I love all this new User Xperience (UX) stuff, just love it. Companies, brands, apps, designers, engineers are all into it and everybody together is getting very good at taking decisions for the user (that’s me in this case). In fact, they are so brilliant at UX that they already know what I want, when I want it, how, and they just deliver it without even me having to ask for it: they pre-deliver solutions before I even realise what I want.
Was a time when User Experience was about the User. Companies and brands took the trouble to ask. Now they don’t need to because technology is giving them info about our user actions on devices, blah blah and then they are feeding more and more of what we are interacting with and so I keep getting more and more of what they think I want … it’s like Santa Claus every minute every day … I love it!
That’s the theory anyway.
The reality of the UX stuff (for me) is that it is just the latest, the bestest, the ultimatest the mostest of prescribed, directive, restricted tunnel-visioned push strategies ever. And it works because the masses of people haven’t really changed much in the last few centuries – they want to be told what they want. It’s always been like that. Probably always will be. And the ones who are more than willing to carry the tremendous burden of doing the ‘telling’ (“the big companies”) are laughing all the way to the bank, several times over and then some.
But the predictive UX thing falls apart when it comes to idiots like me. You see I have a genetic pre-disposition that education and experience has not been able to correct: I get bored. Very easily. Very quickly.
And when you have someone who gets bored, you can’t really predict what they want. I hate stuff I create after I have created it. I hate stuff I loved a minute ago. So all my social media apps are scratching their heads about why I don’t click any of the recommendations or view any of the content they dole out to me. So they start looking at what websites I am browsing and what kind of content I am interacting with all over the devices all the time. And I think they are getting a bit frustrated. (I am getting more surveys on ‘how do you feel about the content? And what about the user experience? And could you tell us something more about what you want?’) Yeah sure … if I knew. And I take the surveys truthfully. But what they don’t seem to understand is that I will change my mind probably even as soon as immediately after the survey.
You see, I have the attention span of a young adolescent art student sitting in the mandatory physics class while the object of his desire is waving to him from the window outside the classroom. I have zero fidelity to brands and apps and products. I like everything new and I love everything old. Jeckyl and Hyde was a saint compared to my flip-flopping.
So how do I function? Ah that’s a secret and it basically involves all the imaginary people I talk to, but suffice it to say that I get by. I love apps and I love all the new technology and I love them because they are new. And then they become old. Even Facebook. And LinkedIn. LinkedIn (for me) had been the best till about a year ago. I was mostly on LinkedIn (which means about half an hour of my time in a 24-hour day. But I couldn’t get them to facilitate direct publishing from my blog to my company page (one can publish to a personal account), and so I lost interest. And I get it: they want me to publish on their platform but guess what? I have different plans. And so I still love LinkedIn but I don’t click recommended content because so far they haven’t been able to figure out what I want. But #ilove #LinkedIN #peace #respect. ditto #Facebook #Twitter #Google #Everybody
Influencers are another scam. Some one woke up one morning and said “everybody needs a mentor, someone to look up to, someone to admire and drool over, so we will give everyone 4, 5 maybe 10 of those and we will call these mentors ‘Influencers’. Let there be light.”
I don’t get that bit either. I have no ambition and I would have a desire to become successful and famous and wealthy but I am lazy and I quite like the slow-motion pace of my life and I just don’t have what it takes to become successful. So that makes 99.9% of the Influencers and their content useless for me. And once that is out of the equation, it’s really my Chicken Soup for The Soul versus someone else’s Chicken Soup for My Soul. And mine works better for me when am ill.
So, now it is a level playing field and the content I consume is really merit based. Which is how most sceptics operate. And: I think that eventually everyone behaves in such a manner at least at some point in their lives; which means content gurus are always going to be working 24/7 and they will always be under the impression that they are succeeding because there’ll be enough of us in the “let me try this one” stage on most devices and most apps at any given point in time. Which means even more content for us to consume.