Madrid (at Templo de Debod)
Above we see Mark Zuckerberg talking at TechCrunch Disrupt 2012, and it’s clear that mobile and search are high on his list of priorities. Four months later Facebook launched Graph Search. Is this the first real competitor to Google Search?
As Graph Search develops I believe it will be. Google has always had competition in search, but for me to switch search engines, there has to be meaningful new features that improves the search experience. Enter Graph Search.
Say that I was looking to buy a new tennis racket, I could go online and read reviews to make a buying decision. Great, but let’s bring social into the equation. I perform the same search through Facebook, but this time I get recommendations from friends. I’m far more likely to make a buying decision based on a recommendation from a friend that I respect and trust. Search results become more personal, and it adds a completely new layer to the search experience. Facebook’s strength over Google is that it’s the largest social network in the world, and they are in the perfect position to serve up results based on your questions.
“You have these search engines… and you type in keywords and the search engines tell you what it thinks the answer is that matches your keywords. But now search is evolving to give you answers, and Facebook is pretty uniquely positioned to answer a lot of questions that you have,” he said. “Like, ‘what sushi restaurants have my friends gone to in New York and liked?’ If we built out that system, you could do this.”
Mark Zuckerberg at TechCrunch Disrupt 2012
Quote source: Digital Trends
– Ernest Hemingway
I first met Philippa Aldrich at Naidex South in October 2011; sharing the same belief that inclusively designed products should be beautiful and easy to use. Philippa is the founder of The Future Perfect Company and the Designing for the Future competition. I truly believe in this competition, and I was lucky enough to be a judge in 2012. Here is Philippa’s story, enjoy!
"I began The Future Perfect Company in 2009 as an online destination for older people to find well designed lifestyle products.
I was inspired to start the company by my family and particularly my parents who are now in their 70s. My parents are stylish people – in the 1960s a day out used to be a family trip to the newly opened Habitat in the Fulham Road to buy pasta jars; in the 1970s we were all given continental quilts; in the 1980s it was Laura Ashley and now in 2013 they have Farrow & Ball painted walls and are thinking of carpeting over their stripped wooden floors.
However, if my parents wanted to replace their armchairs with something easier to get out of, the options are now longer to be found in the Fulham Road or pages of glossy magazines but rather old fashioned catalogues and mobility shops.
This seemed to me not only profoundly depressing but, given the increasing number of older people in our population, to represent a huge gap in the market. Particularly as many older people now have significant spending power.
The original idea behind the company was to source “best in class” inclusively designed products which would be both useful and appealing to people as they got older. And the core ranges are still OXO Good Grips kitchen and gardening tools, Healthy Back Bags and Alex reading lights and so on.
However, it soon became apparent that the challenge of bringing such products into the mainstream was not so much about utilizing existing sources, but the need to encourage the design of inclusive products from the outset.
So, working with the Faculty of Arts at the University of Brighton with input from a number of industry professionals, I launched the “Designing for the Future” competition. The brief – to design a product which dealt with one or more of the challenges of ageing.
When I first launched the competition, there was some scepticism about how the brief would be received amongst the students. Designing for the old was not seen as particularly exciting or glamorous.
But as the competition has developed, this perception has changed. Predictably there have been gadgets and smart, assistive equipment but there have also been more conceptual propositions that have engaged quite profoundly with the experience of ageing.
And what we have all found, excitingly, is that ageing as a focus of design is a route into some of the most provocative, relevant and “future gazing” challenges and themes that face all of us.
Four years on, what has the competition achieved?
Certainly we have encouraged more design students to engage with this area of design – around 30 emerging designers per year from the University of Brighton are involved in the project together with a further 80 or so via a junior version run with a local sixth form college.
The competition has had significant press coverage both off and online, both within and beyond the ‘design industry’ and has been showcased at the Mobility Roadshow, the BSRA Science of Ageing Conference and a public expo.
Yours magazine featured The Future Perfect Company in an article (its first I think) on design for all. I have been invited to write about the competition for Age UK, International Longevity Centre and Technology Strategy Board’s Tomorrow Together.
I am now routinely contacted by businesses and designers with new products and ideas, some of which we have added to our range.
But most excitingly of all, some of our students are now graduating and setting up their own design studios to pursue projects nurtured through the competition.”
Thank you for reading.