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Our future Selves

At South By Southwest this year, Topp held a workshop called “Our Future Selves” that explored how pervasive connectivity and data will impact our lives, how we will understand the world around us, and what questions designers might need to ask when creating future experiences.


Data gathered as part of a design and product development process, is becoming more than an analytics medium to enable incremental improvements in digital products. Using data this way is nothing new: many organisations have become adept at using insights from tracking services, such as Google analytics, and A/B testing to evaluate new solutions. It is common practice, especially in web development. With the trend of big data, more services and products are relying on data as a decision making tool in shaping services and experiences.

We believe we should use the growing number of data sources, no matter if they are from embedded sensors in Internet of Things products or from new online services, not only as evaluation tools, but as a way to create dynamic experiences based on real time data. Instead of treating data as something that another person in a company might manage, designers need to start thinking about data as a material to work with and as an aspect in their design process.

We should be asking: Does the designed experience hold up when you use real life data from users, sensors or other sources? Do you present your generated data in an engaging and informative way? These kinds of questions are becoming crucial, as data becomes a vital element in our products and services., so we have created a design+data framework of lenses as a tool to help you evaluate your product or service with respect to how data is integrated, and the impact it has on your users.

Hopefully, in trying to answer questions from different perspectives you’ll enable yourself to think about a broader set of aspects of the design, and the value data is providing for your users. 

How the Design+Data framework looks through three lenses: 
  1. Data as a material
  2. Understanding the data
  3. User in control

 Download the full report at Topp's Design+Data Lab






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James Haliburton


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