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April 2024

Our future tech interactions mandate personalized user experiences

The mindset of ‘get the product out the door’ sets the stage for poor user experience. For market researchers, there are many data-driven ways to gauge consumer preferences today, and tech companies can chose among surveys, interviews, focus groups and customer observation. Product life cycles in newer tech categories are shrinking, with consumers willing to replace devices that still work with newer models, hence the apparent ‘Ready, Fire, Aim’ tech cycle. In the future, we will need a new paradigm for tech user experience that can span our multiple interactions, driven by an opt-in profile about preferences and personal characteristics that can better shape interactions.  We will expect that our profile will drive technology access. Today’s fragmented tech experience offers behaviors based on a disconnected set of profiles – a Starbucks profile knows what coffee I like, a Gmail profile knows about my Inbox preferences, and Marriott knows what kind of room or bed is preferred. In the future and with the assistance of conversational AI, the user should be able to override those and specify a profile that spans all tech interactions, acting as a complexity-hiding agent on the user’s behalf.  

For big tech, "Ready, Fire, Aim" design approaches are user-hostile

What happens when engineers believe that no matter what, the customers will buy? Rant on. Look at the forum discussions of problems after Apple’s release in November, or consider Google’s Gemini self-humiliation.  Will users turn in their iPhones in disgust? Stop using Gmail in protest? What about the Tesla that is so cool it does not have to identify clearly how to open the door, or put the car into drive or reverse? Was the car returned? Will customers return a device they don’t understand? Consider Windows 11 updates are tormenting users, again per Microsoft’s own forum. Will people give up using the PC? Not likely. 

It's time for solutions -- not products -- for aging in place

You know homeowners plan to ‘age in place’ – repeated across all surveys.  It makes sense to them – they like their homes, locations, their familiar neighborhoods, shops, their friends, and neighbors. Statistics underpin the goal for 93% of adults 55+.  And they are willing to spend on services to enable them to remain there – home security, food and supplies delivery, and transportation services if they choose to or must go places without driving. They have fueled growth in the home remodeling businesses, spending on bathroom modifications and other aging-related enablers, especially home care – which may be an out-of-reach luxury for many.

Did you miss one? March blogs lament deteriorating user experience

The decline of design.  As interviews proceed for the upcoming report, The Future of the Tech User Experience, all agree.  The deteriorating user experience, aka UX, is the result of fragmentation across multiple devices, portals, and websites. Product development has superseded UX. The pre-development focus group has been largely abandoned in favor of a post release shock-and-awe experience both for developers (bad PR) and customers (just plain bad).  And it is not just tech – consider the impenetrable smart TV interface, the microwave button-display combination, the new car that lacks readable warning lights and other user interface issues.  Here are the blog posts from March:

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