Consciously Evolving our Digital World

UX Research

Whether you previously loved it, loathed it, dabbled in it or fully embraced it, no-one can deny that technology has really come to the fore over the recent COVID-19 lockdown period. We’ve all felt the benefits technology can offer, on a personal level, through to business and on to a truly global scale.

“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger but recognize the opportunity.”

― John F. Kennedy

We’ve seen technology being used by families for online get-togethers across the world and by groups of friends enjoying physically distant yet socially inclusive quiz nights. We’ve seen it enabling neighbourhood ‘bin outings’ and ‘dance challenges’. Businesses are working remotely and seeing the benefits of staff not having to commute to work, the convenience of online meetings and collaboration tools that are accessible to anyone. On the other end of the scale we’ve seen scientists using technology extensively in our global race to find a possible cure for COVID-19 while governments and media are using it to communicate extensively with disparate audiences.

There really is no reason to be uninformed or bored during this period of physical isolation. We have access to unlimited books, movies, TV shows, computer games, activities and social engagement opportunities which enable us to connect to friends and family whom we have perhaps neglected in the past. All thanks to technology.

Eyes have been opened to the small wonders of everyday life, small miracles have been sparked in the regeneration of our natural environment, people have been motivated to exercise and appreciate the liberty that they enjoy; all as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Let’s emerge from this crisis in a better state than when we entered it!

‘Never let a good crisis go to waste!’

The current shift in how technology is being used and the benefits that it is bringing, has got the Objective Experience team thinking about how user experience (UX) and technology can help solve societies’ complex issues and improve the quality of life for all – both now and in the longer term.

Don Norman, inventor of the term “User Experience”, defined it as “a cohesive, integrated set of experiences. Think through all of the stages of a product or service – from initial intentions through final reflections, from first usage to help, service, and maintenance. Make them all work together seamlessly.”

This is accurate but does it really help companies and governments to use technology in the right way, to become more socially and environmentally relevant? It is a rather outdated view and forgets the wider context of what technology can enable today and in the future.

Examples of digital technology used as a social benefit are multiple. Captain Tom Moore (100) set out to raise 1000 pounds for the NHS in the UK by doing laps of his garden, so far he has raised over 26 million pounds using a crowdfunding site.

At Objective we are actively bringing our diverse set of skills and experience to the (virtual) table, to tackle challenges and affect change. Design is about problem solving, with those problems ranging – just like the use of technology – from minor to wide-reaching and complex. By using our combined creativity, design and technological skills to help solve these challenges.

We asked ourselves the question, “How can we leverage technology and creativity like this to raise the level of consciousness on the planet, bring people into the present moment, together, and create behaviours or encourage people to make choices that sustain life on the Planet?”

In answer to this we are developing Conscious UX, or CUX, framework based around providing meaningful user experiences that enrich the lives of people and the world around them. As we begin this journey, we are embracing the UN Sustainable Development Goals to guide our work, focusing on Education, Clean Energy, Health and Public Service Innovation.

Objective is proud to have done the research for the Government’s Head to Health website which serves as an aggregator for mental health resources. Giving easy access to everyone, on a broad range of health information.

Access to online learning has been a boon for people that could never afford such educational opportunities before. It also opens up equal rights for women in societies that have oppressed women up to this point. The Khan Academy is a not for profit that aims to provide a free education for anyone.

 

We believe that the technology that we use on a day-to-day basis should help people to be mindful instead of adding unnecessarily to the ever increasing clutter in our lives. Bringing focus into people’s daily lives so that they can look after on their own health, their family, friends and work.

People from all walks of life must be respected and feel in control, trusting in the interactions they are having and feeling secure about the ever increasing amount of data they are sharing. Their experiences must bring joy to their lives and not create frustration. Interactions online should consider everyone the product touches. While engendering a sense of belonging, support and compassionate action towards others. Not forgetting that the technology, and the people who use it, must have a positive impact on the environment whenever possible.

We are keen to work with companies that have the same ethos/outlook as ourselves, with the same desire to use UX to shape a better future for all!