Dirk Knemeyer

Future of UX

Future of UX, June 23, 2016

The reality is that we’re reaching a point of terminal velocity on software as the media for which user experience primarily exerts itself. UX as a field has aspirationally said, “Well, we’re not just about software. We’re about creating in anything,” and it’s just nonsense. Show me ten people who have jobs that are called user experience, that are considered user experience, that aren’t related to software in some way large or small. It just ain’t out there, and so UX is software and software is UX in a certain way.

Now with all of these emerging technologies, that’s going to start flipping a little bit, and there’s going to need to be design professionals who are digital natives and who are solving digital design problems that are going to need to move into them. UX people are the obvious people to make that move, but the asterisk is it’s going to require meaningful knowledge in science and engineering, and we’ve seen over the last ten to fifteen years how difficult it’s been for UX professionals to evolve from the standpoint of just understanding code, learning to code, and incorporate that into the things that they’re creating, at least from a design perspective within the world of UX.

One thing I think we’ve done very poorly in user experience is understand people. We’ve gotten very good at knowing what a usability test should look like, what an AB test should look like, what some upfront user research random interview should look like, but we know very little, I’ll say almost nothing, as a field. There’s some individuals within it who have much deeper knowledge, but as a field, we have virtually no body of knowledge that gets into the science of the self, whether that be from a more hard biology perspective, a neuroscience perspective, psychology, sociology, endocrinology, whatever vector you want to take.

We’ve got to know ourselves. We’ve got to know this animal really, really well.