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Adaptive Products: Designing for Evolution rough Use - page 29 / 31





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services creates a focus on the overall experience. Products should be able to evolve through use, allowing people to adapt them to changing needs, shifting contexts, and unforeseen uses. The demand for adaptable products has an ethical dimension as well, because they do more than fulfill a function. Products mediate our interactions, influence our behavior and change how we perceive the world. People deserve the autonomy to avoid undesirable consequences and influences and create new and positive ones.


The role of technology in our lives increases rapidly every year, mediating not only our individual actions but effecting how we interact and communicate with one another. The technological saturation of our lives can have both positive and negative effects, making new things possible but causing unanticipated problems as well. For products to be empowering rather than controlling they must give people the freedom to adapt them as they see fit and flexibly account for the many situations and systems that they must integrate into. One cannot design a custom product for each person, but a mix of resources, capabilities, and time can help a product integrate into someone’s life in a way they choose. Designers must look beyond creating products that are useful and usable for today and consider how these qualities can be maintained in the long view. For this to happen designers need to involve people in product creation and evolution—giving them a greater role than just having needs to fill; this calls for a change in the role of the designer, the process, and the outcome of design. Traditionally a designer crafts the form of a product based on set functionality, inscribing it with a particular program of action and delegating it a speci ic task. Although they will continue to create the initial form of a product it must now be done in a more humble manner. The form should be based on the numerous ways

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