At networking and business events, I often get asked about where I think user experience is going. A common theme that has emerged during these conversations is the sense that some of the latest trends in software—such as robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence—may do away with the need for UX design. While I understand the overarching fear of this perceived threat to UX designers’ livelihood, I find this very human fear ironic given what the worry is about. People often fear what they don’t quite understand and, certainly, the general hoopla about robots taking over human’s jobs breeds much fear and misunderstanding.
However, our guiding principle should always be: When we, as humans, use a product, we should not have to adapt to the technology. Instead, technology should adapt to us. A product that does this successfully is well designed. To create such well-crafted experiences, companies will need UX designers more than ever. Good design does not just happen. In actuality, the introduction of a new technology has no bearing on the validity and continued value of a mature design process. Read More
These days, it seems that everyone is all about design thinking—scrambling to jump on this runaway train and ride it for what it’s worth before the next big thing hits. There are design-thinking classes and certifications from premier management and technology consulting firms. However, UX professionals who focus on delivering amazing user experiences to people have always been design thinkers—for very good reason. After all, everything we do and experience in life is designed. From the applications we use, to the way we purchase a cup of coffee, design is everywhere. These things don’t just happen. Product teams don’t just write and execute requirements. Business analysts don’t just dream up these experiences. We design them by following design principles and business strategies. So, by employing the same design strategies to real business problems, we are bound to be able to come up with better solutions.
Digital transformation is another popular term that describes the journey companies are undertaking today as they look to integrate digital technologies into every aspect of their business. These transformations consider people, process, organizational culture, the how, what, and why around the ways customers engage with their business. While every major company is engaging in digital transformation, their progress and maturity in this endeavor varies greatly. Throughout what are often multiyear transformation programs, they’re grappling with legacy processes, technology, and culture. As a result, many are still struggling to deliver tangible business outcomes. In fact, it is hard to find any company that will stand up and say, “Yes! We have reached the end of our digital-transformation journey, and we succeeded!” Why is that? Read More
Recently, I conducted a design-thinking workshop. That, in and of itself, is no big deal; I do them all the time. I also teach others how to conduct and facilitate design thinking and quickly move to “design doing.” However, this workshop was different. I faced my toughest audience of all time—a group of individuals with such strong opinions. These folks were smart and insightful in ways I had never experienced before. They had strong personalities and were seemingly able to build and destroy at will. In short, this was my daughter’s kindergarten class.
Her teachers invited me to come in and read a story to the class—and perhaps share something about what I did for a living. The reading part was easy. I could choose from hundreds of my daughter’s books or even buy a new one to read. The sharing part was much more difficult. I struggle telling adults about what I do for a living. How could I explain this to five and six year olds in the right way? Should I focus on the design part? The technology part? If design, I might come off as someone who draws cartoons—and I am terrible at drawing. If technology, I might be inundated with calls from parents asking me to fix their Wi-Fi or take a look at a malfunctioning computer. Read More