The Future State of a Product's Existence?

“There is a design revolution, but nobody really knows what it is” ~ Karim Rashid

I was reminded of this quote Karim made at the International Design Forum in Singapore a few years back while I was having a interesting debate with long time Design Sojourn reader and fellow design blogger csven. I must admit I had struggled with this article as it’s such a difficult topic to wrap my mind around. Hopefully this “prequel” would clarify a few things for you dear reader, and perhaps for me as well! Or maybe it would just open another can of worms?
In our recent discussion here, especially in the comments sections it suddenly became clear to me about some fundamental differences in our viewpoints on the state of which products are evolving to with the advent of Web 2.0 technologies and the advances of virtual technology and rapid prototyping. There were many things discussed but it all becomes clear when we understand each other position in this debate.

I said: “The product’s ability to access Web 2.0 communities, either their own (Xbox Live) or a partner (Nokia + Flickr), will be a vital selling point in time to come.”
to which csven replied: This sounds to me as if you’re still regarding Real products as distinct from the Net. I don’t do that anymore. And because I don’t, I don’t come to the conclusion that such access is “a vital selling point”. That, to me, is like saying tires on a car is a selling point. My point being that integration will be ubiquitous; everyone will have it and it will be expected. For companies, I think the question isn’t whether or not the product connects, it’s determining what the conversation is *after* it connects.

I think really at this point in time there is no right or wrong answer, but his view and mine are potentially valid future outcomes. However though in the short term, until we figure it all out, it will boil down to the haves and have not. Products with Web 2.0 access will just be more multi-dimensional that the competition.
Yes I agree the ultimate integration of product + web will become ubiquitous. But this “conversation” after it connects sounds to me like a discussion moving towards ubiquitous computing which is a whole different ball game. Ubiquitous computing is something everyone has been talking about for a very long time but to me this will never become a reality until you can jack your mind into the web. Why? It’s about understanding tangibility.
Now let me further elaborate why I think products will still have a place in this web convergent environment, and focusing too much on the virtual web is coming from the wrong direction. Warning this discussion may go into more issues that just product + web, or companies leveraging off Web 2.0 communities.
Tangibility
The biggest trouble I have with the web is about the issue of tangibility. I started this post with a quote by Karim, and what he is leading up to is really all about how products now need to compete with intangible experiences. He elaborated that the best selling products in recent years were DVDs, Computer Games and Software. They are, by nature, intangible products.
If I can expand on this: products, to compete, will need to provide good if not better experiences to such intangible products. Or in other words, better experiences than a sense of ownership, a sense of freedom, a sense of dialog, and a sense of belonging that is provided with Web 2.0 technologies.
Basically designers are starting to realize that design cannot compete with styling, it’s now again about pure innovation, design for emotion, the product’s use experiences and managing the consumer’s journey. It looks to me that the tried and proven product development techniques and strategies are coming back to haunt us.
You see, no matter how virtual you get, humans are by nature tangible, requiring touch, hold and smell all require real objects. However before you consider recent technologies such as tactile feedback touch screens, to small replicating devices, let me go out on a limb here by saying people will tire of these simulated virtual replacements.
Why? There continues to be a lot of research on the fact that people crave authentic experiences, as evident in this awesome trend primers Insperiences and Tryvertising. Take a look at them to see what I mean.
Surely a virtual 3D environment with surround sound speakers will give you a certain kick, but nothing is as real as skydiving, paint ball firefights or just riding a roller coaster. On a smaller level, what about the smell and taste of a good cup of coffee, the feel of an expensive teddy bear, and the warmth of human skin? I doubt, unless we “jack in” like Major Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell, tangible products are hear to stay, and a lot of the current hype on the virtual net could come to naught.
Now let’s look at the amazing phenomenon that is Second Life with the following points:

Now, the difference between a television ad for Nissan and a virtual Nissan vehicle is the difference between passive information transfer and active engagement. Which is more compelling: sitting in front of a television watching their ad waiting impatiently for it to end so the show will resume, or racing a Nissan super car in a video game? There’s no question. And that’s why this is the wave of the future and companies are looking for ways to understand it now; especially when more and more people simply TiVo past traditional advertising. Now, to be fair, Second Life doesn’t offer a great experience. Far from it. But it does make an excellent testing ground for companies looking to a future where those experiences will be compelling.
~ reBang

1) Advertising for products in the virtual world, can it really represent the real thing?
Honestly, I am very doubtful as it is getting virtual to represent the real. But I do admit the wonders it can do for unaided brand recall or top of mind product placement. I think it should be the other way. I would for example buy a virtual BMW Mini, because after driving it in real life and doing the math, a Second Life version is probably all I can afford. So it is about substituting reality with the virtual, when getting real is not possible or convenient.

2) According to John Hurliman, Jeffrey Gomez created a plugin for blender that allows the software program to import and export the files for use in second life.
Why is this necessary? Why would people, after having the freedom of expression and the ability of navigating the limitless world of a virtual environment, want to bring their products back into reality? I believe it is because experiencing an entirely visual stimulus causes the user to be tired. Bringing the product back into the realms of the other 4 senses is just a lot more comforting.

Perceived value
A while back I wrote about “why I hate digital media”, in that post I lamented that one of the problems with of products found on the internet, is quite simply perceived value. Why pay for something online when you can get it for free? That is to me the crux of the problem of Mp3 music or any software distribution or service online.
Sure Apple may hold a large percent of the legal downloads, notice I said legal, but can anyone tell me how much bigger the other side is? My guess it’s a “helluva” lot bigger than Apple and all the music shops put together.
Furthermore that’s probably why many software products distributed online are free. Furthermore, many web 2.0 businesses often run their technologies in free mode and are loss making (contrary to every business fiber in my body) in a hope that they will eventually be bought out by Google, Yahoo, AOL, MSN etc. (Downward spiral of prices on the internet!)
When you have something tangible, something you can touch and feel, it suddenly has value. People respect it and will care for it. Digital media is too easily loss (delected?) to be worth of any value. Have you tried reselling your Mp3s after you bought it from iTunes? Oh my, did your hard drive just crash with your 10,000 songs you bought from iTunes?
Sure, you could sell your “farmed” gold from World of Warcraft or some powerful in game item for cold hard cash, but its value is only important to a very select group of people. I also can draw many parallels to the virtual nature of the stock market, and its ups and downs having to do with perceived value. This is also a valuable reason why the English Empire or the Sultan of Brunei is so powerful. Land, property, or oil barrels are all tangible items of value. Even the US dollar has to be backed by gold.

Where does the product come back in?
Even though I digress here and there, I hope you can see the point of this all leads back to understanding basic human nature and how we function. I have to admit I don’t quite like the unnatural direction the web is heading towards.
But what about the relationship in product applications? To me it’s really not a good idea to view tangible products, and its intangible Web 2.0 services or software as one, simply because it glosses over a very important factor. A bridge between the two. To me that’s where Industrial Designers can play the biggest role, we think of creative solutions to link up the two.
I’m also not saying we should view the two as separate. Far from it, I believe that products should be viewed as a window or an interface to access these intangible Web 2.0 services, as the future is the two is walking hand in hand. Connected but yet separate, harnessing intangible experiences with very tangible products. Considering it all as one puts the tangibility vs. intangibility debate into a black hole that leaves a lot of question marks, as well as we are trying to merge something against all known laws of physics.
Leveraging off Web 2.0 communities like say Nike iD + Sneakerplay is really, more about a damn good marketing initiative to sell more shoes by being able to design shoes that people want. What I was trying to say in my last post is not this but more about how to design meaningful products that will work with the web.
Why do that? I believe it is the rebirth of the infamous “Internet Appliance”, which was essentially simple yet focused products that do one or a few things really well. I think the complexity of the product will and should remain within the software interface and thus logically, products will move away from the “paradox of convergence” and become a lot simpler and easier to use.

16 Comments
  • David Carlson

    March 5, 2007 at 1:07 am Reply

    Great post! I think that the most successful products of the future will be:
    -based on humanistic values
    -of cultural relevance
    -sensorial
    -sustainable
    -iconic
    It goes for both tangible and intangible products. The sensorial part has of course to be developed concerning the intangible products…

  • csven

    March 5, 2007 at 3:21 am Reply

    DT said: “sounds to me like a discussion moving towards ubiquitous computing which is a whole different ball game
    That’s where you seem to get off on a rather large tangent. I’m using the term “ubiquitous” differently. Tires are ubiquitous. Buttons to turn things on and off are ubiquitous. Ubiquitous computing carries a different connotation because it’s not referring to an object, but to sense of integrated connectivity in which the world is immersed. Furthermore, from the Xerox “sandbox” website:

    Ubiquitous computing is roughly the opposite of virtual reality. Where virtual reality puts people inside a computer-generated world, ubiquitous computing forces the computer to live out here in the world with people. Virtual reality is primarily a horse power problem; ubiquitous computing is a very difficult integration of human factors, computer science, engineering, and social sciences.

    Link
    The issue we’re discussing (I think) is with products *enabled* for Web 2.0 functionality. That’s not ubiquitous computing. Furthermore, the term “access” does not account for issues involving functionality.
    For example, a device could tap into a phone conversation and have “access”, but if this device has no microphone then it doesn’t function on the level of the people involved in the conversation. Similarly, any device (including cell phones) can rather easily “access” Web 2.0 applications, but if they’re not designed to function at that social level, then they fail in a critical manner if they’re intended to operate as Web 2.0 devices. The device without a microphone tapping into a conversation is still a plausible device because it’s purpose may be to eavesdrop. However, a similarly handicapped device intended for Web 2.0 functionality misses the whole point of Web 2.0 interaction… unless it’s cross-linked to some other Web 2.0 application and functions at that level.
    The problem is that the social conversation involved with Web 2.0 applications is not easily defined. There is no standard, and that’s part of the confusion over what Web 2.0 is. As more and more applications integrate VoIP into their applications, that piece of software is enabling one kind of conversation. Accessing it with a text-only device may not be sufficient. Even with text-to-voice conversion, people talk faster than they type. However, some applications will not benefit from VoIP and text-only devices will be fine for those.
    Consequently, when access is easy, the question becomes “How is this device intended to be used to facilitate the social interaction of its users”. Is VoIP necessary? Is text the basis of that particular application? Something else?
    DT said: “Ubiquitous computing is something everyone has been talking about for a very long time but to me this will never become a reality until you can jack your mind into the web. Why? It’s about understanding tangibility.
    You might want to go back and really give this some thought. The tangibility thing loses me.
    Tangibility
    DT said: “and focusing too much on the virtual web is coming from the wrong direction.
    Where is anyone focusing on the “virtual web” and “simulated virtual replacements”? That’s a different conversation imo.
    DT said: “I started this post with a quote by Karim, and what he is leading up to is really all about how products now need to compete with intangible experiences.
    I don’t keep track of Rashid’s musings on these topics, so a link to this or a quote would be helpful to me. Thanks.
    DT said: “If I can expand on this thus products, to compete, need to provide good if not better experiences to such intangible products. Or in other words better experiences to a sense of ownership, a sense of freedom, a sense of dialog, and a sense of belonging that current Web 2.0 technologies provide.
    The whole “compete” thing loses me. Without the tangible product (CD disk, DVD disk, computer, routers, etc) there is effectively no Experience in the context of this conversation. That’s why I use the term “symbiotic” in my own post:

    Sony is perhaps already creating symbiotic relationships between product and service and social networks.

    You seem to still think that these things are somehow competing. I don’t understand that point of view since, for me, these things have to exist in harmony to be done correctly.
    To expand on the earlier analogy, regular tires exist in harmony with average roads and slicks are intended to interface with racetracks. On the other hand, knobby’s are designed for off-road. We design streets and racetracks. Thus, in those products, there is an attempt on both sides to exist in harmony to promote the Experience. The best a designer of knobby tires intended for natural terrain can do is *tailor” the tire to an anticipated Experience by targeting the type of terrain (sandy, rocky, grassy, wet, aso). And that’s still an attempt toward a symbiotic relationship. No tire designer considers the ground as competition.
    DT said: “let me go out on a limb here by saying people will tire of these simulated virtual replacements.
    Too bad Timothy Leary isn’t around to debate this with you. But again, this whole line of discussion doesn’t seem relevant to me. However, I will say this: you don’t need to go out on a limb. Spend some time trying it and then decide.
    DT said: “Why? There continues to be a lot of research on the fact that people crave authentic experiences, as evident in this awesome trend primers Insperiences and Tryvertising. Take a look at them to see what I mean.
    You really misrepresent the “Insperiences” article here imo. From the article:

    So the big thing in the world of domestic bliss right now? How about re-creating experiences from the outside world into INSPERIENCES for the home? Mind you, INSPERIENCES will be as much about extending these experiences as flat out replacing them: consumers will still choose to visit a ‘real’ Crunch gym on the weekend, they will still hang out in bars with friends, they will still stay in hotels, and they will still come to the office for meetings and human contact.

    The only person talking about *replacing* is you. Neither I nor Trendwatching is suggesting this. Of course people “crave authentic experiences”. Now define what that means. What exactly *is* authentic? Is this internet conversation we’re having not authentic?
    Again, you seem to be coming at this from a singular point of view. The Trendwatching article on INSPERIENCES is all about people bringing worldly experiences *into* the home which is kinda what televisions and Web 2.0 and videogames and virtual worlds do. Trendwatching provides a caveat that going outside the home is still important. Of course it is. But it’s a caveat, and not a basis for your conclusions.
    As for TRYVERTISING, I’m familiar with the term, but not sure what the relevance is of that article to this conversation or your point. As Business Pundit.com said “Actually, tryvertising isn’t new, but it’s the first time I’ve seen that word.” Trendwatching seems to me to place a premium on words they make up (it’s one reason I don’t bother reading them very often; they seem to me to just glom onto ideas and give them a custom name to get some buzz and ad revenue).
    DT said: “1) Advertising for products in the virtual world, can it really represent the real thing?
    You didn’t read my comment closely enough. I said:

    Now, the difference between a television ad for Nissan and a virtual Nissan vehicle is the difference between passive information transfer and active engagement.

    I didn’t say it would “represent the real thing”. Far from it. I’m saying that a virtual product communicates features better than traditional advertising – like seeing a 2D image on a television screen or in a product brochure. That’s very, very different from what you’re going on about here.
    DT said: “2) According to John Hurliman, Jeffrey Gomez created a plugin for blender that allows the software program to import and export the files for use in second life.
    Incorrect. Gomez (with whom I’ve worked) has created a Blender plug-in for export to SL. There are excellent reasons for having this ability, but you’d have to be engaged with SL to know why. Hurliman is the one trying to get data out. There are also good reasons for getting the data out. However, as a designer I have my own very compelling reasons for getting the data out. That you as a designer don’t implicitly understand those reasons is a bit of a shock to me. Your comment:

    I believe it’s because being entirely visual, the stimulus causes the user to be tired. Bringing the product back into the realms of the other 4 senses is just a lot more comforting.

    is well off the mark. The people doing this – Hurliman, Gomez, myself, and others – are involved in the technology. We’re product development people and researchers. It’s not the Consumers trying to get the data out!
    Perceived Value
    I have no clue why you’re discussing this in the context of the original topic. I do see some things I’d take issue with as I’ve had quite a few discussions on the topics and issues you raise here, but again, I don’t see the clear relevance to the issue of designing products for Web 2.0 functionality.
    If you could somehow elaborate on this while tying it into the topic of designing products for Web 2.0 that would be helpful to me. Thanks.
    Where does the product come back in?
    DT said: “To me it’s really not a good idea to view tangible products, and its intangible Web 2.0 services or software as one, simply because it glosses over a very important factor. That is the bridge between the two. To me that’s where Industrial Designers can play the biggest role which is to think of creative solutions to link up the two.
    Wow. I completely disagree here. That’s like a tire designer ignoring the contact patch of the road or the terrain. How does that person decide what the tire is? It’s like being on an island and deciding to design and build a bridge to the mainland, only your only point of view is from the ground on which you’re standing, so you don’t know how far across it is, or how deep the water is (just to name a few of the very many factors that need to be considered). How can you design the bridge without understanding the gulf between them? And how can you understand the gulf without acquiring a perspective which includes all the relevant elements?
    By viewing the whole – viewing the tangible devices and the Web 2.0 services as part of “one” overall system and one Experience – designers can work toward optimizing both and thus improve the singular Experience. By ignoring the overall system, it seems to me we fall into the arrogant trap of ignoring the singular element that should drive the design: the User.

  • csven

    March 5, 2007 at 4:05 am Reply

    I appears you’ve added a couple of paragraphs to the end of your post. Let me address those:
    DT said: “I’m also not saying we should view the two as separate. Far from it, I believe that products should be viewed as a window or an interface to access these intangible Web 2.0 services, as the future is the two is walking hand in hand. Connected but yet separate, harnessing intangible experiences with very tangible products.
    Forgive the comparison, but this sounds like the “separate but equal” argument made by those in America who wanted to separate people along racial lines yet call them equals. It’s inherently flawed imo. And you’re effectively doing the same thing here afaic: you’re giving lip-service to the idea of integration, but focusing on the differences and keeping them separate. How does that make sense when the goal is a singular Experience?
    What I’m suggesting to you is that there is perhaps Designer bias at play here. The tangible product is separate in your mind because designing it is what you do; it’s your job. You don’t design the Web 2.0 application, thus it’s importance is a separate, intangible thing. And by separating it off, you seem to me to be effectively belittling that importance.
    DT said: “Considering it all as one, puts the tangibility vs. intangibility aspect into a black hole that leaves a lot of question marks, as well as trying to merge something against all known laws of physics.
    Huh?
    I believe you’re still caught up in that one-off comment I made about fabbers. I could just have easily said “flexible display electronics”. The point was that there are plenty of products left to design; not that Web 2.0 is tied to fabrication devices. Somehow you seem to have keyed on that as the whole issue here. It’s not and never was for me.
    DT said: “Leveraging off Web 2.0 communities like say Nike iD + Sneakerplay is really, to me, more about a damn good marketing initiative to sell more shoes by being able to design shoes that people want instead of just guessing. What I was trying to say in my last post is not this but more about how to design meaningful products that will work with the web.
    As I stated in my own post, I see the Nike/Sneakerplay effort as a form of crowdsourcing (see my comment on Mass Custom to understand why) and a market research play. Nike appears to me to be using the social aspects of Web 2.0 to help them gauge the market, do some research by directly engaging with the “influencers”, and perhaps using that information to help them further their own development efforts.
    The *reason* for bringing up Nike is not because they’re designing a Web 2.0-enabled shoe. It’s because Nike is indicating a sensitivity and sensibility regarding Web 2.0 that I believe is forward-thinking and relevant. They have been and continue to initiate efforts to understand emerging technologies and harness them… and all they really do is make shoes! Not even high-tech companies are doing that because imo the mindset is different. Most companies still have the “not designed here” mentality. I consider that a dangerous position to take.
    DT said: “I believe it is the new dawning and rebirth of the infamous “Internet Applianceâ€

  • csven

    March 5, 2007 at 10:01 am Reply

    Quick clarification:
    When I said, “The *reason* for bringing up Nike is not because they’re designing a Web 2.0-enabled shoe“, I wasn’t suggesting they *are* designing such a shoe.
    Also, “wholistic” > holistic. Apologies for the incorrect spelling of the word.

  • Design Translator

    March 5, 2007 at 10:50 am Reply

    Hi David,
    Thanks for visiting and leaving your great points. I have always love “iconic” as a key word in design and am reciently into “sustainable” as well. Thanks for pointing it all out.

  • Design Translator

    March 5, 2007 at 11:54 am Reply

    Hi csven,
    Wow, a great comments and a very detailed analysis. I honestly appreciated you taking the time and effort to got through the post and leaving your comments, almost line by line even.
    Also even though I did not agree with a lot of what you said, I must admit after reading your comments, I had one of those “Aha!” moments when what you were saying fell into place. My big take away on what you said is that it is about creating a “seamless experience” rather than seeing it as two parts and that pretty much hit it on the head. Also many apologies on the misquoting of Gomez for Hurliman as well as its context. That teaches me to not skim through posts so quickly!
    However I wont go into to detail in to a lot of your points such as “separate but equal” or “building a bridge to the mainland but not knowing how far it goes” or the fact that I seem to “effectively belittling that importance” of seeing the two as one. Not because your point are not important to me actually far from that. But the gist of my entire post perhaps not clearly stated is about this relationship between the two and the difficulty of getting the two to play together well. In other words, yes we can and should see it all as one experience, but the reality of getting it to work together has a lot of problems, of which the biggest two in my opinion is what I have stated is the tangibility factor and perceived value, both complete polar opposites to each other when you consider the product vs the web 2.0.
    This topic also stems from personal experiences in designing a product with a “seamless web 2.0 experience” (see I am listening!). I am actually designing both the product and the web 2.0 experience, and reconciling the two aspects are the main problems now, in particular because we wanted an experience that could not be created as it was constraint by the hardware. I will consider what you have said and see if that makes a difference. That’s what I like about the Internet, debate, discussion, and learning from others. Thanks again.
    Sigh, I was so engrossed in typing this I forgot to make my ebay bid…a product solution here?

  • csven

    March 6, 2007 at 12:17 am Reply

    I agree that building what I’m calling a symbiotic relationship between products we buy in the store and applications we use on the internet isn’t easy. If it were, we’d see more of them because I believe the way has been pointed by companies like Apple (iPod/iTunes) and RIM (Blackberry). Unfortunately I still don’t understand the point you’re making with regard to Tangibility. Again, it sounds as if you’re putting the Web 2.0 applications (virtual/intangible) at odds with devices that access them (real/tangible), but at this stage of our technological development I’m unsure why.
    You said the biggest issue was in the conflict between tangibility and perceived value:

    the biggest two in my opinion is what I have stated is the tangibility factor and perceived value, both complete polar opposites to each other when you consider the product vs the web 2.0.

    With regard to Perceived Value, I’d point out that “perceived” value between tangible and intangible are not necessarily “polar opposites”; by definition it depends on the audience/consumer. Rather, “Inherent Value” is closest to being a polar opposite because that gets into issues of tangibility (btw, “inherent” is a term you’ll find in some Terms of Service agreements for that very reason). Let’s expand on this.

    Sure you could sell your “farmedâ€

  • reBang weblog

    March 6, 2007 at 2:22 am Reply

    Future Product Thinking…
    For what it’s worth, I’ve been trading comments on the Design Sojourn blog on… well… it started off as a discussion on developing devices that worked with Web 2.0 (recall my earlier post on that – reLink). The discussion has si…

  • Design Translator

    March 8, 2007 at 7:53 am Reply

    Hi csven,
    Sorry for the late reply. I’ve been out of the home with limited internet access; however I have not been idle and have been spending the time thinking about this.
    Perhaps you are looking too deep into this and/or perhaps I have not explained it clear. My ideas on tangibility and perceive value (or inherent value if you like) is really more from how a designer approaches a design problem.
    Tangibility issues to me boils down to the idea of software interface vs. the hardware interface. When should you use a touch screen or when should you use buttons to navigate is just one example. What I’m saying here is creating the right user experience between the two, creating the control or interface. Nuts and bolts thinking and creating the tangible interface that best manages the Web 2.0. That’s why this interface excites me so much.

    The other issue I spoke about is perceived value. This to me is more about how and why people treasure and value a product they buy. This has an impact to product branding, product longevity and sustainable design. It’s not so much about putting a money value to it, (perhaps my Mp3 example is not correct) but how the factors though opposite is able to increase a value of a product.
    Let me explain why the curse of the net is FREE. With the easy start up of Web 2.0 products, it means it dies extremely quickly. Delete from the server and it’s gone. Furthermore my point with software upgrades and everything being in beta, you never really have to keep anything. Sure there are things that people value online, but more often than not its user created. That’s why so many companies are looking at user creation (crowd sourcing) as a marketing strategy, not because it’s about power to the people, it’s about giving people an emotional attachment.
    So what I am pointing out in both my comments in “tangibilityâ€

  • csven

    March 8, 2007 at 11:49 am Reply

    Tangibility issues to me boils down to the idea of software interface vs. the hardware interface. When should you use a touch screen or when should you use buttons to navigate is just one example.

    This is certainly different than this earlier comment and the associated explanations:

    Yes I agree the ultimate integration of product + web will become ubiquitous. But this “conversationâ€

  • csven

    March 8, 2007 at 12:02 pm Reply

    correction: “I have no interest in buying stuff.”

  • Design Translator

    March 8, 2007 at 9:04 pm Reply

    Hi csven,
    I think we have to agree to disagree. For one, I totally disagree with your belief that people are giving up tangible goods and heading towards “freedom”. In fact much of my team’s market research, which is all over the place (sorry), indicates otherwise. Furthermore just to add, we have found that in certain markets, people are getting tired of the virtual aspect of the web and looking for authentic experiences which are just that, actually physically sky diving, riding a roller coaster etc.
    Anyways this is a complex topic, which I think I will stop debating now, as it seems I may not be getting my point across correctly to you as it does seem the terms I use are incorrect or examples wrong. Like the varied Web 2.0 we have touched on many topics some related and some not. I may attempt to talk about it again when I am suitably more mentally organized.
    However in my opinion, Web 2.0 access and experience of it is just one of the many experiences that needs to be managed in the user’s product journey. The way you turn a product on, the sounds it produces, its interface are all examples of other experiences that add up to a total experience. In my original article, I just wanted to focus on just that one aspect, tackling the Web 2.0 experience as one in a stable of experiences a designer can draw on.
    I just like to thank you again and end this post by perhaps asking you to consider the consider the biases we (as in you and I) might have as we move in an environment that is really considered the fringe where by “yes” it could be the future and its potential is huge, but its not a correct representative of the entire consumer market as a whole. Often, I have to pull myself back from it all as the risk is that it falls into what I think is mainstream because I see and read about it everyday!

  • csven

    March 8, 2007 at 11:47 pm Reply

    For one, I totally disagree with your belief that people are giving up tangible goods and heading towards “freedomâ€

  • Design Translator

    March 9, 2007 at 6:26 am Reply

    I remember now, the effect I am referring to is called “the polarizing of the market place”. (Sort of an extension of the law of supply and demand). This is where products become, as you are describing, commodities or the perceived value products in the lower end of the market. (Note this can range from Plasma TVs to Rice) However it seems you did not consider the move to the top end of the curve, where the premium products lie. This trend has been derived from data that has been collected by analyzing purchasing patterns of consumers from all over the world.
    What this basically means is what is valued or not has to do with what is important to the consumer. For example a person may drink cheap tea and drive a BMW, or buy expensive tea and drive a cheaper Kia.
    Again you need to be careful with trends. Sure we are all varied and there are many things happening. But only until it becomes statistically relevant, I would class it a trend.
    Finally you misunderstand; my noting of “authentic” experiences is just to support my argument of people getting tired of the intangible web. Perhaps we should call it authentic intangible experiences, instead of simulated intangible experiences.
    Yes I agree, Web 2.0 is about connecting people. But often the applications that are built around it such as Second Life touch on a lot of the issues I have mentioned.
    All the best to you too.

  • John Hurliman

    September 1, 2007 at 1:54 pm Reply

    The reasons for the Second Life blender plugin were to allow people to use a familiar toolset to design 3D data, to transfer designs between the two Second Life grids (our libsecondlife office in Second Life was designed by someone on the teen grid who used prim.blender), and to allow builds to be archived or put in versioning systems.
    I personally am interested in having a bi-directional flow of data in and out of Second Life because it will enable more rich workflows for both Second Life content design and visualizing other systems in the metaverse.

  • DT

    September 1, 2007 at 4:53 pm Reply

    Hi John,
    Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments. I think the blender plugin is vital for Second Life to move it to the next level. In fact I would go as far to say that there should be plugins for all commonly used CAD programs or Second Life starts to accept standard file formats used in industry. (iges, step, 3dm etc.) This then should give Second Life a Facebook type “effect”.
    Regardless, if a product in Second Life has a real life counter part, suddenly things become real, and the process can and should, as you mentioned go both ways.

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