How UX Changes in the Recession

Our Q&A session during our New York virtual U.S. conference. Several attendees at Jacob Nelson to give his thoughts on how the field of UX will change due to the current pandemic and which industries may experience increased demand for U.S. evolution doesn’t stop or technology evolution doesn’t stop.

And so there will be new things invented. What will be the big things in five years? That’s hard to say, but there will be something that I think is pretty much guaranteed.

I think that that in the shorter term. So while this covid pandemic is happening, I think the the kind of realistic expectation is probably that we are all going to be about 30 percent poorer than we were before. Just because everything works much more for a lot of companies are closed. And secondly, even the people that who are not close to work from home for most people is just not nearly as productive. And so as an overall impact on the world, everybody is about 30 percent poorer. But even though that sounds not so nice to think that 30 percent poorer, that means like in the US, we’re back to where we were instead of sort of standard of living about 20 years ago, 20 years ago, that I had already started Niels Gnomic. We were operating and we did good projects on Europe. Maybe it’s like how it was 30 years ago. Well, I lived in Copenhagen three years ago and that was pretty nice back then. So it’s not so bad to be reduced in your standard of living by 30 percent. There’s still you still user experiences of the going on.

That was back when we were at that level of income before. I mean, it’s certainly very bad for developing countries. That’s a very different and very sad story, right? I mean, I think the expectation is that about three hundred million people in the world will be reduced to extreme poverty who had otherwise escaped.

The happiest news the last 20 years is generic. One billion people got out of extreme poverty, but now about 300 million are going to get back into that because of the economic slowdown. And so that’s that’s not so happy. But if you just think about. So maybe about 50 million people will die because of reduced economic circumstances. But that’s in the developing world. In the rich world, being 30 percent poorer doesn’t mean we die. Right. It just means that we’re back to where we were before. And that is a little bit bad for us because you is. Partly a luxury, and it’s only partly but people can afford to demand high quality, which means great user experience when they’re rich. And so when their thirties and poorer in, it’s going to get a little bit more back to basics. And let me just get stuff that works rather than stuff that works well. But I do think that it’s a little bit different to say, well, we’re going to be back to where we were 20 years ago, back when we were 30 years ago, because there has been those 30 years. In those 20 years they have happened. People have experienced that. They’ve gotten used to higher quality products. So I think that even if they are poorer, they will still like higher quality products. And so I still think that there will be that need for user experience to create high quality and different type of interactions. But also remember that that’s only half of what it does is create high quality. The other half of what it does is create higher productivity. And that is, in fact, one of the ways we can get the world economy back again is that we can have higher productivity. And so right now, the main productivity challenge is this entire work from home scenario where people are not as productive as they used to be. And that is I think there’s many reasons for that. But one of the reasons is certainly relates to things like what what the different software tools are.

And so we have not had as much maybe attention on collaboration software in the past, but now it’s become much more critical thing. And so that could could be worthy of a lot more U.S. attention. And just all the things that we’ve always done in terms of improved productivity are still going to be more so in demand. The poorer companies are, the more they will want to crank out results and therefore they should anyway invest more rather than the U.S. or the more it becomes critical for them to have high productivity and increase their their value.

But again, goes back to what we had to argue for that demonstrate that if you do better design and our way of thinking, much better design, you’re actually going to get more output, which I believe is true. But I mean, it’s not everybody believes that that we have to we have to keep arguing that point. I think that’s even more so true in this in this scenario. And this analysis, after all, is going to continue for it’s hard to say how many years, but you have two years worth of home scenario, probably something I ate before. If we are lucky, we get a good vaccine. Right. Most people say that’s about one and a half to two years away. So that’s a long time. So we kind of say, well, you know, let it keep going now. We’ve got to make it make it better. And we that’s our field. We know how to make knowledge work better.

Thank you. And I think we might have time to spare us one last question that came in just kind of around. What industries do you think we’ll experience some sort of increased demand for us in the future?

Well, and in the very short term future, I would say, is probably something like the work from home and collaboration software, because that really can we can have a lot of big improvements. But other than that, I do think that a lot of sort of entertainment oriented areas can can can benefit a lot from increased better improve.

Do you know. And that I think is one of our next frontiers is always video games. We’ve always sort of partly, I would say, conquered or turned around to the the UCS thinking there’s a lot of games, research games, usability type of of activity, because the games people, they used to be very gangsta’s, they’re usually OK, you know, the hardcore gamers they all care about, like, oh, shoot the monsters or whatever. But after a while they discovered that if people can figure out how to shoot the monster, why, if I’m shooting like this and not shooting that it works, that makes it a much more enjoyable. And so in recent years, I would say reason is maybe the last ten years or so, there’s been a lot of emphasis on they don’t necessarily always call the usability and so on, but sort of on interaction, interaction, research in the games industry.

So now we just need to kind of broaden that into a broader set of it’s something called experience economy. Such just it’s like an exquisite experience and user experience. I really just have the same really. So we just need to have our style of approach adopted there.

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