UX in real life: another case of the ‘chicken-and-egg’ paradox?

How the progress of UX design can change our reality.

Based on photo by JOHN TOWNER on Unsplash

The #UXIRL (UX in real life) concept according to Matt Hryhorsky, design director at Filament Labs, suggests the strong link between the real and digital worlds in terms of human behavior, also called ‘user behavior’ when we are talking about digital UX.

Although these two planets are not identical, most of the principles are the same. To feel comfortable, we need comprehensive navigation, clear information about our current location, guided actions, recommendations from other people, quick access to help in case of emergencies, etc.

Since a human (yet) exists physically in the real world, it is also important to know the real context of using a digital product if you want to create a compelling UX. Most likely, it appears that there are certain circumstances that significantly affect the user at the time of using a certain digital product (baby on hands, using while driving, limited use time, etc.)

As Matt Hryhorsky said, great UX removes WTF moments, and obviously this can be achieved only if you know all the inbound data.

As everybody knows, UX was born at light not together with the first digital screen, it was originally associated with the design of real objects, which were developed and became more and more user-friendly as the years progress. Everything that surrounds us today, any everyday items, such as a toothbrush or a knife, sharpened only on one side, is the result of someone being concerned about UX.

Remember those funny cases, when people did not use tricks embedded in products, such as a special hole for holding straw in a can or a peculiar lid on a tic tac box, which makes it easy to get exactly two pills? This is also UX, just for some reason it was not clearly delivered to the consumer.

By all counts, it sounds convincing that if you want to create usable UX, you need to extrapolate the human practice of communicating with real objects on interacting with the digital interface.
But here is the thing. After a while, it seems that the reality itself began to change in order to meet our common practice of using digital products.

Amazon uses online shopping stats in the Amazon Books stores to display the conventional ‘for digital planet’ information, which affects the customer’s decision to make a purchase, such as books with high ratings and books, finished by readers on their Kindles in less than 3 days.

More often you will find a digital menu in restaurants, which apparently is much more convenient due to better navigation and the order procedure, sometimes even without the involvement of staff.

Tesla created a car that does not have an analog dashboard at all, it is completely replaced by a digital interface, and we already find it more comfortable.

Not to mention the fact that the popular football game EA SPORTS FIFA completely changed the stats viewing in real football.
Now the football expert after the game uses tools which are common to EA SPORTS FIFA players, such as highlighting a particular player or rotating the playing field.
In fact, he brings together computer-generated image (CGI) with the piece of real game video, thus he is able to fully analyze the game on the touchscreen, see stats for each player and visualize the tactics of the entire football team.

Finally, the whole IoT has mostly emerged due to our desire to interact with physical objects in the same way that we interact with digital interfaces.
At least, we want to receive the equal amount of data compared to what we usually get from the digital world, so now it’s not enough for the watch to show the time properly or for the pot to just bring water to a boil.

Sometimes the phenomenon of ‘human-user-experience’ leads to curious situations. A three-year-old who is trying to look out at the window and unexpectedly makes this move spreading apart his fingers in order to enlarge the image. Or a girl who laughs in the checkout line in a supermarket, realizing that she will not be able to add another chicken to her basket simply before the checkout.
Consequently not so long ago we developed a digital interface by analogy with human communication in real life, and now, as we become users, we expect the real life to follow the rules of interaction with a digital interface.

We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us”, as John M. Culkin said.