Are You an Xplorer?

What is fascinating about all disruption cycles is the solution that ultimately disrupts is not usually a completely new-to-the-world invention. Take the Ford Model T or the Wright Brothers Wright Flyer. Making gliders with humans flying on them was not new. The final piece of the puzzle though--how to make the flight stable--was! The personal computer was a similar story. The Apple 2 was not the first personal computer, but it was the first to combine a keyboard and screen with the processor, thus making it usable. The iPod was not the first MP3 device; in fact, there were more than 500 in production already, but it was the first to integrate the hardware and download capabilities into a useful, useable package. There are many examples like these and we are at that same junction point in creating an intelligent, data-enabled, useful environment today. The technologies we need are there--perhaps not sufficiently developed yet, but there and some are even well on their way to becoming mature. However, what we haven't seen yet is the “killer app” or the interface between people and place that will make digital technologies useful and solve meaningful problems for users.

The SEGD Digital Xplorer workshops--happening July 23 in Philadelphia and August 6 in Seattle--were designed to make sure you know about these new tools and technologies and why, where, and how to integrate them into your projects. They will explain what these new tools are, how to manipulate them, and how to see their integrative role. And they'll provide you with a fundamental understanding of a new set of opportunities. It will definitely be up to you to leave the workshops and go out and create the “killer app” that will disrupt the signage and wayfinding disciplines that will start to enable or kick-start an ambient intelligent and useful environment.

For those of you who see yourselves as the pioneers and the explorers in Experiential Graphic Design, the Xplorer workshops are a “can’t-miss” opportunity to gain some fundamental understanding of the elements needed to put together data-enabled projects. They are your opportunity to build a solid foundation for understanding the future tools and technologies of your profession.

Just look at the topics that will be covered in these workshops (you choose which coast you want to participate on!):

Images Type and Video – How to deal with dynamic content? This is a very big difference to the static control of content that the profession has dealt with mainly up to now. In what ways do you need to think differently and change your processes to deal with these dynamic content streams?

Data and Code – Like words, fonts and typography, only a lot more possibilities and infinite ways to combine and use it for the purpose of creating useful and compelling experiences for users. Data and code introduce a level of complexity to our profession that we have never seen before. However, there is hardly an area in your life where you could say, “I want to go back to an era before I had access to data” Complexity is the first way we see data and code. Great designers tame it to create compelling and useful interactions. Before you can become that great designer though, you need to understand what data is and how code can be a tool for you. We will help you get there.

Screens and projections – are probably the easiest to understand as we have all been dealing with them for some years already. Let’s make sure we have our fundamental understanding right though.

Sensors and Devices – Now here is where the magic can really happen. Like a website, with the introduction of digital technologies and data streams into Experiential Graphic Design the potential to create feedback and behavioral learning loops begins. From this point on out, all of our systems can start to become interactive. They can start to become more personalized, they can develop knowledge that will help them be more predictive and they can be used to do design research. I.e. instead of having to rely on surveys that tell you what people SAY they will do instead of observing what the ACTUALLY do (Design Research), data flows tell you what people are doing!

Finally we will wrap up the day with a review of what we've learned and why it's important for your future. 

If you are not yet convinced, we suggest that you take 20 minutes to watch either the CITY-IDor Appliedpresentations at the recent Wayfinding Workshop in San Francisco as these two presentations will clearly show you how implementing digital strategies, tools and technologies can radically change your service offering and therefore value to a client.

You simply cannot afford to miss the summer Xplorer series. Take a few days of personal leave if that's what it takes to get there, but...



* Image by John T. Daniels care of the US Coast Guard.

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