October 15, 2020
We are living in an informative world. It is the age of wisdom, it is the age of foolishness.
The information barriers are broken down, with people accessing and sharing data anywhere, anytime. Knowledge is no longer a privilege for the small group of people, it spreads across countries, across races, and across hierarchies. Yet, rumors, fakery, and prejudice reach an unprecedented number of people and are trying to root in their minds.
We must always think independently to discover demands.
It is not about thinking from one extreme to another, neither about the far-right, nor about the far-left. We think in the spectrum and scrutinize every color. We consider widely and analyze deeply.
It is not about being manipulated. The public is easily incited. Yet, as designers, we reserve our opinions. We stand not just aligning with the users, but behind them. We are acting as the bridge between the users’ needs and the designed functions. Hence, logic and objectivity are the key factors that determine our design research.
It is all about reflection and action. Always think in two directions. On the one hand, think how we interact with the system and exploit it from our natural abilities—to learn by our senses. On the other hand, think what the system represents and start from our social activities embodied in the interaction that lends meaning. The system could collaborate with us in looking back at ourselves, to discover subjectivity and uniqueness. Then, the action lies in the willingness to change.
We are living in an open world. It is the season of light, it is the season of darkness.
We no longer lack materials, with secrets of the world being revealed, mysteries being explained, and problems being solved. We apply what we call technologies to all walks of life that have dramatically changed our daily pattern for the first time in thousands-of-year history. However, something is revealed, while others hide. Darkness is covered by the light, but it never disappears underground. We enjoy the benefits in the front of the stage, while it is hurting others beyond our expectations.
We must always stay curious to uncover the truth.
It is about asking questions. What is the system apparently and exactly? Who are the users and rulers? Where does it go and where are the limitations? When to notice and when to use? Why is it designed and why is it used? How does it achieve the functions and meet the requirements?… Be inquisitive about what has already existed, what is under the process, and what is to come? Remember, there is never an answer if we don’t raise a question.
It is also about seeing things critically. Whether it’s new or old, everything is like a coin with two-sides. We tend to magnify the positive side, adopting it in solving problems. Nevertheless, the negative side may raise more problems if we ignore it. It’s like we are opening Pandora's box, but what is different to the myth is that, we have the ability to borrow the value and avoid the curse only if we think about both sides in designing and constructing in the first place.
We are living in a handy world. It is the epoch of belief, it is the epoch of incredulity.
We free ourselves from endless work, with tools we trust, services we experience, and the transportation that carries us traveling anywhere on the planet. We live a life so convenient that almost everything can be delivered while we just lie on the ground. However, we extend ourselves in such convenient touch points, and we doubt our life without them. We finally lost our awareness.
We must rely on sympathy towards all the beings.
It is about taking indigenous cultures into consideration and putting ourselves in the natives’ shoes. So many failures reveal the strategies that ignore the local conditions. Our destination is not to promote a universal idea designers or owners believe, but to adapt and develop with the locals.
It is about respecting everyone from our heart regardless of the gender, skin color, nationality, background, etc. Humans are born equal and humans are not generated parameters. We share our in-depth feelings, share our true happiness and sadness, pure love and pain. Thus, no matter how adaptive our designs are, they follow the basic and universal human nature.
We shouldn’t think of obtaining from the people.
Design is never a tool for stealing our personalities as individuals. It should not ruthlessly grab our attention, time and energy. It is about how to give back what belongs to the people—give back the time with family and friends; give back energy to try all the possibilities; give back our awareness of ourselves and how the system impacts on us.
We shouldn’t violate our basic rights.
Data is collected inevitably in this digital twins of world. Yet, the data right always belongs to the user. What’s more, privacy also matters. Encryption and desensitization are essential considerations in contemporary digital design.
We are living an energetic life. It is the spring of hope, it is the winter of despair.
We utilize energy and reform the environment, with what’s inside our planet being harvested and driving every gear of our life. Food is no longer worried about, households are provided to every citizen, and we build our communities with endless heat and electricity. Still, we begin to face the degradation of the environment. We are on the road of the back loop of Anthropocene, with energy comeing to a limit and the future seems bleak.
We must always think about the environment.
It is about fostering sustainability and taking up an equal role among all the livings on earth. Less energy is exploited from the core of the earth that used to be at the cost of plundering our future and other beings lives. It is more about saving energy such as using low-power assumption devices; harvesting energy that we could never used before, like the renewable energy; as well as reusing energy and recycling widely in the background of recycle and material degradation.
We are living in a designed world. It is the worst of times, it is the best of times.