Apr 7, 2016

Finding Friction at SXSW


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By Kim McDonald, Senior Designer

It has now been three weeks since the whirlwind that was SXSW. The immersion that is SX takes you to a city pulsating with innovative thinkers, creatives, and culture. Brought together to learn, collaborate, and educate. Three weeks since, being overwhelmed and inspired by the depth of versatility and perspectives that can be brought to any single challenge to find a solution that is uniquely forward thinking. I have now had an opportunity to process and reflect.

In these three weeks, one idea in particular has stuck with me. The idea of friction. In today’s society, innovation has turned necessary but inconvenient tasks into a service industry. Some argue, adding value to create a seamless process. AirBnB’s Steve Selzer delivered a talk on what happens when you compile a bunch of necessary but inconvenient services, and eliminate all friction? He stated “Now that we can do anything. What should we do?”

The Uberfication of everything is turning San Francisco into an assisted living community for the young. – Statup L. Jackson

Taking into the considering the idea of human centered design, designing without bias, and immersing ourselves in the values of mindset of the consumer, how we can add fiction to our brands and add value to our consumer experience? Steve Selzer solution was a simple, teach them something.

  1. Design for Skill Building (ex. Blue Apron)
  2. Design for Self Reflection (ex. Stuck)
  3. Design for Collision – Human Interaction (ex. Lyft)

Defining when it is necessary to enact seamless design is essential to a project’s success. But moving forward, in my mind’s forefront will be, how can I add friction to the branding process that ultimately adds value to the consumer experience.

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