What Can UX do to Help With Covid-19

During Jacob Nielson’s Q&A at the first ever virtual UKCS conference and attendee asked, how can design contribute to the current global pandemic of covid-19 and help our users, our customers and our communities?

I mean, of course, in many ways this is not specifically design or software user interface issue. It’s a medical issue. But that said, I think it’s a variety of different things that we can do. So back to what it is a medical issue. There’s a lot of researchers, medical researchers working on making vaccines, are making cures and whatever. And those guys all use software to do data analysis and all that. And most of that has terrible user interfaces. And so doing better in doing this kind of complex data analysis, we are actually working on doing a course on that that’s going to be launched in the meanwhile. So we don’t have that really yet. And it’s a very complicated thing to do. But but for sure, doing better. You exercise on supporting active scientists in general, but maybe specifically the scientists working on this problem is right.

There would be would be a good thing. Then there are some of the more general thing about talking about the general public. And we of course, we know that right now we have all these collaboration software collaborations that we’re doing right now. And these systems can can for sure be better. I think that already are to pretty good for targeting users like like us. But we’re super users. So we’ve discovered a few small usability problems that can zoom like when you we had a lot of people when they were trying to click the flag for their country, they click the flag for something like obscure drill in the Arctic Island that was had the same flag because it was a Norwegian colony, but it was Norway. But this doesn’t really matter. And it’s a small thing, but there are small problems in software like Zoom or Aslak, but they actually also pretty well designed for people like us. But we are not the broad public. Right. And so really driving through that now, we are talking about effects at least 10, if not more, of broadening the scope of people using this type of software in particular.

And that becomes a huge usability issue. And in particular, we are talking about a lot of elderly users having to use it now who maybe didn’t use these things before. We all know when talking about the specific virus that people 70 and older, particularly 88, older, the big risk group. And so they have to be like 100 percent isolated and they can’t meet with their grandchildren or anybody else. So that’s super isolating and very hard for those people. And yet to sign these days really is not at all suitable for old people. And we’ve had to work on this for years. And we have done we’ve done reports on how to design for senior citizens.

We’ve done reports on how to design for teenagers. And honestly, with you did. And honestly, the teenage report is so much better than the seniors report. Most companies don’t care about old folks, even though we had no data available on how to design for them. And I think now we really need to design better for senior citizens that we have a lot of people and they can’t rely on the old solution, which is, yeah, my my grandson, who’s a nice young man, came by and set up a computer for me that can rely on that anymore. So this interface had to be really, really simplified dramatically for the senior citizens to really use them. Well, so I think that’s where in terms of like more large scale impact, maybe dramatic simplification of these type of of interfaces, and particularly in terms of designing for seniors, which is so blatantly ignored that we can do much better.

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