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dEsigning a FuTure

We are surrounded by designs - Forms and Functions. And this is area that hugely interests me to think about and talk about. It has most of element which engages one’s analytical and artistic mind. Things like your furniture you use, house you stay are the everyday objects which we deal with. Hence a proper design is very essential. But these everyday objects have such a large scope in our lives that the problem never seems to be completely solved by anyone. There are always a newly designed chairs or newly designed house which seems to solve our certain aspect of problems. Because this deals with both art and science, the scope for any designers to work on the problem is huge.

Image Source :  http://www.designindaba.com

For example, we know that every industrial designer takes on the design of a chair. And everyone has their own take on it. It gives designers an opportunity to play with an idea around the chair. In parallel to the physical object design, we have something called digital design.

There are different aspects of digital designs as well. Just like chairs, we have task management apps, project management apps, email apps and so on. These apps are like fundamental forms of digital life and everyone uses one. Now in near future social networking apps are also going to be a must have app. There are thousands of productivity apps dealing with different aspect of it. Similarly there are many designers still working on that next great Email Apps.

Social networking sites have a lot of issue and this is mainly because of the domination of these platforms by only few. Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter will never encourage anyone to play around with their platforms and take away the users. Unlike email, where anyone can own a separate instance of their email server, no one can have different aspect of their social graph in the internet. It has to be either Facebook or Twitter.

This is one of the biggest challenges in the future of our digital life that needs a solutions. The major problem is that these different social networks don’t communicate with each other like emails do. It has different concepts all together. For example you can send a mail from hotmail to any other mail server. But you cannot send a message from Facebook to Twitter or LinkedIn.

Now this might sound weird that why would one want to do that. But this also shows a difference in the way human personal identity exists in the Internet. It exists in the form of ownership with other networks or platforms. You cannot have a different network of your own. We are already seeing an issue with the existence of one powerful social network platforms. The ownership, the privacy and data issue. One company owning and governing major part of your digital life doesn’t sound fair.

Can this be changed? I am not sure. Other networks like Diaspora seem to have tried to solve it with no avail. I think the solution can lie in the framework. For example every email you send or receive comes in a standard protocol; hence all the services providing such services comply with it. This way there is standardization and variety of application and companies can exist around it – hotmail, yahoo, gmail and so many other independent.

But in case of social network, there is no standard. The standards are only fixed and controlled by Facebook and Twitter. There is no protocol defined for it. But I believe that there needs to be a defined protocol. This way, many services can exist and we can have lot more innovations. The idea is not straight forward but there can certainly be a solution to it. I am not sure how it will look and feel. But I am certain that such innovation will happen, as we are already seeing many independent companies tring to solve it.

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