Developing digital products and services bears a heavy responsibility. But where does manipulation begin? And how can it actively be avoided? Our designers Mirko and Raphael attended three conferences that tried to find answers to these questions.
One thing became clear at the World Usability Day in Hamburg, the PUSH.CONFERENCE in Munich, and the KIKK Festival in Namur, Belgium: Artificial intelligence and UX design could potentially cause enormous damage if applied haphazardly. As problem-focused as that may sound, Mirko and Raphael came back to Hamburg with lots of positive impulses and inspiration.
On the verge of manipulation
2018’s World Usability Day was themed "Design for good or evil" with regards to the responsibility designers bear in their everyday work. A prominent example was algorithms that can only ever be as clever as their creators, since software development is always being evaluated from our current human point of view, thereby perpetuating the existing order. Philipp Spreer (@stenographique) gave a particularly impressive lecture on how users can be manipulated by neuropsychological techniques, especially in e-commerce. Henning Fritzenwalder (@hfux) also presented the thesis that technology and design should meet people's needs, but are increasingly being used to push people in certain directions.
Useful design from the user's point of view
At KIKK Festival 2018, themed "Species and beyond", Mirko and Raphael were mainly inspired by art exhibitions and sound installations. Meanwhile, the PUSH.CONFERENCE provided hands-on knowledge for the daily tasks of designers. Katie Swindler spoke about the importance of animations on websites in order to convey the character of a brand. Cynthia Savard Saucier, among others, suggested a new way to tackle app design in her talk "Impact of Bad Design": How about starting out with the worst-case scenario of app usage instead of with the ideal path? Last but not least, Florian Gulden's talk taught us that processes and methods such as agile shouldn’t be practiced simply for their own sake. It should always be ok to ignore them if creative work requires doing just that.
Another thing we shouldn’t forget in everyday life: playing. Not only because it makes us happy, but because it helps us to see things differently and to think more creatively. At KIKK, for example, we were told about a customer project where a children's TV station had asked for a redesign. In the end, the idea of an employee won who liked to play dress-up as a robot with his friends. In case you missed the conference, you can get even more playful inspiration from Dominic Wilcox, who likes to look at everyday objects from new angles or uses them in unusual ways.
Design conference overview
KIKK FESTIVAL 2018
Founded in 2011 in Namur, Belgium, KIKK is a non-profit association that promotes digital and creative cultures. KIKK aims to build bridges between art, culture, science, and technology. The KIKK Festival takes place annually and wants to inspire attendees to explore new technologies and to address the challenges of a world in motion. In 2018, there were more than 40 conferences on the topic “Species and beyond”, focusing on creative coding, data visualization, VR/AR, storytelling, machine learning, design, research and many more.
KIKK Festival 2019 will take place from October 31 to November 03, 2019.
push.conference unites professionals who aim to create compelling interactive experiences in the form of products, apps, websites, and installations, inspired by user needs and enabled by the creative use of technologies and critical thinking. On two days in Munich, the established UX/UI scene merges with the potential and skill set of a new generation of creative coders and technologists.
PUSH.CONFERENCE 2019 will be held on October 24 and 25, 2019 in Munich.
World Usability Day 2018
The World Usability Day (WUD) has been taking place annually in Hamburg since 2006 and revolves around digital product development, user experience, and usability. WUD 2018 offered numerous talks, workshops, and discussions themed "Design for Good or Evil", which were attended by around 700 participants. The WUD was again organized by eparo in co-operation with the DEPARTMENT INFORMATION at the FAKULTÄT Design - Media - Information of the University for Applied Sciences Hamburg (HAW).
The next World Usability Day Hamburg will take place on November 07, 2019.