What will design be like in 2025?
~ 05 March 2007 ~
Last week, Megan Patrick, Senior Editor of the reputable HOW Magazine, asked if I’d contribute to an upcoming article, “What will design be like in 2025?” Megan has quizzed a variety of industry designers on all things design twenty years from now, and with her permission, the specific question she asked me and my brief reply is shown below. (Article will hit shelves later this summer.)
Q: In 2025, how will we be accessing the web? Implants? Touch screens everywhere? Does the future hold a phone / web browser / organizer / media player that’s not annoying?
A: I risk making a fool of myself trying to predict the future of something as volatile as the web. The words of Roger Black, attempting to envision the state of the web three years prior to the year 2000, echo loudly in my head. “The successor to Java is running every electrical appliance that you own,” he wrote in Web Sites That Work (1997). “Bill Gates is nowhere to be seen.”
While Gates and Java are still very much present today, two decades from now I believe we’ll no longer view the “web” as a network of connected machines, but rather the indispensable thread of human connectivity that binds together cultures, economies, and societies. Content, communication, and context will continue to form the underpinnings of human connectivity, much like they do — or should — today.
The interface will no longer be relegated to the constraints of the gadget or machine that generates it, but rather it will spawn and function independent of these devices. I imagine by 2025 we’ll have figured out how to project an interface in mid-air, with multi-touch natural mapping interaction not unlike what Jeff Han and others are already developing (see Perceptive Pixel video). Imagine your desktop machine, mobile device, car, watch, and ATM all projecting the same interface wherever and whenever — no keyboard, mouse, or stylus but merely gestures and touch by the versatile human hand.
Phone numbers and URLs become deprecated, replaced by user- and organization-centric identification, possibly akin to the likes of OpenID. This will allow anyone to connect to an individual or company using a single identifier, and upon connecting to choose voice, text, multimedia, teleportation (wishful thinking), or all of the above as appropriate to the experience desired.
What won’t disappear by 2025? The back button. User error just doesn’t seem to evolve as rapidly as technology.
I’ll now spin the table and put the question in front of all y’all: What will the web be like in 2025?
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