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Souls & Machines: Designing the Future of Content

Souls & Machines: Designing the Future of Content

Presented at Generate, NYC

Not too long ago, it seemed like big data and collaborative filtering were going to solve our desires for discovery and inspiration. At the same time, platforms dedicated to new methods of self expression – music, writing, video etc. – have matured, and their new forms of content have become mainstays of our culture.

Today, content companies are adapting to become digital products, and tech companies are learning to make content. How does a product designer navigate this changing landscape? What are the answers to questions like “humans vs. computers”; “pro vs. user-generated content”; and “opinion vs. democracy”? This and more will be answered through case studies, experiments and of course, stories. Come to learn, stay for the fun :)

Hannah Donovan

April 22, 2016
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  1. Hannah Donovan, @Han
    SOULS & 

    MACHINES
    Designing the Future of Content

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  2. HELLO! I’M @HAN
    I’M A FUN TIGER.

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  3. HELLO! I’M @HAN
    I’M A FUN TIGER.

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  4. HELLO! I’M @HAN
    I’M A FUN TIGER.

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  5. I DESIGN FOR
    DESIRES NOT NEEDS.
    That’s okay.

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  6. I DESIGN FOR
    DESIRES NOT NEEDS.
    That’s okay.

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  7. MUSIC &
    ENTERTAINMENT
    RECOMMENDATIONS
    SELF EXPRESSION
    SOCIAL CONNECTIONS

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  8. London, 2008
    Photo by themostinept on Flickr

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  9. London, 2008
    Photo by themostinept on Flickr

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  10. Content without context
    is meaningless.

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  11. Content without connection
    isn’t relevant.

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  12. Content without perspective has
    no feeling.

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  13. Users generating their
    content are recreating
    the internet.

    Meeker Report, 2015

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  14. ACCESS DISCOVERY
    1998–2008 2008+

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  15. I want this thing (now)
    Search
    On-demand
    DESIRE VOID

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  16. I want this thing (now)
    Search
    On-demand
    DESIRE VOID

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  17. I want this thing (now)
    Search
    On-demand
    I want something…?
    Browse
    Recommendation
    DESIRE VOID

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  18. I want this thing (now)
    Search
    On-demand
    I want something…?
    Browse
    Recommendation
    DESIRE VOID

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  19. When I know exactly what I want,
    I already have
    context
    conenction
    perspective

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  20. When I don’t know what I want,
    what I need is
    context
    conenction
    perspective

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  21. KNOWING WHAT WE
    WANT IS HARD.

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  22. OFFERING PEOPLE
    SOMETHING THEY
    MIGHT DESIRE
    REQUIRES CONTEXT,
    CONNECTION,
    PERSPECITVE.

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  23. 2012
    2013
    2014

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  24. HUMANS CONNECT US IN
    WAYS COMPUTERS CAN’T.
    COMPUTERS CONNECT US
    IN WAYS HUMANS CAN’T.

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  25. Makes content
    meaningful.

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  26. On it’s own, [content] is
    pretty dumb, until some
    smart design system grabs
    it and displays it in the right
    context


    Mark Boulton

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  27. MUSIC IS MESSY

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  28. Original 1. Corrected levels 2. Film grain added

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  29. Original 1. Corrected levels 2. Film grain added

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  30. Original 1. Corrected levels 2. Film grain added

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  31. Original 1. Corrected levels 2. Film grain added

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  32. Original 1. Corrected levels 2. Film grain added

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  33. Original 1. Corrected levels 2. Film grain added
    28%
    34%
    40%
    46%
    52%
    Oct 2012 Nov Dec Jan 2013 Feb Mar Apr May
    Jams with written descriptions
    CO
    N
    TEXT: W
    O
    RD
    S, A
    RT

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  34. Photo by Christine, cestchristine.com

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  35. Photo by Christine, cestchristine.com

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  36. Photo by Christine, cestchristine.com

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  37. Photo by Christine, cestchristine.com

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  38. Photo by Christine, cestchristine.com
    CO
    N
    TEXT: TIM
    E, PLA
    C
    E

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  39. Makes content relevant.

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  40. The quality of the connections
    is the key to quality per se.
    Charles Eames

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  41. CO
    N
    N
    EC
    TIO
    N
    : FA
    M
    ILIA
    RITY

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  42. THE BEST MUSIC
    RECOMMENDATIONS
    COME FROM FRIENDS

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  43. CO
    N
    N
    EC
    TIO
    N
    : TIM
    E

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  44. CO
    N
    N
    EC
    TIO
    N
    : PLA
    C
    E

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  45. EVERY
    INSTRUMENT

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  46. Gives content feeling.

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  47. Humans are human because they
    have a perspective: they care
    about things. One might call it our
    ability to give a damn. And it is this
    quality that allows us to determine
    what matters and where we stand.
    A computer can’t do that.
    The Moment of Clarity

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  48. COMPUTERS CAN’T
    GIVE A DAMN.

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  49. PERSPEC
    TIV
    E: STO
    RY

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  50. PERSPEC
    TIV
    E: ETH
    O
    S

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  51. PERSPEC
    TIV
    E: Q
    U
    ESTIO
    N
    A
    BLE

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  52. This experience lacked
    context, connection and
    perspective.

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  53. Some people (they are wrong)
    say design is about solving
    problems. Obviously designers
    do solve problems, but then so
    do dentists. Design is about
    cultural invention.


    Jack Schulze
    Photo by Timo Arnall

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  54. “Culture represents a synthesis, a putting together
    of things…so completely, that the combination has
    an individuality of its own.
    It may be only an amalgam; it is better if it be a
    chemical combination.
    Culture does not exist in the form of powder, a
    mere mass of incoherent particles.” – Owen D Young

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  55. WITH EVERYTHING
    WE MAKE,
    WE HAVE AN
    OPPORTUNITY FOR
    THAT REACTION

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  56. Content Strategy for Mobile
    Karen McGrane
    Content Strategy for the Web
    Kristina Halvorson
    Internet Trends 2015
    Mary Meeker – kpcb.com/internet-trends
    Six Questions from Kicker
    Jack Schulze – j.mp/6QsJackSchulze
    The Elements of Content Strategy
    Erin Kissane
    The Moment of Clarity: Using the Human Sciences
    to Solve Your Toughest Business Problems
    Christian Madsbjerg & Mikkel B. Rasmussen
    REFERENCES
    & READING

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