Reflections from UXCON16

Design is like storytelling for today’s interactions — dissolving real interfaces substituted by meaningful experiences from every channel

Brescian pavement responded quietly to the steps made by several imposing figures carrying their bags to Centro Pastorale — a beautiful palazzo used by the curia and offering accomodation to those in need. The town went to sleep, as if amassing strength for the full week of the new in media, consumption, tech and design — the Supernova Festival, where organisers today try to narrate the story that the event is telling through the contextual scenery of the place it is staged in.

Brescia stands as one of the art and design-driven cities, conserving and venerating the achivements of the past but pushing the el cielo up and far to next levels of engineering ingenuity, passion, and artful representation in textile, construction and other al-mano industries.

This year a reknown Swiss design consultancy, Sketchin, decided to have its annual design conference — UXCON — here, to try and prime the brimming energy of the past generations and today thinkers in order to better serve the customers of tomorrow. Using the art platform of the city to inspire good design of new products and services is a good motive; the ultimate product is the reduced form by way of ultimate function, and art has always had an uncanny way of pointing users to hidden meanings.

DSV’s Partner, Daniel Gusev, happily took the opportunity to talk about contextualising financial decisions for everyday life. This is a long standing point taken Daniel pushes through his personal adventure of FF and what has been taken up on the banner of the private investment vehicle that DSV is — exposing years of successful private equityexperience to the VC world, on the lookout for bright and audacious opportunities to rebuild the financial services framework — with equitable and accountable services.

Every notable step starts with a personal story, a volition built on sound beliefs of what matters: as so the story goes for many that you rationalise our steps for what truly makes one happy, for Daniel this has been his inner circle for quite some time and that what allows the revolving cycles of time to slow their course — creating new events around mechanical routines people do — forms new connections at the brain level and creates the time-space illusion of us having a profound timeful experience.

Fast and slow thinking says it all

Personal stories matter as they help us grasp at the elements of the accelerating surroundings — — where we either delve into the vagaries of real-time, or succumb to virtual shelter-worlds of our social media profiles or games.

Succumb to the information overload, or escape it in the virtual world

What we miss is that the memory links are unstable and can be rewritten, and the more numb or routinised they are, all the more easier they can be altered — or erased. The more events we face, the more prone to non-rememberance we become, so social media takes advantage of this by building viral campaigns of picking up facts and amplifying them through unique stories.

Data overwhelmed or hooked on a personal story

Creating and maintaining an emotion is tricky as it has to stick and cater to individual preferences and desires, but it plays a vital role as users delve deeper in data-driven selections, curated no longer by humans but by algorithms. The drive to digitise the relationship has to retain the personal touch.

We need to research more thoroughly for social concepts that have been created in the humanity’s drive to connect the vast spaces of land through technology — but keeping the intimate contacts intact — and facilitating trust. Whether we look and research Rai stones or Okozukai money keeping, they all keep the human element an intangible part of the process.

For the everyday financial life — one attempt to keep users involved as they depart pure financial applications is to design around the irrationality of users, not to enforce rationality. When comparing classic banking and P2P remittance websites like Venmo, people stick with the interaction built around the utility of sending money, as it guides and envelopes the process.

Daniel also shared with the first results of his FF adventure, where good reviews were received from the FF being demoed for the first time at NY Finovate Fall, where it premiered its unique social science driven approach to curate and envelope each transaction with a story that nudges users toward positive paths and help them focus on what is truly relevant, countering the stress-alleviating mechanism of the brain to process these routines through automated connections.

The speech was best sketched by @chrisnoessel from IBM, who also took time to classify the abstracts from speakers presentations and present an overall view of what problems design touches on and how multifaceted the path towards a well designed product or experience is: no longer just about the form or even the technical function of it, but increasingly touching other domains researched by psychologists, neuro-biologists, AI programmers. Narrow AI to build vertical experience domains assisting users interacting with it through dissolving interfaces, rebuilding trust to enable user communication, and reorganising the routine of user interaction.

Other notable moments from other great speakers that Daniel was very happy to collect at UXCON were:

How to best design new technologies to the needs and fears of the users. Just knowing a tech may help is not enough. Design should be not only around the tech you are trying to implement, but of the behavior and experience of users around them.

Roberto Quaglia — Designing inspiring solutions requires inspired employing and proper redesign of workplace processes. Developing the right growth mindset culture in companies to achieve and exceed goals. The end scenario of tech in the human world: be the fabric, another skin — getting and merging external, internal and neural data. Augmented world. New user experience scenarios needed to curate the new formed data thanks to synthesis and atomic data sets we can now process and make available to non professional users.

Epson sharing the AR for glasses. for professional users. Engineers, Surgeons, etc. Making the software part is important. Aiding users decisions in vital industries.

Phil Balagtas from GE Aviation told an inspiring story on how hardware and software innovation enables airlines to build and maintain trust with flyers and how the hardware business of building engines is slowly turning into a data science business, connected to companies T1 objectives of fuel efficiency, emissions responsibility and ultimate security.

Thank you, Francesca, Cesare and the Sketchin team, love you Chris, Daniel, Phil, and others who’ve inspired me greatly!

PS. Hoping we could move the design discussion up a notch and do an inspiring design-driven talk as part of the NextMoney MOW Chapter v. soon!