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Software for Humans: Anticipating User Needs


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Presented at IA Summit 2017 in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

1. Practice mindfulness in design
2. Think like an anthropologist
3. Create with accessibility in mind

Published in: Technology
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Software for Humans: Anticipating User Needs

  1. 1. SOFTWARE FOR HUMANS Anticipating User Needs @sarahauvil
  4. 4. FOR TODAY 1. Software for Homo Sapiens 2. Anticipatory Design & AI 3. Equal Access
  9. 9. WHAT IS THE IDEAL UX? When each user’s understanding meets the system’s capabilities
  10. 10. CHOOSING INVESTMENTS Katy opens up a 401k and needs to pick investments. However, Katy knows nothing about investing, rendering the functionality useless. product failure gap Abilities Software functionality
  11. 11. ACCESSIBLE SHOPPING Eric is blind using VoiceOver and trying to buy a product on a website. The site can’t be read by a screenreader. product failure gap Abilities Software functionality (only accommodates vision)
  12. 12. CURRENT SOLUTIONS Talk to a human…or have another human show you
  13. 13. WE DESIGN FOR ROBOTS We let technology constraints determine how people should use things We don’t think about how humans communicate without technology Two people rarely think about tasks the exact same way We believe “I am human, therefore I understand how other humans will do this”
  14. 14. TODAY People must learn how to use software correctly.
  15. 15. FUTURE Software will learn to how to understand people so it can help humans use it.
  16. 16. BUT I CAN’T BE THERE! A UX practitioner can’t help each individual use the product correctly. But artificial intelligence software may be able to.
  17. 17. FUTURE SOLUTIONS Machine learning: more accurate outputs using data, personalization (Ex: Google Now) Voice: A more interactive and conversational approach to technology that can anticipate many circumstances. Advanced Interfaces: UX practitioners will develop more and more dynamic experiences that are conversational rather than static. Real Time Computations: Translate languages instantly, using data to continually improve
  18. 18. CUSTOM INTERFACES Responsive web design is an example of a contextual custom interface:
  19. 19. MORE DYNAMIC EXPERIENCES Turbotax and Betterment are already creating software concepts that guide complex financial functions for laypeople.
  20. 20. FILLING THE GAP Can the average person fill out U.S. tax returns alone? No. Do people know where they work? Yes. The software fills in the gap with data covering every form and scenario, but presents simple questions to get the input needed to complete.
  21. 21. BUT HOW? When it comes to taxes or investing, there’s a ton of options, but the user only knows their scenario. The software hides everything else.
  23. 23. ANTICIPATORY DESIGN Requires listening to users upfront, then building the interface with that feedback. Hurdles are “anticipated” or removed.
  24. 24. MOTIVATION & FRICTION Motivation: will the user want to do it? Friction: will users be able to do it?
  25. 25. ANTICIPATORY DESIGN Understanding motivation + friction and applying this knowledge before launch
  26. 26. DUAL RESEARCH Contextual Inquiry: watching what users do on their own, interviewing to discover desires, motivation Usability Tests: great for identifying friction, supplemented with analytics trends, heatmapping
  27. 27. DON’T WAIT TILL ‘ERROR’ Help content Autocomplete In-line errors rather than submission Not asking the user excess information Learning algorithms & data
  28. 28. WCAG: LEARN IT There’s lots of resources! WCAG20-20081211/
  29. 29. ACCESSIBLE TECH Money Argument: people with disabilities have credit cards, there’s a financial loss Moral argument: providing equal access is the right thing to do Experience argument: accessibility will create better product UX for all Lawsuit argument: software that violates the ADA could be taken to court *what most US stakeholders fear*
  30. 30. TECH AS HUMAN RIGHTS Theory: As transactions over technology increasingly affect quality of life, equal experiences will continue to become more legally and ethically contentious.
  31. 31. SEPARATE BUT EQUAL? Goal: true equal access, not a “separate” or lesser experience “Separate [facilities] are inherently unequal” - Brown vs. Board of Education, 1957
  32. 32. 1961 This lunch counter is for white diners only. African Americans can use other facilities. NOW? The app and its perks are designed for seeing customers only. Blind customers can go to the store in person.
  33. 33. DIGITAL AS A SPACE ADA Title III: Are apps places of public accommodation?
  34. 34. OUR DECISIONS DETERMINE ACCESS Video without captions: this is for hearing people only Text embedded into images: this is for seeing people who speak this language only Nonstandard HTML: this is for sighted people only
  35. 35. FILLING THE GAP Future technology will extend itself to help people expand their abilities
  36. 36. DYNAMIC PROFILES? It’s possible in the future the software might detect how the user is accessing and “customize” the experience Ethical question: would some people want an app/site to know how they were accessing if it provided a better experience?
  37. 37. DYNAMIC PROFILES? customizes approach A blind user wants to buy shoes from an eCommerce site. The site detects a screenreader and changes to a conversational audio experience, listening to what they are looking for.
  38. 38. POSSIBLE EXAMPLE “Hi, I want to buy a pair of women’s running shoes in size 11 under $100.” “We have three pairs that fit that, ranging from $65-97.” “How much is the top rated one?” “The top rated one has 4.5 stars with 101 reviews and comes in blue and grey for $85.” “I’ll buy one.” “Ok, I’ll add one pair to your cart and check you out.”
  39. 39. EQUAL TECH ACCESS Better options for various disabilities, skill and knowledge levels, languages Goal: true equal access to the internet and software content equivalent to others, not a “separate” and lesser experience
  40. 40. CONWAY’S LAW “Organizations which design systems ... are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations” — Melvin Conway, 1968
  41. 41. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE Can Only Ever Be as Mindful as ITS ARCHITECTS.
  42. 42. SOFTWARE FOR HUMANS We can creatively include human culture and biology in new technology. We can direct artificial intelligence to increase human quality of life. We can design software that creates equal access by being mindful of diversity.
  43. 43. THANK YOU. Practice mindfulness Think like an anthropologist Create with accessibility in mind.
  44. 44. APPENDIX CC Imagery: Youtube Content: Waverly Labs Professor Gary Lee Todd AllanPH, RadioFan, Graysick, Patrick J. Lynch, Norwood, Hans-Werner34 (Wikipedia) VA Minneapolis Health Care System Accessible Wheelchair: