Last week I ran a workshop at Interact 2016 about User Research (similar to my research course, but shorter) and then on Wednesday I spoke about the future of technology, how we’ll use anticipatory design, and why we need to balance the line between anticipation and automation in design.

I posted the slides from my presentation on Slideshare in case you’re curious.

Also, the guys over at the UX Podcast came down from Sweden to interview a lot of the speakers. You can listen to my interview here as well as catch a full playlist of interviews from all the speakers. They do a great podcast and you should definitely check it out.

The theme for Interact 2016 was around the future of technology and how we will design for it today. One big idea that stood out to be was the reminder that people don’t change as fast as technology does. As a result, we must be careful to not overly design our products. We cannot let ourselves get sucked into the excitement of the future and create technology for the sake of technology.

In other words, if we try and give people technology of the future before they’re ready for it and without a clear context of how it will fit into their lives, they won’t trust it. Then, we’ll have to work harder to show them the value and trust it in the future.

Another big idea that stood out to me is the ethics of design. I’ve often thought about the idea of there being some type of ethical code that designers should adhere to. But how could it ever be enforced? Regardless, the idea is still interesting. Especially with just how personal technology is becoming. More tracking, sensors, and insights into so many parts of our lives. How do we use that information in design – and should we?

Finally, back to the original idea of not creating technology for the sake of technology. I think this is why research is going to become even more important in the future. Quantitative and qualitative research is critical to our understanding of how people respond and react to technology. But numbers can only tell us “what”. People help us understand “why”. This is why it’s so important to do more research that involves talking to people, having conversations, and figuring out the root of their behavior.

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