Last night at a BBQ/ grand gathering, I began speaking to a guy who worked as an architect. Being “kind of” interested in design myself, I made an effort to continue talking to him and getting as much information out of him as I could before we inevitably went our separate ways for the rest of the night. We talked about design for mobile and various projects he has participated in and he gave me the low down on how to make it as a designer when you’re finished with school. One concept that kept arising was the fact that the innovation that designers and creators of technology build on repeats its self. He started talking about his early days as a computer user. How him and other employees would link up their computers all to a central main frame system. He then told me it was as if they were using the cloud computing system of today. Right then and there I said to myself, “holy shit, we haven’t really advanced that much.” He went on to say, “so if you think about it in that sense, we haven’t really advanced that much,” or something along those lines.
The current technology of wireless connectivity makes it much more convenient for thousands of users to connect to this “digital mainframe”. But when you get down to the basics of how the process is composed we are still connecting our computers ultimately to a physical mainframe in which our data is kept and transmitted. So now I’m stuck asking the question, why hasn’t cloud computing been readily available to me until recently? The initial 5GB I get with Dropbox isn’t exactly a whole lot of space considering our current state of HDD, and hasn’t been for years.
So the innovation is only skin deep. A few hours after this conversation, I spoke to another designer who knew the guy I was talking to. She started talking about the fact that, in design, the things we do or create with our design concepts change a lot. And they change rapidly, but the concepts never change. The things we value such as usability, function, the steps and principles of design don’t change and probably won’t. It’s interesting how things like dynamic data, or communications technology, are both the same concepts from the beginning of time until now. Today we have the addition of the touch screen which creates an almost limitless possibility of our experience using these concepts. In the end, all of this has made me really want to focus on the experience a user has when using something I create. Whether that means making it look nice or not, whatever you have to do in order to have an innovative approach on creating an effect from the user is exactly how to design. In cloud computing, the symbol of the cloud is part of the experience. The thought of sending my information to a virtual cloud which to me, has always been visually high up somewhere in space or the sky, is part of the experience that I recognise that process with. The concept of the operation has always been there, but only recently has it become accessible and a recognizable part of computing thanks to some innovators at a few companies.