The rise of Data Designers

It’s a little ironic that I wrote this post while procrastinating doing the assignment for my data analytics course.

… we’re at the break of the most exciting era of computing, the convergence of pervasive computing, our increased ‘dependency’, and data (capturing and handling) will diminish the concept of a computer as a box (keyboard, mouse, and monitor) and transfer it into more of a living ‘thing’ (or service).

But for us to take advantage of this new era, we need a new breed of designers – designers who have the depth of Data Analyst and empathy of interaction designers. Unlike Data Analyst, Data Designers will not seek out to find answers for specific questions (or to seek to find the right questions) but rather how the data can evolve the product/service, more specifically, evolve along with the user.

Mark Rolston, from Argo Design, sums it up well in his article on Wired, where he explains the majority of where, why, and how.

Over the past few years, we’ve been seeing ‘toy’ examples that use data to adapt to their users but recently this has accelerated with big tech companies investing heavily in Artificial Intelligence talent and platforms.

It makes sense; Moores Law will continue make it possible to push computing power into everyday objects. Likewise, connectivity will increasingly become ubiquitous making our environments far too complex to manage ‘consciously’. To manage this, while taking advantage of the benefits, we’ll employ intelligent agents to handle certain tasks. To design systems like these, we will need designers with greater exposure to data, understanding (and appreciating) how to leverage it to improve the users computing experience.

It’s this or everyone learns to program (which, from the news, it sounds like this is the path we’re going down) or we use If This Then That to configure out computing experiences. I know where I’m putting my time.