From the point of view of a design consultancy, disruption for the design sector will happen on these 3 battlegrounds:
In the near future designs will be generated and optimised by algorithms and machine learning. Although machines will not design interfaces on their own, the role of the designer will change dramatically.
Designer will no longer create design artefacts like visualisations, screen designs or user flows. Machines will generate designs variations and test which combination of parameters will work best.
The designer no longer creates the design variations, but defines the scope and the parameters for the variations. Tools like Sentient Ascend are the vanguard of this new way of designing interfaces.
The best interface is no interface. Every interface creates friction. A lot of applications today are designed for input. Designers focus on reducing the friction when we input information.
A classic design iteration today: 2 ways to change the spend limit on your credit card. On the left a classic numeric keyboard (more accurate). On the right a knob you can drag to increase or decrease the amount (faster).
As our devices get smarter, the applications we use are more and more automated and need less and less user input. This means that designer will design less forms, less handles, less menus, less buttons and more output.
Until now we rely on interfaces for which the foundations were built at companies like IBM and Apple. Everything that exists in the world of touch and click is an emulation of the groundbreaking work back in the eighties.
But new technologies are on the verge of breaking through.
When we hear VR and AR we think of the immersive experience and less about how we interact in those environments. Most VR applications still require a physical controller.
Focal interfaces like the Vaunt by Intel are likely to create a big leap in the user friendliness of VR and AR interfaces. Focussing with your eyes allows you take action.
Other bionic interfaces are being researched and developed. Think of smart lenses instead of smart glasses. Voice interfaces are becoming more mainstream. The Future Interface Group at Carnegie Mellon is turning all sorts of things into buttons and displays.
Just like newspapers and broadcast radio still exist in the internet era, touch and click interfaces won't disappear entirely. Neither will designers disappear. We will still need humans to understand why something is a problem. But new technologies will challenge how we design and what we design.
We will contact you to discuss your needs and expectations. We come to your offices to give an introductary presentation about the value of design thinking in your organisation.