In 1899, Charles H. Duell, commissioner of the US patent office was quoted as saying “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” Don’t ever turn into that guy.
Many of us imagine, create, and approve work that lives in the digital space– a landscape that’s seemingly reinvented as fast as I can write this sentence. What would Mr. Duell have thought of Google? Of a jillion apps? How is this change happening, even accelerating 115 years later?
Ironically, much of this change is happening so fast because the environments that consumers use to access the internet have become more standardized and more connected. Like the Wild West turned into a suburban park.
Intuitive design tied to a level of standardization creates leaps for consumers that make it easier for them to fully adopt change. It’s like rolls of uniform suburban turf. The iPod, iPhone and iPad are great examples of a beautiful lawn that’s a wonderful and freeing place to play.
We’re really lucky right now because this suburbanization has made consumers startlingly open to new and changeable interfaces (thanks Facebook). Since learning an interface is like learning a language, once we have the basics, speed exponentially increases and we form words into sentences, paragraphs, stories, novels and poetry. We’re living through that rapid change today and great interfaces are a kind of poetry.
So thanks Facebook, iOS, Pinterest and whatever is next:
Let’s go invent something…and be sure Mr. Duell never gets too comfortable in his grave.