User Experience – destructive influence of innovation on humanity and social responsibility of a designer.

User Experience – disruptive influence of innovation on humanity and social responsibility of a designer

Humanity strives to simplify – our brain is lazy and often flattens its own perceptivity in order to save energy, so much needed for its functioning. On a psychological and social level, humanity is also striving to lighten the load, which has resulted in the creation of tools, machines and later on, algorithms. Igor Farafonov wonders if the field of UX will not limit humanity so deeply that we will regress in development, and if UX as such has a chance to exist in the future – if it will be replaced by artificial intelligence?

Igor Farafonov is the managing director of Uxeria, a leading Polish UX/UI Design agency. He is passionate about usability, both in terms of user research and implementing features into products and testing them. Igor was also a guest of our podcast, on the basis of which this article was written.

What is User Experience?

In fact, everything is UX. Empiricality is a native feature of all living beings that have developed senses. Sensing is a fundamental tool that is used to learn about and recognize the environment in which living organisms find themselves. Experience is at the same time a basic feature and an end in itself of the human mind. Through experiences we learn and shape, both our state of knowledge, our worldview, and our bodies. Considering that we are all users of the planet, relational constructs, or our own thoughts, everyone experiences the phenomenon of user experience.

However, given the field in question, we will call UX an interdisciplinary look at the product from the customer’s point of view, in order to provide the most feasible functionality, while at the same time looking at it from the co-creator’s point of view – that is, a compromise with the creators’ capabilities and the financial or operational expectations of the producers. UX is therefore ergonomics based on the compromise between expectations and usability.

When it comes to the technology industry and digital products, we tend to have a stratification that generates a division into: UX, UI, UA and Research. Many times we may find that all these functions are performed by one person, but briefly: UX will design solutions and cooperate with UI, who is responsible for intra-system implementation of functionalities. These can be tested with the help of researcher, who beforehand uses different research methods, qualitative-quantitative, to deliver the most optimized product thanks to the feedback coming from the research. The last of the representatives may be persona Business UX, which combines analytical business tools with product and customer knowledge to nurture relationships with a company’s business partners and customers. User Experience itself is such a broad discipline that one can encounter a completely different approach to the duties and fields in which these specialists move.

What perspective do user experience specialists have?

Probably all of us are familiar with situations that are often referred to as professional bias. Sports journalists do not have the same cheerful perspective on the operations of football clubs as their supporters. Psychologists can rationalize everything through patterns of behavior known in the literature and their own practice, while marketers and drinkers will view people and their behavior from the perspective of image and its impact on the environment and relationships. User experience and the professionals who study it are more generally oriented and teach a holistic view of processes. – The most fascinating thing about creating companies like Uxeria is that being on the market for so many years and trying to participate in it, we create and co-create this whole digital world. We see how we humans change technology, and how technology changes us. It’s such a distinctive look, because on the one hand it’s design, on the other hand it’s research, which helps to see from a bird’s eye view what is the impact of technology on people, on humanity, on society, on bonds, on relationships and on everything we do – explains Igor Farafonov.

The Uxeria executive gave his own definition in the podcast: – Generally UX design is that design with customer insights – formulates succinctly. He also raised the problem of iteration in this aspect, which negatively affects the development and evaluation of this field. Most products are created on the basis of reproducible replicas and solutions known from other applications or websites. This means that we rarely come across applications that surprise us in some revolutionary way with their convenience or functionality. Many of the apps replicate a pattern of building, and most of them fail to address the underlying issues and pain points of users.

The state of mobile

Guest in the broadcast, when asked what he thinks about the situation in the mobile technology market, states clearly: – Mobile is not going to die out, it is still the best relationship between mobility and ergonomics – Farafonov says. This is reflected in both statistical data and market and social observations. This is supported by both the speed of use and the freedom of such a capability – regardless of where the user is.

– Faster internet will give mobile the ability to use mixed reality or 3D objects superimposed on reality, something Google Maps tried to do recently, the development of robotization may eventually lead to the fact that you’re walking down the street, at night, and the lights that illuminate the street illuminate it for you; or suppose you’re reaching the bus stop, and the display tells you that the nearest bus is in 7 minutes – predicts with the simultaneous statement that mobile is only a form of devices and will develop along with the technology itself, and looking at how drivers relate to it and what benefits they get from it, this sector will constantly develop.

Drivers of development?

The podcast also raised important issues of drivers, i.e. factors that determine the development and the direction it will take. In the case of technological development and the society that uses it, one such driver is of course learning, whose discoveries help answer questions about the possible uses and potential of both discovered and as yet undiscovered concepts, inventions or processes.

– You know, learning is for example: artificial intelligence, machine learning, industry fall 0, VR, AR, 3D printing, robotics, robotization, better and better internet, some micro areas, so electric devices, solar power and eco-friendly technologies – explains.

The second driver of development is itself market, which through its structuring dictates its demand and how much it is able to pay for meeting its needs, which thanks to market mechanisms regulates the process of development or disappearance of a given technology.

– Marketplace is a business. These are the things that come out of business demand, where there is market prosperity, and where given macroeconomic indicators affect the development of particular categories – explains the expert.

The third driver is people, who use these technologies and are the regulators who verify the adaptability and usability of given ideas and solutions. They are also innovators, ahead of their generation, such as. Da Vinci, Tesla or Thales of Miletus.

– People this is society. This is, on the one hand, the social demand for certain solutions, but on the other hand also individuals who come up with certain, sometimes brilliant, new solutions – says Farafonov.

Still another factor is investors and relations with them, which are indispensable for companies seeking funding, necessary especially in the initial phases of their business plan. It is on the favor of these people and their faith in the visions of the creators that it will depend whether a given implementation will be possible and realized.

Most of the innovations are created on the basis of a mix of all these things. For example, we have VR, which is growing scientifically, but also Mete, which has high demand and a very favorable economy in terms of macroeconomic. Well, let’s put those two things together so you can do surgery or vijar learning or other things – articulates Igor.

User Experience – a dangerous puzzle?

What built our society will kill our society, that is the constant desire to simplify. Note that one of the main drivers of innovation is to do things easier, faster, cheaper and better, so defacto. These are really the main thematic drivers that are responsible for our innovations – Uxeria’s chairman is getting worried. At the same time, he expresses concern that while taming fire pushed us to revolution (although fire also causes fires) the invention of television has already had quite a disruptive effect on us, what about when augmented reality and metaversive technologies are advanced enough that we spend most of our lives in them.

– I could imagine that in a year, being adapted to VR, I can spend 8h a day in it and I won’t have a headache, in three years it will be 16h a day, and in 5 years I’ll replace all my human reactions and reagents with a matrix in which I live and which is created by Zuckerberg. What I fear the most is that we will become entangled in the era of someone’s sick imagination – he adds.

The social responsibility of the designer

– I would say it’s a social responsibility not only of the designer, but of the whole business, which should tell us where we should turn off the desire to constantly simplify, where to allow ourselves to do more difficult things. Using car navigation is debilitating, and young people already have trouble focusing on one topic, whereas they are very multi-threaded, like the internet- wonders.

It should also be a design responsibility to create usability itself for the improvement of a given formula, rather than reproducibly copying and replicating previous ones. Designers should develop business, not fool the public. According to Igor, UX Designers should focus on simplifying processes, but not for the sake of simplifying them. It should be a consequence of improving a given process in terms of adding another element that will make us, as participants in an event or users of a given tool or process, able to focus on it rather than focusing all or nothing at all. Continuous simplification is destructive for the brain, which becomes so lazy that in a crisis it is not able to cope with the simplest things.

Psychologists look for other reasons

Sociologist Jaroslaw Gibas makes an interesting point about the decline of cognitive skills over the last 30 years. Sociologist distinguishes several possible scenarios responsible for the intellectual decline among the population. The first is the commercialization of education, whereby higher education institutions follow grants and funding more than the level of knowledge of their students. De-intellectualization can also be a reason for increased stress and nformation overload. The more and the longer the stress we are under, the less cognitive skills we have to manage our life , as well as stress, which results in a constant carousel of stupidity.

Will UX designers and programmers be displaced by artificial intelligence?

– I think very many professions may become extinct for us in a while. Let’s start with the first thing – programming. Imagine that in Figma, in a moment there will be a plug-in which causes HTML code to be created, a bit like in Axure, but thanks to artificial intelligence it will suddenly turn out that this code is fully semantic, fully WCAG compliant, fully adjusted for SEO and suddenly bam – we don’t have half of the frontend at work. Thanks to headless tools backend specialists can be replaced with business analysts whose competences will be sufficient to build a good backend infrastructure for a given system, most of the system designers will be replaced with automated systems – predicts Igor Farafonov. However, User Experience itself, in his opinion, will never be eradicated by artificial systems, because the basis for business is value represented by the human factor, which is where User Experience comes in.

More interesting conclusions and observations can be heard in the podcast, hosted for listeners by Robert RachwaƂ.

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