Balkan

Presentation two at The Big M is on user experience.

Opening quote: 'We are now making the new everyday things.'  Aral Balkan tells the audience that app development is all about the making of new everyday things.

I like UX talks because they use great examples – in everyday life – that do not work.  Balkan kicks off his talk with some great examples.

He then goes on to talk about interaction design.

Graphic design, motion design and information architecture make up interaction design, but the key thing about interaction design is interaction. That is the problem, Balkan says.

For example, how many times have you misunderstood someone else? And that is with every cue available to us – voice, gesture etc. On the phone, the physical gestures are removed. Texting and IM is even easier for users to misunderstand each other.

We are losing humanity in the way we communicate, Balkan says, but we try to make up for this bu using devices such as emoticons – that is about the best we can do on text, for sure!

So, if you replace a person with a computer you have lost humanity – the visual and aural clues. Now we try and understand humans using psychology, linguistics, social psychology etc, and these elements are now becoming key in design.

So computing is commoditised. But the question is: why are we prepared to pay a bit more for some commodities? Balkan talks about the growth of Apple here. The differentiator in commoditised markets is user experience ie we pay more for something that looks and feels good.

But what is that? Hard to identify. But we know what a bad UX is.

At the very least we could design apps that don't drive people crazy. Key point: worry about the right thing and that is your users' needs not your needs. Think outside in design NOT inside out design.

User experience cuts across the whole business, says Balkan. Not just the job for one person – but it usually is – or a team. bUT, how much influence do they have?

Design perfection is achieved when there is nothing left to take away. Focus on simplicity.

Usable = edible. This slikde was used to talk about how we describe going for a meal. We expect the meal to be edible and we actually talk about where we want to go, type of surroundings etc. We do not go for a meal to eat edible food, we go out to somewhere nice.

Balkan talks about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs – and building beyond edible – we can build something that is delightful. We must build things that are magical – his words noy mine but the sentiment is good – we need to add layers of delight to our apps.

He warns that commonsense is the most dangerous myth in what we do and makes the point that assumption of what is common sense just leads to confusion.

As we shift from an age of 'Features' to an age of 'experience' it will be the little things that make a big difference – a final and spot on thought from Balkan.