What Will Be the Next Design Playground?


In a 2007 TED talk, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos noted “Every new thing creates two new questions and two new opportunities.” I love this quote, as it really nails the essence of innovation. And I love where my mind goes when I replace the word “thing” with the word “app.”

In the early days of native app development, Twitter clients ruled the roost of interaction and visual design innovation. Daring Fireball’s John Gruber mentions seven very different Twitter clients in a 2009 blog post and notes that “There is so much variety because various clients are trying to do very different things. Asking for the ‘best Twitter client’ is like asking for the ‘best shirt’.”

Twitter acquired and recycled some of these apps; the rest are long gone because of Twitter’s restrictive API policies. But Gruber was right to assert that Twitter clients were one of the first significant, and most fertile, “(user interaction) design playgrounds.”

Weather apps supplanted Twitter clients and became “The New UI Design Playground,” as Art & Logic’s Steven Huey noted just seven months ago. But I’m willing to go out on a limb and suggest that UI designers have already moved on from weather apps. Serious energy is now being put into calendar apps. From the slick interactions in Peek (iOS only) to the feature-rich Cal by Any.do (iOS and Android), designers are reinventing the humble calendar.

Where are you seeing new and exciting design? Tell us here in the comments, on Twitter, on Facebook, or at info@crt.realtors.org.

Joseph Sullivan

Joe Sullivan is a User Experience Designer for the Center for REALTOR® Technology.

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