Connected devices and services that promote the “quantified self” are some of the favorite design experiences mentioned by several leading designers at Gigaom’s Roadmap conference on Wednesday in San Francisco. Shoshana Berger from IDEO, former Twitter staffer Josh Brewer, Ryan Freitas of about.me, Github’s Julie Horvath and Google Ventures design partner Braden Kowitz all described five of the leading design experiences they think are worth emulating for a variety of reasons (their full choices are here).
One of Berger’s choices was the Square Wallet and card reader, which she said she used as soon as she heard about it — tracking down the one cafe in Berkeley that offered it — because it sounded so simple and seamless, “like an extension of your body.” She also said smart door locks were one of the products she was most interested in because the lock-and-key model has been around “since Assyria was sacked in 600 B.C.” and needs to be reinvented as a connected device.
Brewer chose the iPhone and its ecosystem because he said it was “one of the most influential physical and digital products and ecosystems we have seen in a very long time,” and it has helped bring computing to many people who were previously terrified by computers, because the touch interface is so intuitive and friendly. And Freitas chose two Fitbit products — the Force wristband and the Aria scale — because he said they combined great design with the quantified-self aspect that allowed him to modify his own lifestyle to improve his health and well-being.
Horvath said she chose Twitter because the service has made the world smaller and allowed her to “shout from the rooftops and find other weirdos like me,” and also chose Rdio for the way it created a social network based on her taste in music rather than using existing social connections like Facebook. And among the design experiences that Kowitz chose was BitTorrent Sync, because he said it offers a way to keep files synchronized across multiple devices the way Dropbox and other services do, but it’s based around a totally distributed network and it’s also free.
Check out the rest of our Roadmap 2013 coverage here, and a video embed of the session follows below: