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The Future of Software? | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

The Future of Software?

Software boxes - I grabbed them from Steve Portigal's site

Over the weekend I was reading Steve Portigal’s blog, where he posted an observation about software sold over the net titled Out of the box? There is no box. Really. Essentially the software that is going to be downloaded is advertised in a box when really there is no physical object. It’s an interesting exercise to consider the options to visualize something like this. Either show an object people are familiar with like a box (kind of like the shopping cart icon for online purchases), or try to create something new to show the software. I’ve seen cd’s used in the past to designate software too.

With people starting to talk about the new Creative Suite coming from Adobe, I wonder if this will be one of the last major software upgrades that comes in a physical box with a cd’s? Will the next substantial upgrade after that be a simple download – or will people still feel more comfortable having a physical item. Or maybe the software isn’t even on your computer – you log in and their servers do the computer thinking. Now that would be interesting to show visually.

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  • http://trackingimagination.wordpress.com/ nate archer

    I thought the same thing after reading that post. I also see a similarity exists in music sales. When you are buying digital music you still get the traditional cd cover as the metaphor. It is funny to see that although digital technology has enabled us to re-imagine analog technology, most still rely on the past iconography. I can’t wait for someone to break the mold and start creating new forms for the digital realm.

  • http://flickr.com/photos/litherland litherland

    It is funny to see that although digital technology has enabled us to re-imagine analog technology, most still rely on the past iconography. I can’t wait for someone to break the mold and start creating new forms for the digital realm.

    Although I think some digital practitioners have done an exceptional job of busting apart old molds (Yugo Nakamura comes to mind; Joshua Davis, Hillman Curtis, Amy Franceschini…hmm, Flash seems to be the common thread here), I’ve been thinking along these lines too recently, especially since seeing this offering from the Lancet:

    http://www.cerosmedia.com/launcher.php?reference=wlr60u23cz8l06colcpwg0jp0qc3h3h4d

    (the link will be good for about a month)

    Like the NYT and others they’re clearly rethinking the ways in which they deliver publications electronically, but not rethinking the, as you put it, iconography. A gesture toward “authenticity” in this age of electronic reproduction. When web design was finding its way in the mid- to late nineties, it often mimicked print, and that was an early criticism. (Interestingly, what you’re starting to see now, over the past couple of years it seems, is print sampling design elements originating on the web. This sometimes surfaces in the NYT Sunday mag. If I can find some examples lying around, I’ll scan and post.)

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