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Column: Envisioning New Horizons

UXmatters has published 5 editions of the column Envisioning New Horizons.

Top 3 Trending Envisioning New Horizons Columns

  1. Conversational AI Search Engines: Implications for Usability and the User Experience

    Envisioning New Horizons

    A critical look at UX design practice

    A column by Silvia Podesta
    March 4, 2024

    In February 2024, Fast Company [1] reported on the rise of conversational AI search engines. Large language models (LLM) power these tools, which can answer users’ questions by retrieving and summarizing information from the Internet.

    Since the rise of generative AI, several conversational AI search applications have cropped up online. Academic and scientific research is spearheading a wave of experimentation in this field. [2] Frenzied enthusiasm exists around what seems to be a new way of searching for content that provides an alternative to the Google model of search to which we’ve all become accustomed. Read More

  2. Tackling the Social Costs of the Digital Divide

    Envisioning New Horizons

    A critical look at UX design practice

    A column by Silvia Podesta
    February 5, 2024

    My mum decided that we had to fill out our family’s income-tax returns online, on the Tax Agency’s Web site, and from that moment on, my dad had to confront the daunting practicalities of obtaining his own digital identity. This entailed his making a Web call to a service provider to get his identity verified by a human agent. Seeing my dad struggling with this unknown medium, engaging in a type of interaction that felt completely cringey to him, was touching and somehow a bit funny, too. It struck me that he just couldn’t make himself look at the person on the screen. Instead, he invariably turned around to look at me, where I was standing silent and out of view—given the legal requirements of the online verification—but ready to provide assistance during the procedure.

    To be fair, my eighty-year-old dad is quite comfortable tinkering with his smartphone and proficient in carrying out the tasks that matter to him—for example, texting his loved ones, looking up information online, or perusing a Web shop. However, other tasks that are novel for him often come with unexpected hurdles and the risk of failure. A case in point: his identity verification failed. Read More

  3. User Experience at the End of Consumerism

    Envisioning New Horizons

    A critical look at UX design practice

    A column by Silvia Podesta
    January 8, 2024

    Imagining a world without consumerism is a very difficult exercise. For a very long time, we’ve all been immersed in a socio-economic system that is geared toward maximizing the purchasing and ownership of goods. But imagining a future in which online shopping would be no more—at least not in the frantic, addictive form it has taken over the last decade—would be an interesting speculative experiment for a UX designer today.

    However, after all, this might not be such a useless a stretch of the imagination as one might think. On Black Friday in November 2023, the French government launched a campaign to warn people off impulsive shopping to “save the planet and their finances.” [1] Plus, the ongoing climate-change debate is becoming rife with calls to rethink our consumer behaviors. So let’s suspend our rational judgment for a moment to envision a future that would be very different from what we know today. What could the digital landscape look like in a post-consumerist world? What could we take from such a vision to make today’s Web a better place? Read More

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