I want to talk about the dualities of user experience, by which I mean various ways in which there’s not just one simple clean answer, but rather multiple things to consider. And so by way of example of what I mean by duality is we can look at these two paintings. So the painting went down to the ocean and painted on the right. You can see it’s a sunny day. It’s a calm, beautiful, inviting ocean. You really feel like taking one of those small boats out, right. And go for a little sail on the other end of the left, you see dark threatening clouds, high dangerous waves, and you feel like they must stay on the shore and you’re not going to take that little boat out in risk of anything. So which of these two paintings is now the true painting of the ocean? And the answer, of course, is that that’s not a reasonable question to ask, because both are true paintings of the ocean. Sometimes the ocean looks so inviting and sunny and calm and sometimes the ocean looks dark and scary and dangerous and high waves both are true. And that’s what I mean by a duality. So to move to another art form, it was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Famous opening line from The Tale of Two Cities. And that applies to you as well. I think maybe some of you have this feeling that, oh, it’s the worst of times when you struggle through something in your project or your company doesn’t want to value you the way we think it should be valued or their various other problems. I would like to say that based on my personal perspective, I think more so. It’s the best of times for you X because relative to my time in the field, which is like thirty six years, honestly, you know, most of you guys don’t even know how bad it was back then, but in the mainframe era.
Right. I mean the interfaces were truly terrible. They respect our intended user experience was not only was actually negative in that commenters thought that we shouldn’t bother with his right to know.
People should be grateful they’re allowed to use our precious computer, was the attitude at the time.
And on the other end of day, we probably had in many ways the best use of the phrase we’ve ever had. This is not to say that they’re perfect. Computers can or should not get better. It’s just that there’s still this historically anyway.
I think more so the best of times. But there’s also that that dark side, it’s the worst of times, quite often in pragmatic situations where you’re trying to achieve something that, you know, would have high return on investment for the company and yet they don’t listen. So we do have those kind of both of those situations being there. But let’s not only think about the doom and gloom, but I think also about honestly, we have come a really long way. And I mean, I feel a much better, but still we have come a long way. So this is maybe the most famous duality, you know, UI, you X and there’s so many, you know, drawing’s like meme style pictures on the Internet already of this. I’m not going to bother you with one more, but it is something that’s very often not discussed. What’s the difference, a distinction between UX, UI and you. Well, both important is really my duality message here. You know, the surface design, how it was on the screen. I mean, that’s super important. It’s not just a matter like it looks good as matter of can people understand the buttons, the menus, the commands? I mean, that is very important. The surface design, on the other hand, is also very important with the deep design, the true total user experience. What are we doing for people right now? Both have to be good. So it does no good to have a really great user interface, even, let’s say, have very high usability. People understand every possible feature on the screen, but yet it’s a user interface to the wrong thing, to something that people don’t want or don’t need. Well, why have a wonderful user interface to the wrong thing? That’s going to be a lost, failed product. It’s not going to do any good. Well, on the other hand, let’s say we have all the right features, a great deep design. We are solving a problem people really want to have solved. And we would do them a lot of good if only they could use these features. But the features are represented by cryptic commands and weired, no options and very convoluted, confused navigation system, et cetera, et cetera. And therefore people can’t use the features. Well, OK, a feature that people can use might as well not be in the product anyway. And so great feature design, great deep design, terrible surface design, might as well also not exist. So both have at the same time be great. That’s if true, a great example of duality. Well, no doubt it is. You important or not? Well, OK, we are to conference, that’s called the U.S. Conference. So we are maybe a little bit biased in our response to this question.
We tend to sort of maybe think that U.S. is important. And I would certainly say, yes, it is important. And now we have a session on UKCS measurement in our why and return investment can be really, really high for doing good. You work. We have so many cases where companies, you know, vastly, vastly expand the business value of doing good design versus bad design. It is really important, really worth doing. Well, yes. On the other hand, is it actually the most important or the only important thing in the world or in a company? And the answer is clearly no. I mean, there are many other things that are important and often maybe even more important. And so as an analogy, let’s think about something completely different. Accounting and accounting important. A secondary. No? Well, it’s important. I mean, if you have bad accounting, you have no clue about how your cash flow is going. Well, one day you’re going to wake up and you can’t meet payroll. Not good. Right. On the other hand, is accounting the most important thing in a company? Right. You have that complete control over every time, but you have to have a good product, good marketing, good management, good Vereide and many other things for this company to be successful. So accounting cannot be said to be the only thing or maybe even the most important thing. But it is important you x same thing. So what are we emphasizing or working on and what’s important for us as a discipline product. A process. So by product I mean the thing we’re designing by process, I mean how we go about designing it. And in my career I’ve actually studied or worked on both of these two. So I’m going to show you two books I wrote. So on the left we have designing Web usability that was all about product. That book had a lot of guidelines for what makes for a good website or bad Web site. It didn’t say anything about how you make that website just what it should be. So that was a true product focused like and this is how a good website is. So this is a conversion like how a bad website is so good. Don’t do those things. Well, the book on the right usability, engineering, all about process, all about the systematic approach to improving usability. And it didn’t talk at all about what you were designing. In fact, the book is kind of from before the Web really took off. And yet all these methods described in the book, like no user testing and Ristic evaluation, etc., all these methods are the exact once we’ve applied since then to find out what makes for good or bad websites and also even newer products, you know, mobile staff, watch Bates computers, et cetera.
You know, the methodology, the process, you know, applies to all these different products. So I would just say, and this is the reality of what we can truly say, that both sides are really important and both of them need attention. So now I will first talk a little bit about that product aspect of UX and then we’ll turn later on to the process aspect. So my first duality is, though, is that we do we don’t have a user interface and there’s a big trend actually towards zero user interface products. So various artificial intelligence products that have worked at his agency don’t have any Pushilin partners. Any commands is produced like I do things for you. And there’s also a voice based interfaces which don’t have this visible user interface. I mean, they do have a user interface because I speak a command and you listen to the response. And they have a lot of, by the way, guilty issues because a voice is an ephemeral media type.
So as soon as I spoken, someone is gonna switch to computers, respond, and that’s also gone. I can colleagues look at like I can look at it. Aramis is on a computer screen. I can look at it instead sort of icons and try to decide which ones to click on. So there’s a lot of small downside to this, but they also have some news, various advantages as well.
So that is a big trend towards reducing or eliminating know things you can click on and things you can read and think should. I mean, that is you should actively interact with it.
But at the same time, we had the Converse ibises tendency towards user interfaces and we have more and more user interfaces as animal products have a user interface in them. Are computerized software driven? I mean, it used to be that user interface was for computer design.
Originally, mainframe design and data on PC design and data on mobile decided mobile is just a PC in your pocket.
So same basic thing. But now you like your toothbrush, has a user interface and is, you know, on the Internet and your. Everything you know in your bathroom scale is on the inside and so forth. Everything is on the Internet and and online and Internet of things, etc. And these things combined to form and I would say a myriad of many, many, many user interfaces that the person has to deal with. At the same time, many of these devices have very bad user interfaces, partly because they don’t have that big screen, which allows us to give a lot of follower of usability guidelines, of giving people good feedback and such. And also partly because it just honestly. That bad design and could be designed better given their constraints, because they had not a lot of attention or knowledge about our UKCS process, many of these people who so many engineers, I would say, who develop a lot of these these products. But the worst scenario here, the worst kind of consequence of this UI everywhere is that the users now, again, this user experience we’re talking about. So the users now have to deal with hundreds of things, but user interfaces as opposed to the old one user interface. Now they have hundreds. And that means that they cannot devote brainpower to understanding and learning so many different things. And so each little thing may only have a small amount of confusion or a small amount of that uncertainty of how I do what. But then you multiply that by 100 and it’s not even just multiply it, because these things have a combinatorics tendency to oh, it works here, but doesn’t work there. And how do you do this and that on the other. And so UI everywhere is really, I think, one of the problematic trends right now. But at the same time, of course, also an exciting trend. And certainly if we want to be selfish and opportunity for us, are we emphasizing productivity? Well, that’s for sure. What we used to do that had always been the core of you is to make it possible for people to basically accomplish their goals and their tasks. You know, whether it’s an enterprise app. And you can you can, let’s say, run your payroll or it’s an e-commerce site, you can actually find and buy something and it’s going to arrive in the next day. Those are all accomplishing no kind of real world related tasks with the computer.
But there’s also a tendency and maybe more so in recent years and historically a tendency to time pass and time passes. The word I kind of picked up from Asia, from India, which means passing time. And so it’s using the computer for its own sake, for entertainment or enjoyment or having a good time.
So a lot of their lot of games, a lot of entertainment style applications, but also other things that people do just for for the sake of time passed, the first announced by people. That’s frivolous. But I think actually, you know, I think it’s acceptable for people to want to have a good time and to not only have serious tasks on the computer, but also have the computer be, you know, an important thing that we can and they can enhance our quality of life.
And, you know, it’s really a distinction that goes back all the way to antiquity, to the ancient Greeks. You know, they had these gods and follow the serious guys who would drive the sun chariot across the sky every day. And I talk to a very hardworking God.
And on the other hand, yet, Dionysus, the god of pot is wine having a good time. Always depicted, you know, in slightly scandalous circumstances in the art artwork from the time the Greeks had those two gods, you know, more than 2000 years ago. That shows it’s a very deep thing in human humanity that we had those two things that we both want to to do. And I think similarly, index, those are both to two things that we should worry about and try to accomplish and work on. Methodology might be slightly different for the two, but just like the product of both types of products that are great things for you to work on, then we have the question to ality. Is you doing good or doing bad? Well, I’ve been in this field for 36 years and I would, of course, only do it if I thought it was doing some good.
So I think that’s a mean part and we can list a lot of things. And this is doing is good. And the main one is maybe that our our kind of main philosophy, I guess, is to make technology advances humans rather than think you must be subservient to technology, empower humanity to control our technology. That’s our main goal. And then if you think more about our more immediate goal and specific projects, they will tend to be things like improve productivity, like I just mentioned, which is the only way anybody ever can get higher and higher salaries to produce more, because any company that pays people more than they produce, they’re going to get out of business. Right. So for people to basically kind of improve their standard of living, we’ve got to improve productivity.