Picture from 79er.com.
As I get older, I have begun to appreciate the concept of the “User Experience” (UX) – the idea that things should be designed well and that they should be imagined with their end-user in mind from the start. It’s a concept that has been at the forefront of my work-life lately, as many of the products in the cybersecurity space are built for function, and are not pleasant to use in the strictest sense. In many cases, this may be because the builders of the product are resource-strapped and literally can’t devote their efforts to the User Interface (UI) or UX. In many other cases, it’s the case of engineers telling people they can have something “in any colour as long as it’s beige”. It would be easy to complain about the instances where UX isn’t considered, or considered poorly or wrongly, but that would be negative and boring.
I’ve started seeing some good examples of User Experience lately. Thomas Heatherwick here in the UK has designed the new iconic double-decker buses, and those are functional and well-designed. I came across the design firm “Rux” recently, and they’ve done a very interesting vodka bottle. There are countless other examples of really good design out there, and I find myself seeking them out more often now.
It may be the INTJ in me that seeks out the ideal, systems that should work – to include how they work and how they look and how people interact with them – but I’m finding myself more and more intrigued by UX design. It’s a concept that engages two of areas of interest for me – technology and psychology. I have a great deal of experience with the former and find the latter to be fascinating, so the intersection of the two becomes all the more appealing. Thinking about how it will advance in the future – how it will come to apply to robots and the “internet of things” and how people will interact with the advances that are coming – it’s really fascinating to ponder the sheer possibility of it all.