Thursday, December 12, 2013

User Experience takes time, but not too much

I was just listening to the latest podcast on You Are Not So Smart (as I have said before, one of my favorites), which is an interview of Clive Thompson about his new book.  Near the end, he made a point that surprised me at first, but probably shouldn't have.  And it gave me a little pause about more modern UX.

His point was that when the (handwritten) book was first invented (it had to be first invented some time, right?) the UX was pretty primitive.  Not only did books not have tables of contents or indexes, they didn't even have paragraphs.  This made it really hard to read books in any way other than straight through from beginning to end and it also made it hard to refer back to anything later. 

So with that in mind, I guess we should be patient in what we expect from tablets and Twitter feeds and  . . . .  We are probably at the paragraph invention stage right now and it might take a little time yet for us to figure out the modern equivalent of the Table of Contents.

Of course, the patience is for the user.  For anyone involved in user experience design, it is up to us to get cracking on figuring these innovations out.  It might be reasonable that we haven't figured it all out yet (responsive design v adaptive design v fluid design v . . . . .).  But design evolves a lot faster now than it did when books were invented.  So the time is upon us.