The relationship we have with technology is symbiotic. If you have ever been deprived of your smartphone for 24 hours or lost signal on your GPS in the depths of the countryside, you might believe there is some truth to this!
This interdependence raises an interesting question — do our gizmos and gadgets dictate the way we behave? Or do the way we behave dictate their creation and evolution? Below, you will find a handful of examples that demonstrate both.
Technology Creating Behaviour
Timeshifting – We no longer watch TV in the traditional manner. Instead, we catch up on demand, whenever and wherever. For example: Sky+, iPlayer, Apple TV, Google TV, etc.
Showrooming – The high street has become our showroom; we used to browse, touch, and try on what we wanted. And, then, out comes the smartphone, connecting us to the web where we can get the same for less. Some examples include: Amazon, Google Shopper, mydeco.com, CloudTag, StreetHub, etc.
Transient ownership – Our cars, houses and bicycles were once big, costly decisions we had to live with long term. Now we no longer need to invest and own the burden, instead, renting them for the time we need, or owning short term and selling on when finishedZipCar, eBay, AirBnB, Zoopla, Rent the Runway, etc. are a few services that contribute to this category.
Just-In-Time living – We can truly curate and control our lives on the go and book just-in-time, whether it be restaurants, hotels, holidays, trains, taxi’s and planes. Our mobiles now enable us to do all this on the fly. Some companies that made this possible are: OpenTable, Hailo, Uber, Travel Apps, etc.
Revealing – We are sharing and revealing more of ourselves online — both in mind and body! Our audience scales from one to the world — intimate family photos shared with select circles and our thoughts and observations open to whomever wants to read them. Created by: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ Snapchat etc
Growth of the internet – The abundance of searches has created a need for answers. We are seeing an increasing trend towards the growth of the internet, where a specialist or dedicated group exists for your every interest. Some examples include: Facebook fan pages, Ning, Glopho, PlatterHQ, etc.
Behaviour creating technology
Connecting – It’s our nature to be social — to form connections and relationships with those around us. Due to this, multiple apps and sites have sprung up over the years to facilitate this behavior, resulting in: Badu, Tinder, etc.
Overloading – If we’re good at one thing, it’s keeping busy — Work, chores, to-do lists, kids, or hobbies. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to make time for the little tasks we keep putting off, like painting the wall, clearing the shed, and getting to the pet store to pick up supplies. Services like Taskrabbit and Zaarly allow us to pay someone else to do this.
Talking – As the devices in our pockets have evolved, the hands that hold them and the minds that control them have not kept up. Ever tried tapping that fidgety on-screen keyboard for directions or information while walking or driving? It can be incredibly frustrating, which is why we often revert to calling on the run rather than texting or emailing. In what seems like a step back in terms of interface (remember Nokia’s attempts many phones ago?) and a leap forward in terms of technology, companies are harnessing the power of vocal control and command, resulting in: Siri and Google Now
Gesturing – Gesture based interaction is another example of creating natural interfaces between user and device. When we do things like talk to people or interact with objects, we do so through physical movements. We cease these movements the moment we connect to a device, until now. The Kinect, Wii, Move, iOS, Leap Motion, etc. takes advantage of gesturing to maintain a more natural way to virtually access things.
Hoarding – Looking at nearby desktops, it’s clear that we like to hoard stuff, no matter how unimportant: documents, folders, photos, music, and notes piling and tiling across the screen. Whether it’s a dusty Renoir reproduction or a compilation of funny cat gifs, we need places to keep these files safe online and offline. This resulted in the development of numerous digital and physical storage services, such as Dropbox, Drive, Boxbee, etc.
The relationship we have with technology is interdependent, and mutually influential in the way we co evolve. Think about the devices and services you use and how you have influenced and been influenced by their design and functionality.