Last week I wrote a post on how we should approach designing timeless experiences, the narrative was along the lines of that trends are a fools path and that we should ‘rewrite the rules’ in order to deliver better products. This is because I believe that the core of our products should be designed and built around the things that will never change unlike a trend.
The problem with these design trends lie in that they are tangible and are open to be perceived by each and every individual. Trends become a fools path when they are used as the primary goal for our products but when these trends are replicated over and over the value in which they were established is lost over time — what was a trend becomes nothing but aesthetic. They lack balance.
Don’t get me wrong, I do think trends should be used, just not as the primary driver behind a project. There should be a balance but not a compromise between experience and trend. Luckily for us, in the modern world of evolving technology, industry practice and consumer demands, products are being iterated and released as a crazy rate providing us with more flexiblity than ever with an approach like this. When there is a balanced consideration between the two I think products are able to be successful.
Timeless drivers are experiences that will always be needed like ease of use, download speed and mindfulness to name a few. These drivers are rooted at the core of most successful products, the finish or trend of these products are often there to place emphasis on the drivers being used.
I Believe that this is lost on some people, products are badly designed without timeless drivers and then because they are given a great new look they think it will be successful. Wrong, in my opinion and clearly evident on Behance every. single. day.
Fortunately us, design systems like Google’s material design are being derived from these timeless drivers to influence trends. This also comes as a massive advantage as digital products will always be more flexible than physical ones — buying into a system makes it so much easier to keep iterating after. Physical products however face a much different future as products are harder to update and release on a regular basis.
Perhaps this is why products are continuously being built to be replaced? But does this make it ‘good design’ or a necessity? I love the look, feel and use of iPhones but because they aren’t timeless are they good design? Or is it the value behind them? How they have successfully integrated into our everyday life in a way many other devices will never replicate and how do they continuously address our timeless needs?
I guess this turned out to be rather reflective but one thing is for sure, we should continuously consider the balance of the experience drivers our products communicate and the trends that are in place to enhance them.