Our work must reflect the fact that we’re not a fully digital society just yet

Excitement is mounting in the creative community about the imminent launch of the iPad in the UK.

Those who, like the Design Week team, have already sampled Apple’s latest gizmo are sold on it. Meanwhile, publishers are convinced it will revolutionise publishing, providing a new online platform for ’freemium’ or paid-for content.

The iPad is a rare example of sizing up that counters Hugh Pearman’s opinion, voiced in Private View last week, that bigger things are to be discouraged. It is big enough for users to read, view and interact with content, rendering the most generous mobile phone screen a tad inadequate in comparison for all but simple messages and alerts.

The iPad won’t, of course, be to everyone’s taste – another Marmite moment in design – but we can guarantee that ere long it will take its place alongside the iPhone in design studios across the land. The danger for designers though is that they assume that early uptake goes beyond their own community and that iPads are readily adopted by the public at large. Such is their enthusiasm for new communication platforms.

Similar assumptions about the uptake of technology are evident in our Voxpop respondents this week. Asked about creating the perfect election system, most opted for an online approach, thus disenfranchising the thousands of voters who currently don’t have access to a computer.

It would be great if the UK was 100 per cent online, but until it is we need to look at a different way of dealing with the shortfall of the existing voting system. How do you keep the folksy elements of the church-hall booth so many people say they love and instill greater efficiency into the system?

It’s a classic service design poser, but how would you handle it? How do you design for democracy? Answers on an e-mail please.

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