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Adaptive Products: Designing for Evolution rough Use - page 8 / 31





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perhaps even more signi icant is that software is no longer discrete. A software product is conceived in versions that we install as upgrades with an assumed notion of continuity between installments. We expect that the product will be modi ied over time to fix bugs, provide new features, and run better. These upgrades are not always stand-alone, acting as patches and updates rather than whole new products. On the web this notion is taken even further as one is always connected to the latest version of a website. Changes made by designers and programmers are reflected automatically and might occur many times a day as necessary. The web renders software versioning and upgrades obsolete, establishing constant change as a product norm rather than an exception.

The possibility for dynamic change has also removed the criterion that products must be mass-produced. On the web it is trivial to serve different variations to different audiences, or even individuals. Take for example Amazon.com, who generate their website in real-time based on items you have viewed or purchased. Individualization is a rising trend and one can see the effects seeping into the physical world as well. Companies are offering print on demand books, ultra-customizable cars, and shoes you can design yourself. Tools of mass production such as the assembly line are being recon igured to efficiently produce not one size fits all products, but customizations with enough variability that many choices are truly unique. Today it is not only small companies with low throughput offering personalized products—mass customization is moving from a luxury to an expectation. Surely the web is influencing some of these changes towards dynamic production, but there is more under the surface than Internet trickle down. Our world is increasingly global, with people being influenced by a wide variety of ideas and cultures. There are valid critiques that globalization brings homogenization but alongside and despite that there is a

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