Many people seem to think of user experience as a controllable outcome of a design process—as though it were something at which you can throw minds, designers, and builders with the goal of understanding and manipulating a person’s experience of a product or service. In fact, user experience is often thought of as defining and managing a person’s experience of a product.
But your product doesn’t define a user’s experience. That person’s own behavior, attitudes, and emotions do. Thus, user experience is a feeling. In reality, it’s even more than that, but if you start with the idea that user experience is a feeling, you’ve already made progress toward really understanding user experience. Read More
Smartware are computing systems that require little active user input, integrate the digital and physical worlds, and continually learn on their own. Now, in this, the final edition of our column on smartware, we’ll consider how the powerful capabilities of smartware will enable new interactions and user experiences that, over time, will become seamlessly integrated into our digital lives. Read More
Many modern experiences that are supposed to satisfy our intrinsic needs often have the opposite effect. As the Time article “You Asked: Is Social Media Making Me Miserable?” described, users of the social-media platforms Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram experience depression and anxiety after perusing their feeds. And why not? Their feeds deliver a glut of images and videos that depict friends taking lavish vacations or doing other enviable things. The flashy highlight reels that bombard users provoke unfair comparisons—and, as human beings, we often internalize our shortcomings more readily than our blessings. This dulls our focus on things that should make us feel grateful.
But social-media platforms’ attempt to bolster the well-documented human need for acceptance often has the opposite effect. And this is just one of the needs that define what it means to be human. Our hyper-paced modern culture blunts and distorts other important human needs as well.
In this article, I’ll discuss four important human needs that product companies tend overlook and how UX professionals can help to nurture them rather than contribute to their suppression: