SouthBy is over, the buildings have been unwrapped, and the installations teared down. Awards were handed out and celebrities went home. What an amazing experience.
At this event people sometimes came to me and asked why I would attend a specific talk, which does not have a direct connection to UX Design.
I got questions like: ‘Why are you attending blockchain talks’,
‘Is this brand marketing really for you’ or ‘AI.. you do UX right?’
I think what people tend to forget is that there is a story behind everything you do, a journey to be taken and a goal to achieve. From buying a house, finding your favorite whisky or… being surprised that Trump is the new president.
Only when you understand the technology you can start understanding these stories.
UX & Blockchain
This sounds very strange but user experience is everywhere. When you understand that blockchain is not about crypto currency but about securely tracking changes of a value between all parties of an ecosystem, the perspective changes.
IBM is creating a platform to track food distribution. Normally food would wait (and rot) for days in containers to get clearance. With blockchain technology, this can be instantly tracked and cleared for transport. Helping out not only the first world but also the developing countries who rely on our shipments.
Because the blockchain is all digital it gives fantastic opportunities for all kinds of user insights. Instead of piles of paperwork you can provide a clean digital user experience where finding information is intuitive and accessible. Where users can easily sign-up, be on-boarded and use the platform through their cell phones.
UX & Brand Marketing
Maybe less strange, but the connection can be somewhat fuzzy when you ask about UX and for example Brand Houses. When I question customers about how they find their most important brands; they often point to the social media channels. Yet if you ask about the online presence, they often found it obtrusive, jarring and fake.
This is a big problem with social media at this moment (and a big subject at the SXSW this year). You see more and more companies (Heineken, Jameson, Ford) switching from online (video) presence to an offline experience. People are not looking for goods or services, but for real relations, stories and a bit of magic.
90% of the actions are based on emotions, so get in the heart of your audience.
With the brand home of Jameson whiskey they had an 62% increase of engagement. Jameson achieved this by letting the customers really feel the grains, smell the whisky barrels and be part of the process. This creates a sensory social buzz, an environment where the customer wants to share its story online. This is the total opposite of how social marketing is often implemented today.
Shift your user experience into a more personal one, where the user is in the center of the experience rather than observing it.
UX & AI
There are many great articles and talks about AI. The dangers, the complexities and their algorithms. Artificial Intelligence does not seem to combine well with UX as it is such an abstract thing.
The mayor of London was telling a story where he is worried about the fragile social construct in London right now. Where he wants to transition from the bitterness, lost of hope and the blaming of others to a fair and inclusive society.
Create an equal society by steering technologies into good hands and not hinder the open social growth we have.
AI can help with the fake news and hate spreading through social media. Make sure that data is open and accessible, innovate into new technologies. Predict emotions and intent within the social media channels and filter fake news through trust scores to news items (like the CrossCheck project).
User experience has a vital role to improve in the journeys the society take but also to guide them in the journeys they want. Connect the society to the real personalized content instead of multiple layers of biased marketing strategies. Create the opportunities for new social platforms to arise and make way for an open, fair and inclusive society.
User experience is everywhere around us, from Blockchain to AI, from Branding to Politics. It helps people along their journeys and to reach their goals. Make the world a better place one step at a time, no matter the subject.