UX: Diversity, Democracy, Design

I’m a rising senior at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, interning this summer with Digitas Health LifeBrands in Philadelphia. Over the course of this program, I hope to learn a lot more about interaction design, information architecture, visual interface design, user research, and usability which all fall under the broader field of user experience (UX).

When Don Norman came to Apple in 1993 as Vice President of Research and head of Advanced Technology Group, he introduced the world to the term “user experience design.” User experience design plays a crucial role in giving a global audience access  to all of the world’s information via the web’s open platform. Technology is a powerful tool and when responsible people use it to facilitate action, great things can happen.

As the Internet becomes more widely available and accessible, more people are using it to access information about their health and the wider healthcare system. It will be interesting to see how technology continues to shape the way we interact with information and one another. Through progressive enhancement and adopting a mobile-first approach, more people will have access to content that responds to the their specific needs. Whether this person is reading from mobile, tablet, desktop, or a TV, it will be important that websites perform quickly and consistently across browsers. Users who access these pages may even be blind, and luckily, assistive technology such as screen readers will work to keep everyone included in the conversation and, more importantly, to keep everyone healthy.

The ability to link resources and share copious amount of data with diverse people across continents makes the web such an interesting canvas to work with. Before now, every artist has had to choose a limited amount of material to work with – whether it’s stretched canvas or a slab of stone. The web celebrates its knack for shaking off those constraints to remain flexible and viewable to anyone with an Internet connection. With the printed page, the designer is the decision-maker; however, the web allows individuals to make choices (such as font size) in order to make reading an enjoyable experience. As user experience designers, we need to be adaptable in our views and allow advertising to adjust to the needs and wishes of the people. Looking into the future, devices and services will only become more personal and individualized. Emerging technologies will cater towards an even more diverse group of people and provide the tools to change lives and create conversations around health and wellness. That’s a lot of opportunity that I look forward to learning more about.

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