UX Design and Consumer Markets

UX Design and Consumer Markets

On a recent episode of Exponent Ben Thompson made a statement concerning user experience that, as is typically true of Ben’s thinking, is spot on.1 He states:

“In consumer markets where the buyer is the user there is much more value placed on this kind of third axis, which is the user experience. And people are willing to pay for that.”

He is stating this as a potential reason why a company like Apple can have unparalleled success in the consumer market while defying so many of the other rules of business. As anecdotal evidence to his point, Apple’s focus on user experience is the primary reason I have stuck with Apple’s ecosystem since switching in 2007.

I think his argument also holds true in my field of instructional design and educational technology. Many of the designers and tools out there do amazing work, but quite often the overall user experience leaves something to be desired. An instructional designer that can offer an incredible user experience on top of communicating the necessary information is probably going to find themselves in high demand. To reiterate Ben’s point about this third axis of user experience, “people are willing to pay for that”

Ben’s perspective here is part of why I adore his podcast and website. He is able to break down and analytically consider the way businesses in the technology space function. I am incredibly interested in business but find most writing and discussion on the topic dry, uninspiring, and unwilling to consider new perspectives. Ben’s ability to write about business and technology in a way that is captivating and relatively unbiased is impressive. It is worth your time to give his site a visit and his show a listen.

  1. Although I state this about an episode of his show that contains something I disagree with. I am not aligned with his thoughts that Apple is “backing out” of iCloud at all.

Oh, Twitter

Oh Twitter

Update: Twitter’s Investor Relation’s account has posted a response to criticism of the statement made on the call yesterday. They have admitted that blame is on their end and how they handled things around the update instead of the fault being on Apple’s OS. Kudos to them for making the correction.

Twitter is the only social network I have come to actively use. It keeps me in touch with like-minded friends, news, and celebrities, i.e., tech writers, podcasters, and Anna Kendrick It does so in a way that other platforms never could. It’s fantastic.

However, I have come to develop two major complaints about the platform. Nothing is perfect, except maybe my favorite movie and everything could use improvement. I admit that, and Twitter has so many great things to offer that my complaints are really just whining. But here goes.

  1. The folks running Twitter don’t seem to know what made their platform so great, and as a result they keep damaging it through experiments.
  2. Third party developers, I feel, are a major contributor to their success and Twitter’s little bird has repeatedly been shitting all over them.

I won’t go into the first point right now. And if you want to read a better argument about the second point take a look at Marco Arment’s post on this.

But I do want to add one thing about that second complaint. 9to5Mac pointed out today that on Twitter’s earnings call they blamed Apple’s release of iOS 8 for a decrease in their active user numbers[1]. If this were actually true it would be a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Twitter changes their platform all the time in a way that damages third party developers, but when Apple changes their platform and it effects Twitter they suddenly think it’s worth whining about.

However, the changes in iOS 8 are not really the issue. The “active users” they had lost were apparently from automatic fetching of links for Safari or users who forgot their passwords after updating to iOS 8 and never logged back in. I’m sorry, Twitter, but in neither case were those “active” users. Your previous data was just inaccurate and you should admit that. Instead your CFO opted to make an excuse for it by blaming another platform. This in turn does nothing more than make the company look like a hypocrite.

Now that I’ve written that I’m going to go back to checking my Twitter feed.

  1. I admit I have not listened to the earnings call and I am trusting 9to5Mac’s reporting on this.

IRL Talk

If you are looking for a podcast that can make you laugh out loud just listen out to IRL Talk. Faith and Jason both seem hilarious on their own but the dynamic between the two is hysterical. 

Beyond their wit and delightfully contagious laughter it is also an interesting look at pop culture and technology. The majority of the podcasts that I listen to analyze technology from a very high level perspective. On IRL Talk it is a fun, down-to-earth discussion between to friends that occasionally talks about initial impressions on new technologies alongside of culture, movies, and television.