The PC era shaped a computing culture characterized by funneling the digital world through a screen and a mouse. Our current post-PC-devices – such as smartphones and tablets – let us participate in our networked world through smaller screens, touch interfaces and an app for any possible need. But is this really all we can expect from our devices? Do we want to spend our lives staring at small screens, missing out on the world around us while we follow the latest post and hunt for the newest app? Do we want to continue interacting with our world using two fingers and a restricted view? Do we as designers even want this as our design challenge?
Some recent trends – such as the slow food movement, and an increasing public acknowledgement of a need to switch off, focus and simplify – highlight a new attention to the analog qualities of our lives. This changes our expectations of the digital world, and designing digital services is no longer the aim. Instead we want to empower individuals to live up to their aspirations – and design a service ecosystem in support. We want to empower our bodies and live like “complete” humans again, using all of our senses and physical capabilities. With mobile computing, networked objects and specialized haptic interfaces, digital technology is increasingly blending with our “real” world. This is a tremendous opportunity to give people new ways of acting in the world, with endless possibilities for everyone’s enablement.