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Matias Duarte: we need to stop basing design on archaic concepts

Technology hasn't really changed, it has only evolved, and this is something Matias Duarte aims to change. Will he be able to?

Published onDecember 30, 2015

matias duarte

Everyone keeps talking about how far technology has gotten the past decade or so, but that is not exactly what the bigger brains in the industry believe. After some talks with a couple Foxconn engineers, I realized technology has gone through more of an evolution, as opposed to a revolution. The truth is it’s all the same, but faster, more powerful and in different form factors.

The same applies to design, which is a huge part of the experience these high-tech gadgets provide. And we are not alone in this belief; even Google VP of design Matias Duarte agrees that current smartphones are advanced copycats of Apple’s UI from 8 years ago, while tablets and computers continue to follow the desktop graphic user interface (GUI) that was introduced decades ago.

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PC interfaces still look like a refined version of the first popular computers. The same goes with smartphone designs – the base is a set of rows and columns of icons. What is the next step? Android Wear comes to mind, a wearable operating system that was forced to change its mechanics due to the limited space Google had to work with.

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But is Android Wear the source of the next big jump in technology design? Nobody knows, and Duarte is clear about that.

“I don’t know that Android Wear has the right solution or even is on a vector to the right solution, nobody knows. We’re just trying things to see which are successful. That’s what design is. You form a thesis, you try to do it without any ego or hubris.” -Matias Duarte
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Matias then goes on to mention he will do everything in his power to get us off the archaic habit of working with a desktop/laptop and a smartphone.  Instead he wants us to operate “a much richer, continuous mesh of devices and interfaces”.

Coming up with a new concept isn’t easy, that’s for sure. New and upcoming designers have a lot of work to do. And they should get moving, because a change has be long overdue. I say it, tech leaders say it and even Matias Duarte says it. Do you agree?

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