It’s Time to Start Designing for the Future
How human-centered design is transforming our home and work spaces
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way American workers interact in public and private spaces. Employees and students forced to stay at home have had to carve out workspaces for themselves, often contending with partners and children doing the same. Interactions with colleagues are for the large part remote—through email and videoconferencing apps—changing the way business relationships are maintained and how new relationships are formed. Business travel has been put on pause, making it more difficult to make direct personal connections with potential collaborators.
These realities will likely persist in some form as the pandemic draws to a close and the world settles into a new definition of normal. Leaders across industries must rethink design and user experience. “You can’t have disconnected, fragmented experiences right now,” says Jeff Chow, senior vice president of product at digital product design company InVision. Businesses must work hard to create better employee and customer journeys, carefully considering how form will follow function amid practical concerns about safety and workplace efficiency. Deem and Fast Company recently hosted Destination Innovation, inviting a panel of experts to discuss how human-centered design is transforming how we think about travel, learning, and working across time and space. Here are the key takeaways from their discussion.
DESIGNING BETTER SPACES
The pandemic is already changing how people are using public and private spaces. Take our homes, which increasingly are doing double duty as workplaces: "Our residential spaces are going to have to evolve," said Khoi Vo, vice president of industry relations at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). For example, designs will have to factor in the work-from-home trend through flexible spaces that can be converted into offices and acoustical design elements designed to minimize noise in the working environment.
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