order to feel how you would like things to be.
Harald: Always consider your moral compass, what you believe in, and make those ideas tangible.
Intrigued and inspired by the discussion above, take a look at the full video here: https://vimeo.com/475174280