☠️ The death of apps and Amazon’s master plan to get inside your brain.

☁️My head being uploaded to the cloud.☁️

All those sci-fi futuristic films with crazy special effects and super advanced UIs are insanely cool, but that’s about it. Looking cool and being visually engaging is their only reason to exist, and we all know that UX/UI is not just about looking cool and sexy. I’m afraid to say this, but the future will not be as attractive as they make it look like.

I see the future being more like on the film “Her” than like on Minority Report or Blade Runner. If you call yourself a designer you seriously need to watch that film. Design in the real world is about making technology as invisible and little obstructive as possible.

“Alexa interface is just a tool to help with the inherent problem that computing tech still needs physical UI for interaction and, until direct brain scan interfaces are realised, you need some means to interact with the computer. Voice is not a breakthrough answer to the problem (and why use Alexa if voice interaction is the goal?).” I can’t find the original source of this quote, please help.

If you wanted to install a piece of software a few years ago you had to get your car, go to the shop, buy the diskette or cassette, insert it into your computer and follow the on screen instructions until the PC is ready to restart so you can start using that newly installed word processing software.

A painfully slow process.

Today, you just go to the App Store, search for the app you want and tap download. That’s it.

The technology is incredibly more complex now than before but yet, thanks to an incredibly good design and focus on the UX the process is getting simpler and simpler.

That’s it, we’ve made it!

Yes! We finally made it!! 🚀

No, we haven’t and we never will. It’s part of the human condition, we always want more and better experiences and products. And that’s ok, as long as we do it in a responsible manner.

When predicting the future we always concentrate on the technology side: what tech will we have? How fast will that car drive/fly.? And that’s where the mistake is, we need to focus more on the human aspect. The focus shouldn’t be on the technology itself but on what we want to do and achieve. The how we achieve it doesn’t matter at all to users.

They don’t give a f*** if it’s a 32bit or 64bit processor, really, they don’t.

In fact, most don’t even care that it even has a processor, all they want is a device that has access to Netflix. Not dumb and nerdy computing terms. This is why I believe apps and software as we know them today will die. Instead of searching and opening the app you want, you’ll just say what you want to do.

Oh dear Clippy, how we miss you.

Imagine a world where you just say: “I want to write” and then start writing.

Are you following me?

You won’t be opening MS Word, in fact, you won’t be opening anything at all. Thanks to advancements in AI you probably won’t even know what tool you’re using most of the time, all you’ll need to know is that you had an intention of writing and now you are doing it.

This might sound crazy, but the reality is that it’s already happening:

It’s 7:34 AM, I’m in my bed and the alarm just woke me up so I’m already hating life until I say out loud with no shame the following words.

“Alexa, play Let’s Have a Kiki by Scissor Sisters”

My love for life suddenly comes back. Cheers Alexa, love ya, see you tonight. 😘

I didn’t specify what piece of software to use, I only mentioned my intention.

With voice assistants like Alexa we are creating an app-less future. And Amazon knows it, hence the word “skills” is used instead of “apps”.

Apple is following a slightly different path, but they are also getting there. Siri is now seen as an add-on to their current systems but with enough time it will become the operating system itself. There will be no iOS, Mac OS, Watch OS or TV OS. Siri will be the one and only presence on your devices and you can already get a glimpse of what I mean: There’s no need to click on any share button or open any apps if you want to access some text or image from your Mac on your iPhone, just highlight what you want, cmd+C on your Mac and paste on your iPhone. Done. Works like magic.

See the pattern? There is a less and less need for individual apps as we know them today. Everything is becoming more like skills the OS gets taught, either by third parties or by the OEM.

How this type of OS will be called or behave is something to be seen, will the winner of this game be Amazon, Apple, Google or a yet to be born company?

No one knows.

However, one thing is for sure, the role of the designer will dramatically change and become more UX, system and service design orientated and less “make that shadow’s blur 10px bigger” or “Rotate that sexy AF gradient by 35°”.

Exciting and uncertain times ahead, can’t wait to be even more controlled by mega technological corporations. 😎

A couple of articles that inspired me to write this post:

https://www.engadget.com/2018/01/06/vuzix-alexa-ar-glasses-ces-2018/

https://www.wired.com/2014/01/will-influential-ui-design-minority-report/

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IBM Extreme Blue designer, UK. — Design, technology and art.

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Elias Ruiz Monserrat

Elias Ruiz Monserrat

IBM Extreme Blue designer, UK. — Design, technology and art.

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