Consequences

A five minute talk I gave at UX Bristol, Friday July 18th 2014.

Hi, I’m @mrjoe but you can call me Joe.

I’m proud to have improved a great many user experience over the last 10 years, over half a billion or so interactions.

UX is a force for good

Hands up if you agree?

[Not surprisingly most do]

Why is ‘UX a Force for Good?’

[Replies included]

We make user’s lives better
We make stuff easier to user
We help organisations focus on the needs of people

I agree, UX is a great thing and I’ve been lucky enough to work with some great companies to meet these aims.

Here’s a good example.

AO.com

Appliances Online

Has anyone bought from them?

[a few hands go up]

A great experience?

[a few yeses]

Appliances Online sell washing machines, fridges and other kitchen appliances. Their website is great, it’s easy to use and they back it up with great customer service and fantastic delivery. They even own their own delivery company.

Comet has ceased trading

Anyone remember this happening? The UK high street appliance retailer Comet shut its doors in 2012.

Not as a direct consequence of AO.com but we know many High Street stores have suffered because purchases have shifted to internet retailers.

Blockbuster (DVD rentals), Borders (books), Virgin Megastores and Tower Records (CDs, DVDS) are no more thanks to the Internet.

The Comet closure alone resulted in the loss of 7,000 jobs.

Now we could say that we have on the whole made many more lives better by making good cheaper, easier and more convenient to buy. We’ve shifted wealth away from the old school business to start-ups.

Is this a good thing?

My local now closed Kite Shop

This was my local Kite Shop. It also closed in 2012. I went in there once. The day of their closing down sale and I bought a kite that had been discounted.

I spoke to the owner and asked why the shop had shut.

He summed it up in two words:

The Internet

I felt guilty, it wasn’t that I had driven his shop out of business, but I was part of the industry that is doing that. It felt more real than the closure of any large company, a nice guy with a great business that was now over.

Is UX a force for good?

So I ask the question. Is UX a Force for Good?

Replies from the audience:

On the whole yes
Some mummers

I’m not saying we should stop doing what we are doing.

We are making the new digital world a better place but we do need to think about what we are doing to the people’s lives. People who don’t know HTML, who can’t build a social media campaign, who can’t get their shop high in the Google listings.

Work has changed, we are lucky as we’re riding that wave of change. Many aren’t as fortunate.

Thank you.

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