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Future Visions of the User Experience

Panel Chair: Erik Wakefield, Amazon
Panelists: Marc Resnick, Bentley University
Charles Mauro, Mauro New Media
Sanjay Batra, Motorola Corp
Zach Weiner, Emerging Insider Communications
Stephen Wilcox, Design Science
Note: Slides from the panelists’ presentations will be available on the User Experience Day
archive website and on Slideshare after the meeting for your viewing pleasure.
What will the user experience look like in 20, 30, or
50 years from now in health care? In retail? In
education? Of course, the way these experiences unfold
depends on a lot of factors outside the HF/E domain. We
could experience a persistent economic malaise that
results in a strong shift towards simplicity and
minimalism. We could experience health advances that
vastly expand the need to design for the elderly. A new
scientific advance in teleportation could eliminate the
need for transportation systems (OK, perhaps we are
thinking too far outside the box here). We asked five
leading user experience visionaries to think outside the
proverbial box and imagine what the user experience in
their domain might look like in the future. Here are
some of their ideas.
Marc Resnick
Professor, Bentley University
Waltham, MA
We are already seeing a paradigmatic shift in
education with the emergence of massive open online
courses (MOOCs). MOOCs provide courses at little to
no cost to anyone around the world, providing education
in topics running the gamut of university disciplines.
One coalition, EdX, is composed of some of the best
universities from around the world - including Harvard
and MIT in the US, McGill University in Canada,
Tsinghua University in China, IIT Bombay in India, and
dozens of others. Similarly, Coursera is a MOOC
supported by Princeton University, Caltech, The
University of London, The National University of
Singapore, and again dozens of others.
Another model is being developed by The Khan
Academy. Also free to students, Khan Academy focuses
on K-12 level education for students as well as teachers
and parents. While the MOOC model tends to stick with
a typical university course in terms of scheduling and
scope, Khan Academy is more flexible, allowing
participants to use it as a standalone learning platform or
as a supplement to existing K-12 and introductory
college level courses.
These organizations are launching game-changing
platforms as we speak. How can we predict the vast
transformations that might describe the education
domain in the more distant future? We can use the
models appearing in EdX, Coursera, and Khan Academy
as an indicator of what the future holds in store.
One major trend that is likely to continue is
increasing customization and personalization. As
Salman Khan, the founder of Khan Academy, says in his
TED talk, there is no reason that a system designed to
prepare the industrial workforce of prior centuries should
in any way define the education of the innovation-based
economy of the future. Content sets can be created
specifically for an individual based on their real-time
needs, speeds, and feed in an engaging, visceral, and
highly effective manner. Longer term, more
fundamental expertise or passions can be pursued in a
different learning environment to support higher levels
of expertise. This presentation will share visions of these
educational user experiences of the future.
Charles Mauro
President, MauroNewMedia
New York, NY
Healthcare delivery has undergone profound
advances in the past 50 years as new clinical modalities
and imaging technologies have dramatically improved the
quality of clinical outcomes for most major disease states.
However, the overall user experience for those involved
Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 58th Annual Meeting - 2014 420
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in the healthcare domain (patients, caregivers and
healthcare professionals) has not changed dramatically. In
this talk we will discuss how the historical trajectory and
forward projection of healthcare will be dramatically
enhanced if and when formal UX design practice is
integrated into the conceptual, technical and regulatory
frameworks of the healthcare system.
We will conclude the talk with a list of 5 core
inhibitors and 5 core stimulants that will impact both the
adoption and propagation of formal UX design into the
development of healthcare products, processes and
regulations over the next 50 year time frame. The talk is
designed to stimulate discussion related to when, why
and how formal UX design may or may not have a
dramatic impact on healthcare and, most importantly, the
quality of clinical outcomes over the next 50 years.
Sanjay Batra
Principal Research Designer, Motorola Mobility, Inc.
Chicago, IL
Today, in UX, we work on solutions to help people
overcome the limitations of technology. In the future, the
challenge will be designing technology that adapts more
fluently to social interactions and environments. Even as
the smartphone has radically changed how users interact
with technology on a daily basis, the act of tapping or
swiping a glass screen is still a discrete task that alters
historical norms of social interaction. Future technology
will have to adapt to ways people interact with each
other and be cognizant of group behavior. I’m currently
working on wearable devices and our future projection is
that the hardware will be virtually invisible. Device
functionality will disappear into clothing, shoes, belts,
hats, glasses, and jewelry.
Examples of the first steps towards this trend are
Google Glass and the Pebble smart watch. Wearable
devices should improve our ability to interact with our
own bodies and environment. Glasses will not only
correct for vision but will provide digital information
which will help the user to respond to their social
environment naturally. As voice interfaces improve,
users will be able to interact with technology in ways
similar to verbal human communication. In addition, the
technology itself will be able to observe and recognize
patterns of human behavior which enable better
socialization. For example, imagine a wearable device
that senses you want dim the lights and play romantic
music when you come home on a date based on previous
observations. The role of UX designers will change from
understanding the limitations of human capabilities with
technology to actually understanding how to amplify
user interactions within social environments.
Zach Weiner
Co-Founder, Emerging Insider Communications
Chicago, IL
When we start to explore the changing nature of the
TV landscape, we are instantly hit by a multitude of
thought camps making differing claims about what the
future of the industry, consumer experience, and
technology will look like. Some will emphatically state
that TV is rapidly becoming upended during a period of
intense evolution and convergence. Others believe that
small shifts have resulted in only minor changes. The
truth is that the current and future nature of television is
vastly complex and undergoing what could best be
described as an ongoing yet subtle disruption.
Interwoven throughout these multitudes of changes
are novel demands for more engaging, seamless and
captivating television experiences that make sense for
audiences who are living in a digital world. The future of
the industry will hinge not just on riveting content and
entertainment value, but in a deep understanding and
execution of how user experiences across screens and
platforms must converge in ways that are dictated by
viewers themselves.
Stephen Wilcox
Principal and Founder, Design Science
Philadelphia, PA
The presentation will attempt to anticipate the future
trajectory of UX design in the medical arena. Some of
the predicted trends to be discussed include eliminating
UIs altogether as devices become more like actual
organs, UIs for making large data sets manageable, UIs
that are much smarter than todays, and UIs that
artificially simulate actual systems for manipulation of
things that are not easy to observe.
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