Smart Gadgets: Do We Want to be Friends?

Dan Nelson from Pixabay
Many people distrust networked devices. Product designers are therefore trying to domesticate smart gadgets. They should look beautiful, sometimes even human – in order to build trust.
Heaters automatically regulate the temperature, the light in the living room adjusts to the position of the sun, and in the garden the irrigation system starts when it is dry. Smart gadgets should automatically recognize the needs of the user, and ideally should be economical and environmentally friendly. That sounds practical – but it doesn’t always go down well with consumers.

According to a study by the digital association Bitkom, many smart gadget users want more transparency. 84 percent of those surveyed said that data protection standards were important or very important to them. Smart gadgets make decisions about everyday life in the background – regardless of the user, often not visible. That sounds scary to some. Product designers are therefore looking for solutions for how smart gadgets can be packaged as pleasantly as possible visually and haptically.

The devices would therefore first have to be “domesticated”. Only when you design gadgets well, then you win the battle. That starts right after the purchase process. The first look at the gadget when it is unpacked. The feeling in hand. Sounds when switching on. A greeting. Smart gadgets not only have to perform tasks, they also have to communicate well with the user. One tries to solve this problem with design.