autotelic, autistic, assonance-hole©.

On UIX and “Why is it so important now, anyway?”

Someone over at Quora actually asked this question. I had to remind myself that no, actually, this is (obviously) NOT “common knowledge”. So, I answered… I’m placing the answer here.


Human-based design is hardly a new field; until now, technology and its offerings were not (a) affordable, and (b) available in a way that would make the point and presence/ubiquity a “primary consideration” for technology offerings (as it has always been for other offerings, i.e., tools, appliances, automobiles, house hold items, etc).

This being the case, it would be rather short-sighted for anyone operating in business or a business that builds and delivers to the market using technology NOT to understand that user experience was inevitably going to take its place as a competitive differentiator and even (for now) an innovation factor.

That time is here. It is not going away.

Frankly, that it has take two decades is the surprise (particularly in that Apple has been around and pretty much raising that bar all along to the abject avoidance of most),  but it is not an all together difficult to understand one; it has taken this long for technologists to “remember” that they are, in fact, still rather a minority (people who actually get technology beyond the conceptual) and longer still for there to be enough people interested/willing to use technology outside the office to tip the scales far enough that  user experience could become something that must be considered as part of the overall “service”, and that products must be usable to be competitive.

More and more, the technology needs converge and competitive spaces where differences exist are beginning to shrink. As this continues, companies who refuse to present offerings that service “use” as a competitive factor begin to feel the pain of that oversight.

As a potential consumer/customer, as a business, or as a market or an industry, people, in general, now know enough about “technology as a concept” to also know that it does not have to be hard to use, difficult to understand, and most importantly, these offerings do not and should not “require” deep technology understanding or a willingness to “figure it out alone” TO use.

This knowledge is the reason why user experience is demanded. But the real answer here is that it always was demanded, the user simply did not have enough in the way of alternatives to make the demand with any degree of weight.

This is what has changed, this is what will continue to change, and those who insist that “user experience shouldn’t be that big a deal”, bluntly, are the dinosaurs who will be left behind as it does so.