Universal Content Design

Responsive design is a great pattern and will continue help guide design for the next several years but I dont think it takes things far enough. I believe in the coming years we’re going to find web content embedded everywhere. Responsive design fails to ever consider unique or completely different interfaces like Google Glasses, in-car operating systems, windshield heads-up displays, projectors, or transparent/semi-transparent glass displays.

And so I predict a shift towards content-centric and minimalist design. Get your styling out of my in-car operating system. Get your ads out of my heads up display. Give me my content, free of nonsense. Clean and readable types. Balanced whitespace. Proportional line-heights.

One idea I’ve had related to this “universal content design” theme is the idea that content should have a type associated with it. We’ve seen a recent move towards this in the form of HTML5 tags like the address, video, audio, and figure tags. Ideally the ecosystem would choose which types of content to support and apply very minimal design. How much design can you afford to apply when your display is a transparent piece of glass?

My point is really this: per-device design doesn’t scale; we need another layer of abstraction.