The digital era is maturing. Until recently, technology companies relied on advancement of computing performance to differentiate new products and services. Today, processing performance has caught up with the speed of human thought and cloud computing has begun to democratize software deployment, drastically lowering costs for businesses and end users alike. John Maeda’s recent report on design in the tech industry points out that Moore’s law has slowed and design is increasingly the only reason to choose or not choose consumer and enterprise software (Maeda, 2015). Technology companies are differentiating not on cost and performance, but on design and user experience.
Compared to the industrial design profession, the software product development field is quite new. Few university programs exist that consider software product design in isolation and in a user-centered context. The shortage of trained graduates means companies like Amazon, Google, IBM and Facebook are pulling from traditional and neighboring disciplines including visual design, industrial design, human computer interaction, social sciences, architecture and front-end development to craft design teams that can tackle technical...read more.