Advances in technology have changed the way people live, work, interact and communicate. While technology can have a positive impact on lifestyle, it can also have a negative impact. Badly designed products can make it difficult to complete tasks or may cause discomfort or injury. Products that are well designed, with the user at the centre of the design and development process, are more likely to be successfully received by consumers. Designers refer to this as ‘usability’.
An example of a development in technology having a positive impact on the lifestyle of consumers is the invention of the fridge freezer. It allows people to lead healthier lifestyles as fresh food will last longer, meaning it can be consumed more and the risk of food poisoning is reduced.
Another example is the development in electronics that has enabled people who have difficulty hearing to be fitted with digital hearing aids. This has not only improved their hearing, but in many cases it has given them more freedom by making it easier to communicate with friends and family and feel less isolated.
In recent years, mobile communication has seen many advances with the invention of the smartphone, some of which now have more processing power than Apollo 11, the NASA mission that landed man on the moon. Smartphones can help people to feel less isolated as they can stay in touch with family, friends and work colleagues, even if they are in a different country. However, they can also have a negative impact as people can become over reliant on their smartphones and social media, which can lead to feelings of isolation.