Design in 2018 – what will digital design look like?

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be running a series of prediction pieces on the future of design in 2018. First up, TH_NK design director Dan Bradshaw looks at what will happen in digital design over the next 12 months.

Dan Bradshaw, design director, TH_NK

What do you think 2018 will hold for digital design?

Emerging technology has given us so much to get excited about lately, and that will only continue in the coming year. At TH_NK we’re no longer simply designing for web-based interactions but for conversation – whether that is a Facebook chatbot or a voice assistant such as Amazon Echo. As these services start to become more anticipatory with advances in machine learning, customers’ expectations will demand for more personalised services and fewer interfaces. In this new world of smart, connected services, the ongoing challenge we all face is to create experiences that feel human but without the human interaction – all while staying true to the brand.

This year we’ll also see the continued rise of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). It’s still early days, but big tech companies are investing heavily in this space and we’re already starting to see some very cool and useful applications emerging. With this in mind, designers will need start thinking beyond the flat screen, embracing touch, sound and depth, as well as other physical and environmental factors. We need to evolve how we think about user interface (UI) design and the tools we use to keep up with its rapid change and adoption.

What was your favourite digital design project in 2017?

 

This is a tough one, as there have been lots of really inspiring VR, Web Graphics Library (WebGL) and well-crafted digital experiences over the past year. But for me, one standout project was the Google AutoDraw experiment. In some ways it takes things right back to basics with its simple sketching concept, but it has the added magic of machine learning to produce something very futuristic. It’s a little bit scary, but also incredibly exciting in terms of where this technology is capable of taking us.

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