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Technology

Blockchain UX: Challenges, principles and heuristics

UX still remains relevant for any type of technology.

“If you are a designer looking to pave ways into the Blockchain technology and applications, it is never late to start. From my personal experience I would suggest to kick start your learning by getting acquainted with the three core components the technology is composed of being: distributed ledger technology (DLT), decentralized (or better, distributed) networks, and public-key cryptography.”

Jo Mercieca a.k.a. /jomercieca ~ Medium

Don’t discount the role of UX in IoT

Machines have feelings too.

“The IoT network can range from a smart home thermostat to medical devices that send patient data from an ambulance to the emergency room to a tractor gathering crop yield data from different areas of the field, and so much more. IoT products are in their infancy—well, maybe the toddler stage—and spreading in different industries (for example, UX will play a huge role in smart factories of the new Industry 4.0) And, as mentioned, UX is not limited to the outside of the device; it is in all areas of the device. Let’s make it count.”

Kianosh Pourian a.k.a. /kianoshpourian | @kianoshp ~ The Magazine of the User Experience Professionals Association

As machine learning and AI perform magic, how can UX professionals help?

Deep understanding through some deep human learning.

“(…) UX designers and researchers need to be the co-creators of intelligent solutions to make sure AI technology works for people and society. More than ever, we must consider the capabilities and roles of human versus machine. When should machines make decisions and take action, and when should they augment or support people making decisions? How will these AI solutions make people feel? Do people feel like the solution is trustable, easy, and fun, or do they feel frustrated or even potentially endangered? UX professionals must act to learn, share, collaborate, and participate in cognitive technology research and development both at a strategic level and as a part of the product development process. We should also get involved in governance. We encourage UX professionals to join us and continue this dialog so that we can help create a better world.”

Cindy Lu a.k.a. and Alice Preston ~ UXPA magazine

UX and service design for connected products report

Take it away!

“In this Insight Report, we’ll look at the factors which make UX for IoT particularly challenging. We’ll discuss how technical architecture and business models shape UX, and how IoT blurs the line between product and service experiences. We’ll look at the need to give users transparency around how complex systems work and share data, in particular in relation to GDPR. And we’ll set out the challenges of designing distributed user experiences across multiple UIs, and show how some companies are tackling the challenges of designing for both hardware and software in parallel.”

Claire Rowland a.k.a. /clairerowland | @clurr ~ IoT.uk

Tying in Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality to your brand’s digital presence

All technology gets a business application, one way or another.

“Although we are now relatively more familiar with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), it is still quite a challenge to understand how to design effective brand experiences with them. You don’t want to invest in technology for it only to be a gimmick that does not significantly bolster your branding activities. And yet, there is the pressure to not get left behind while everyone else seems to be using cutting edge technology. Most major brands today—The New York Times and Mercedes, as two examples—have used augmented reality and virtual reality experiences to engage customers. How can your brand leverage AR/VR for best results?”

Babar Suleman a.k.a. /babarsuleman | @B_Su ~ Boxes and Arrows

Stewardship in the Age of Algorithms

Some deep thinking going on here. Be aware of the algo’s.

“This paper explores pragmatic approaches that might be employed to document the behavior of large, complex socio-technical systems (often today shorthanded as ‘algorithms’) that centrally involve some mixture of personalization, opaque rules, and machine learning components. Thinking rooted in traditional archival methodology (…) has been a total failure for many reasons, and we must address this problem. (…) It may well be that we see the emergence of a new group of creators of documentation, perhaps predominantly social scientists and humanists, taking the front lines in dealing with the Age of Algorithms, with their materials then destined for our memory organizations to be cared for into the future.”

Clifford Lynch ~ First Monday (22.12)

Preparing your UX career for Virtual Reality

Digital designers really need to understand the underlying technologies. As always.

“Designers will need to ramp up on new design skills to make a smooth career transition to the design of immersive experiences when the inevitable wave of new VR and AR design projects hits the pipeline.”

Pabini Gabriel-Petit a.k.a. /pabini | @pabini ~ UXmatters

The internet of things: Interaction challenges to meaningful consent at scale

Giving consent respects humanity.

“Having strong, clear apparency to real semantic and pragmatic transparency as a backbone to meaningful consent will also help clarify risks within the data flows of large-scale, heterogeneous IoT infrastructures, from homes to cities to national infrastructure. Overall, by improving apparency to s/p transparency, we make meaningful consent possible. When meaningful consent becomes part of a system, entirely new kinds of services may be imagined that create value based on visible, shareable data. We can also make services more resilient. To get there, we need the design acumen of HCI researchers and UX practitioners to help design, deliver, and evaluate apparency interactions at IoT scale.”

M.C. Schraefer et al. ~ Interaction magazine Volume XXIV.6

Improving UX with the concept of Artificial Intelligence

UX designers have to become computational thinkers as well.

“UX designers have years of experience in creating the best design elements, and most of the time the results of which carries a UX designer to be largely positive in terms of increased interaction and achieving the bottom line. However, there is a gap between the positive change brought by UX designers and what should be the utopian final script interaction. The results may be better, but the UX design in this world cannot guarantee that every user will like everything on the website or application. There will always be some people who adore in other parts of the conversion path with a focus on UX. The main reason for this is not enough customization in the UX design to optimize the interests of each user separately. Each user is different and needs a different treatment. UX design works on a global level but there is still a gap and potential that can be achieved and brands help to invest more in significant UX design.”

Melissa Crooks a.k.a. /msmelissacrooks ~ home toys

Does HCI scale? Scale hacking and the relevance of HCI

If you can scale, you can deliver at any level of abstraction.

“HCI has had a massive impact on the world through streamlining and enabling millions of interfaces on billions of devices. As we face the potential of a tenfold increase in the number of devices and their complexity, it is worth asking about the relationship between HCI and scale. Do the tools and research methods we currently deploy scale to the millions of future interfaces and systems, used by billions of people, across multiple contexts? In this article we outline how we see the challenge of scale. By scale we mean how technology is used in large networks of interconnected systems, with billions of users, across diverse contexts. How can we understand and design for this complex of interconnected uses? Put simply, does HCI scale?”

Barry Brown, Susanne Bødker, and Kristina Höök ~ Interactions XXIV.5

Human-centered machine learning: 7 steps to stay focused on the user when designing with ML

New technology waves are ahead of us.

“Machine learning is the science of helping computers discover patterns and relationships in data instead of being manually programmed. It’s a powerful tool for creating personalized and dynamic experiences, and it’s already driving everything from Netflix recommendations to autonomous cars. But as more and more experiences are built with ML, it’s clear that UXers still have a lot to learn about how to make users feel in control of the technology, and not the other way round.”

Jess Holbrook a.k.a. /jessholbrook courtesy of O’Reilly Design

Chatbots and the new world of HCI

HCI as an academic field is waking up, too.

“A potential revolution is happening in front of our eyes. For decades, researchers and practitioners in human-computer interaction (HCI) have been improving their skills in designing for graphical user interfaces. Now things may take an unexpected turn—toward natural language user interfaces, in which interaction with digital systems happens not through scrolling, swiping, or button clicks, but rather through strings of text in natural language. This is particularly visible in recent developments in chatbots, that is, machine agents serving as natural language user interfaces to data and service providers [1], typically in the context of messaging applications.”

Asbjørn Følstad and Petter Bae Brandtzæg ~ Interactions XXIV.4

Designing the user experience of machine learning systems

Innovation always happens at the edges.

“Research papers from the AAAI User Experience of Machine Learning Symposium ~ Consumer-facing predictive systems paint a seductive picture: espresso machines that start brewing just as you think it’s a good time for coffee; office lights that dim when it’s sunny and office workers don’t need them; just in time diaper delivery. The value proposition is of a better user experience, but how will that experience actually be delivered when the systems involved regularly behave in unpredictable, often inscrutable, ways? Past machine learning systems in predictive maintenance and finance were designed by and for specialists, while recommender systems suggested, but rarely acted autonomously. Semi-autonomous machine learning-driven predictive systems are now in consumer-facing domains from smart homes to self-driving vehicles. Such systems aim to do everything from keeping plants healthy and homes safe to “nudging” people to change their behavior. However, despite all the promise of a better user experience there’s been little formal discussion about how design of such learning, adaptive, predictive systems will actually deliver. This symposium aims to bridge the worlds of user experience design, service design, HCI, HRI and AI to discuss common challenges, identify key constituencies, and compare approaches to designing such systems.”

Mike Kuniavsky a.k.a. @mikekuniavsky, Elizabeth Churchill a.k.a. @xeeliz, and Molly Wright Steenson a.k.a. @maximolly

Designing for disappearing interfaces

However you assemble them, you have to define them.

“The internet becomes something that’s omnipresent, instead of just something you click on. As everything around us becomes inherently more dynamic, user interfaces will become more and more amorphous in their boundaries. And just as the internet will in effect ‘disappear’, so will our interfaces. We’ll still use them, but we won’t perceive them as separate, limited, defined spaces. They’ll be something far more integral to our experience.”

David McGillivray a.k.a. /dmcgillivray | @David_McG

Why emerging technologies are the next great frontier for UX

UX seems technology-driven, but it’s not. Experiences are as old as humans are, in whatever circumstances.

“Robotics. Genomics. Synthetic biology. Such emerging technologies are today at the cusp of widespread commercial adoption and will have disruptive impact across industries—from agriculture to manufacturing and health to energy. These technologies are the next great frontier for User Experience. Science, engineering, and design are percolating on solutions to many technological challenges. UX designers are bringing the expertise they’ve gained in creating digital and physical products to bear on new robotic and even biological products. For instance, at the Wyss Institute, cross-disciplinary teams comprising scientists, engineers, designers, business people, and other innovators are creating and commercializing bio-inspired products. Last year, the Bio/Nano Programmable Matter group at Autodesk created a synthetic bacteriophage and 3D printed the virus. The company, which is best known for its design and engineering software, is now working on a next-gen software platform for synthetic-biology design.”

Jonathan Follett a.k.a. /jonfollett | @jonfollett ~ UXmatters

Reasons why Agile transformations fail

Failures are better to learn from than successes. But they feel horrible.

“In this article, I’ll look at some of the most common reasons behind the failure of agile transformations. My hope is that this information will help your organization to avoid its agile initiatives’ falling foul of the same mistakes and ensure that you’re able to reap all of the rewards the approach has to offer.”

Allie Brock a.k.a. /alliebrock | @brocknroller ~ UXmatters

Can we design trust between humans and artificial intelligence?

Get used to it.

“For many years, interacting with artificial intelligence has been the stuff of science fiction and academic projects, but as smart systems take over more and more responsibilities, replace jobs, and become involved with complex emotionally charged decisions, figuring out how to collaborate with these systems has become a pragmatic problem that needs pragmatic solutions. Machine learning and cognitive systems are now a major part many products people interact with every day, but to fully exploit the potential of artificial intelligence, people need much richer ways of communicating with the systems they use. The role of designers is to figure out how to build collaborative relationships between people and machines that help smart systems enhance human creativity and agency rather than simply replacing them.”

(Patrick Mankins a.k.a. @patrickmankins ~ FastCo Design)

UX in the era of Internet of Things

Any technology push gets the UX drift.

“The Internet of Things is accelerating rapidly, and bringing with it a wealth of opportunity. Though many focus on the data and technology needs of the Internet of Things – the sensors, data, and the storage, security, and analysis of that data – we’re already forgetting to think about the humans interacting with those technologies.”

(Ted McCarthy a.k.a. @thisrunson ~ ThoughtWorks)