Your Very Own Bubble Experience
In my previous article, I talked about how the current direction of technological advancement will lead to Uber-Personalized User Experience — UX 2.0. But What is UX 2.0? What will it look like to you and me? The current article intends to demystify some of the ideas I talked about.
My Bank recently updated its Mobile User Experience. I am sure they meant well.
But well, now I have my screen dominated by tens of icons I never use, and navigating to the ones I do takes me no less than 4 clicks.
Maybe someone got benefited from this UX refresh. It was not me for sure.
That’s the problem with the current idea of User Experience.
Empathizing with the other side of the table, we can’t keep every customer happy. So we build to keep the maximum, or the chosen segment happy. We are used to building for cohorts, not people.
The end result is an extremely average User Experience.
There are two kinds of User Experience — “Average User Experience” aimed at masses, or “Targeted User Experience” that makes an average user unhappy. We live for the day to make every user feel special.
From static pages in Web 1.0, we have made rapid advances to the participative Web 2.0. As explained by Ben Thomson’s Aggregation Theory, the focus on User Experience has never been more. User Experience is one of the foremost things that differentiates or leads to the failure of Product Offerings.
The world will see accelerated technological advancements and the current pain points can only intensify as the inevitable technological advancements in the Decentralized Web 3.0 solidifies:
Decentralization with a massive influx in the Creator Economy will lead to decision paralysis in end-users.
People are less likely to make good decisions while consuming content
Intensified focus on Privacy will continue adding regulations on how companies obtain, use and retain user data.
Third-Party Personalization will be ineffective with reduced data flow to Products
Blockchain adoption will lead to accelerated innovation causing users to wield high bargaining power
The competition will reach sky-scraping heights with a fragmented overflowing market
How We Think About User Experience Needs To Adapt With The Tech Evolution
User Experience is providing a simple and elegant experience to users. But it is never simple to create something simple.
User Experience is powered by layers of thinking, iterations of designing, and careful contemplation about the simplest element.
Credits: Jesse James Garret’s http://uxdesign.com/assets/Elements-of-User-Experience.pdf
As the aforementioned changes affect the needs and the expectations end-users have of the internet, uber-personalization obviously needs to be the answer., at least a part of it.
Contrary to the current landscape when users take what products give, more will be demanded of the internet.
The user needs will see the shift from “User Needs from a Product” to “User Needs of the Internet”
To supply the increasing demand, the other layers of the User Experience will have to follow suit.
While a normal user is less likely to care about or wield control over the Information Architecture and Design, Interaction, Navigation, Interface, and Visual Design will see explicit focus.
But What Will Change?
To adapt to the changing ecosystem, additional constructs will be used to power the User Experience.
The New Aggregation layer
The User Experience Bubble
As we move towards the inevitable Uber-Personalization, triggered by privacy every user is likely to own their own bubble.
The personalization bubble, only loyal to its users, will act as the aggregation layer that is responsible for the content and the UX delivered to the users.
Triggered by the intensifying privacy laws, there would be no need for user data to flow outside the bubble.
Owning your personal bubble and the ability to manage how much or how little personalization you want, would be a much better option than the filter bubble that different products throw you in without even your knowledge.
The idea is of course, not without its limitations. There is a possibility substituting multiple parallel levels of personalization with a single layer might add to a deeper filter bubble.
Users might step into a dark world (of their own choice) bereft of any external light.
But, unlike the current landscape, the effectiveness and limitations of the system will be a choice of the user more than the choice of the big tech with deep pockets.
There is always a price to choice.
Back in the younger days of the Computer Industry, IBM had to be vertically integrated to be successful. This meant that IBM’s focus would span across making the hardware and the software and then the sales and service.
As the industry matured and the rules of the games more defined, IBM decided to offshore its divisions one by one narrowing its focus to what they believed their competency was.
Credits — Harvard Business Review
Clayton Christensen’s famous paper on Skate to Where the Money Will Be talks about how, as industries mature and the interface design concretizes, massive fragmentation and modularization begin in the industry.
Bigger companies find the sweet spot of their core competencies and stick to them while allowing smaller companies to grow and fill the gap.
User Experience will be no different.
Instead of big organizations controlling every aspect of their Product’s UX, the availability of more modular components will trigger users to personalize and pick-chose exactly what delights them.
User Experience Design will become similar to Build Your Own Sundae!
Envision yourself using a Payment layer that leverages the navigation of one provider and the visual design of the other, and all this while using the technology of your favorite provider.
Every Product today is trying to personalize the experience based on their understanding of us. Google sees us in the homework mode, tapping away at our keyboard, and thinks we are seeking knowledge.
Facebook and Instagram have us scrolling through infinity and think of us as entertainment seekers.
We are indeed a combination of multiple people and multiple needs. But the fragmentation of our data in different contexts does not always succeed in providing us the experience we deserve.
Barring the services of some prominent products, the recommendation of most products is awful.
In the end, the user is the victim.
The progress in edge computing and developments in AI will slowly catch up to enable our aggregation layer (User Experience Bubble) to understand us in all aspects, know our preferences in breadth and depth, and with all that information surface only the content its sure is absolutely relevant to us and in a way that we enjoy.
We all look at the world through our own eyes. In the same landscape, someone notices the greenery first, and someone the scorching sun. Someone preferred to sit on the grass while the others frolic in the cold lake. The world around us has enabled us to make those choices. And soon Technology would too.
This article was originally published on Medium.