In the fast-paced world of SXSW’s software startups and big media events, one of the most thoughtful presentations at this year’s event was a thorough meditation on design.
The 2017 Design in Tech Report, presented by John Maeda and Jackie Xu of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, covers the year in the industry with a focus on product design and artistry.
Highlights of this year’s report include an emphasis on market relevance, including designing for accessibility and inclusion. Large companies like McKinsey & Co. and IBM have appointed designers at senior levels to guide their design philosophies, the report notes. .
Companies are also leaning toward “computational design,” a type which Maeda says has been controversial. It takes into account today’s connected world and encourages designers to consider the individual needs of their millions of customers – the sort of thinking required when designing an app, for example. This type also includes live updates and designs that can change in response to their users’ needs.
The rising appeal of computational design also stems from the skill sets of the people entering the workforce: one-third of all designers surveyed by Maeda’s team also had formal engineering or science training. This year, they found that two out of five designers are also involved with code development on software projects.
This is effecting how much money people make in the industry as well. Designers are in demand, with Amazon, Facebook, and Google together adding 65 percent more design talent to their workforce.
Another trend Maeda mentioned was voice- and chat-based interfaces such as WeChat. Q&A apps can also utilize voice messaging, which Maeda says is being used by designers in China in ways that are not done as often in the United States, placing emphasis on voice commands before visual elements. Designing for an audience that does not primarily involve a visual medium is a skill the design community might see more in the future, Maeda says.
The complete report and a video of the talk is available here.
Filed Under: Rapid prototyping