Design of tomorrow

How can we experience mobile applications in a more emotional and personalised way?

A researcher and a banker reflect on the meaning of design in the digital age.

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Dr. Fabian Hemmert – Research through design

Dr. Fabian Hemmert, Researcher at the Design Research Lab of the Berlin University of Arts, believes that our bodies grasp digital information as though it is tangible. Digital Design can help to make mobile applications come to life for users, says the expert.

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Michael Koch – Interaction and individuality, this is the future

Michael Koch, Head of Online and Mobile Banking at Deutsche Bank, is also convinced that design has changed through digitalisation. “In the future, apps will be designed in a much more emotional, personal and customised way for the individual customer”, he predicts.

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“Design is about what people really need.”

Smartphone, tablet, smartwatch, smartglasses: We are becoming one with our devices. But does technology also make us freer? Does it create joy? Dr. Fabian Hemmert says, "yes and no." Together with his colleagues, he is researching concepts that would make technology more enjoyable and easier for us to experience. We visited him in the Design Research Lab at the University of the Arts in Berlin and discussed the digital design of tomorrow.

 

What do you want to change about the design of devices?

Dr. Fabian Hemmert: We need to involve the user's body more. The more we use technology in our daily lives, the more it shapes our awareness of life. Who wants to spend the whole day looking at motionless displays? We are often completely overwhelmed mentally but underwhelmed physically – when we’ve been working the whole day in the digital world, we have to go to the gym in the evenings to achieve a balance.

Why is a living digital experience so important for people?

Dr. Fabian Hemmert: Design is a combination of functionality, interaction, and individuality. Because our day-to-day lives are shaped significantly by digital technology, using algorithms to communicate with customers and users is no longer enough.

How is digital design changing in the age of digitalisation?

Dr. Fabian Hemmert: For a long time the term 'design' was only used to describe the design of a device's form and surface. Nowadays it is increasingly used to describe what people actually need. Nevertheless, devices often develop faster than new concepts for user friendliness emerge. So today, we need to think about how we want to interact with technology tomorrow.

What would a device with your concepts look like?

Dr. Fabian Hemmert: If I read a book on one of our prototype smartphones, the device becomes thinner and thinner on the right side as I leaf through the digital pages. I can then use my hand to feel whether I'm at the beginning or almost at the end of the book. The digital experience therefore reflects what people are: living, feeling beings.