Designing in the Echo Chamber
Or why chasing “newer, faster and better” prevents us from solving bigger, more interesting problems.
Few people live a more technology- and media-saturated life than the UX designer. Many of us are geeks and technophiles at heart. We are optimists. We like solving problems and creating delightful, predictable, intuitive solutions for others. But in our efforts to achieve this, are we failing to perceive larger systemic problems — or even perpetuating them by relying on the familiar? Two billion new people will join the connected world by 2020. Many of these live in developing regions of the world where literacy rates are lower, and English literacy rates are lower still. Soon, a new majority of users will bring entirely different needs and cultural metaphors that drive the ways they use technology.
As UX professionals, we can bridge these technical and cultural gaps to reach the hundreds of millions of new users coming online every year. This means adapting our thinking and our tools so we’re armed to face new sets of problems — and able to design solutions that resonate far beyond the limited borders we initially target.
In this talk, we’ll explore some emerging technology trends and use cases from both the developed and developing worlds. We’ll consider how current UX patterns, metaphors, and concepts may actually inhibit understanding for new users who don’t share our cultural contexts. And we’ll examine the opportunities these challenges present for new products, services, and startups to fuel entire markets and even change cultures through the power of design.
About Trip O'Dell
More about Trip O'Dell
From an early age, Trip developed an irritating habit of asking “why?” and never stopped. He has traveled the world in search of adventures, collecting stories (many of which are true) and finding interesting problems to solve. He is fascinated by the weird and wonderful ways human beings process, perceive, and interact with stories, places, and one another. One time, he even convinced Indiana University to grant him an MS in Immersive Mediated Environments.
Trip’s professional experience includes serving as a volunteer teacher on a Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, selling meat door-to-door in rural Ohio, and designing digital consumer products at Adobe, Microsoft, and Amazon. His current work at Audible includes working on the next generation of storytelling experiences for the Cloud, Kindle, iOS, Android, Windows 8, and some other amazing platforms/services coming soon.
Trip lives in Montclair, New Jersey with his wife, three children, and an emotionally distant Labrador named Duke. Among his myriad skills and interests, Trip can make balloon animals on request. Feel free to put that claim to the test at Fluxible.