Bryan Boyer on upcoming trends in design MAR 25 2001
Q: Bryan, you pay a lot of attention to design. Are you seeing any upcoming trends in that area?
A: More and more we're seeing dampened interface elements become part of our lives. It's definitely a trend in product design these days. Next time you get into a VW grab the ceiling handle and pull it down. When you let go you should notice that it glides back into place instead of snapping instantly. There's no jarring noise or quick action, and neither are missed.
Turn on a Bose Waveradio and watch as the volume counts up from zero. It remembers your previous volume setting just like a normal radio, but instead of jumping to that volume it slowly fades up to it, easing you into whatever happens to be playing at the moment.
The trend continues to lights as well. In a rather unremarkable rental car last month I remarked on the only unique factor-- the lights which fade out instead of popping off.
What's really nice about all of this dampening is that it exactly counteracts the quick-cut nature of our media. That's not to say that jump cuts are bad, or that MTV is horrible dreck (I've been known to lose many an hour to that blasted channel), but simply that blending your experiences in the physical world by fading from one environ to the next is soothing. We have enough harsh transitions, why not fix the ones we can? :: end