WORK / Article Connected Living Design Principles : 4 of 7

Cathal Loughnane

Creative Director

Cathal Loughnane is a Creative Director with Design Partners, a leading Irish strategic product design consultancy. He studied Industrial Design at Carlow IT and the National College of Art & Design, Dublin and has played a core role in developing Design Partners' unique approach to industrial design, merging craft techniques with advanced computer-aided technology. His consulting work with a broad spectrum of global brands has been recognised internationally by Red Dot and Industrie Forum in Germany and Good Design in the U.S.A. and Japan.

Cormac Ó Conaire

Creative Director

Cormac Ó Conaire is Creative Director at Design Partners. For over a decade, Cormac has been leading design initiatives and collaborating with global brands to create world best-selling and award-winning products and experiences, both digital and physical. His experiences working with companies such as Panasonic, Samsung, Google, Logitech, Huawei, Corning, and Honeywell has enabled Cormac to lead and inspire global teams in driving innovation, new product development and growth.


CES 2018

Design Partners will be discussing the 7 Design Principles for Connected Living further at CES 2018. Find us at Booth #60108 at Tech East. Go to the Renaissance Las Vegas entrance of the South Plaza to find us at the Design & Source Showcase.

Principle 4. Familiar paradigms

As smart home technologies emerge we are still in something of a wild frontier. The speed of innovation in sensor technology and IoT has resulted in the creation of some strange and soulless products, experiences and visions. There’s a race to present technological developments to the world, to innovate rapidly, claim IP and get it out there. But we must take a more considered approach to create meaningful experiences that make life better.

“Innovation finds its best soil in tradition” – Robert Coover

To help people understand the benefits of emerging technologies it’s wise to build on familiar paradigms. To quote American author, Robert Coover, “Innovation finds its best soil in tradition”. Build meaning into the experience by referencing icons of memory. Create interactive experiences that are familiar, appropriate and reassuring. Blend physical and digital interactions, analogue and virtual seamlessly.

People are sensory beings, reading the world around them through a myriad of sensory inputs processed deep in our subconscious. We can tap into these subconscious senses through the design decisions we make. How do we want people to feel about this experience? What emotions should we evoke? It’s completely possible to design specifically to encourage emotional connections between people and product experiences but it must be considered from the beginning. All too often these considerations are neglected and new technology fails to create a meaningful and valuable connection in people’s lives.
Make human interactions simple, joyful and trustworthy by referencing positive memories. Beware of creating completely new and blue-sky experiences. Though they may provide great leaps in innovation, likely they will fail to engage people. Great design and innovation cuts through the clutter with simple and memorable icons.


Translating emerging technologies into meaningful innovations

This is part of a blog series of 7 design principles Design Partners have developed for creating new product experiences for the smart home and for connected living. The overarching theme of the series is how design can translate emerging technologies into meaningful innovations. The principles were first presented at the European Smart Homes Conference, London.

Click here for design principle one.

Click here for design principle two.

Click here for design principle three.

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