Warning, this might just be a bit of a rant.
While it seems like our world is getting bigger through connectivity, it also feels like it is getting a lot smaller at the same time. Sure we can help kick-start someone with a good idea in Kentucky just as easily as we can comment on a blog post from Belarus, or donate to a disaster in Denmark.
But many, many people are connecting just to disconnect from reality and not living their lives to the fullest. It could be hours spent escaping into YouTube watching videos of other people watching videos, liking other people’s lives on Facebook, or mindlessly tapping and swiping candies into cute colour collections.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful that people are becoming more globally conscious. After all, we are all truly connected. Our actions in Southern Alberta, or wherever you may be reading this from, can easily have an affect on something happening in Northern Mongolia. And it’s certainly ok to de-stress with mindless entertainment every now and then too.
However, all too often it’s far too easy for people to hide in the protective blue-glow force field that our devices provide, as a tactic to avoid interacting with fellow humans, intentionally or unintentionally unaware of our immediate surroundings and oblivious to the wonderful world that is tangibly right before us.
In doing so they are missing out on all the little-big things in life. When is the last time you stopped to listen to the buzz of a bee? Or noticed the incredible smell of pine trees? Struck up a conversation with the person sitting next to you on the bus? Or even just took a moment to enjoy the way the sun feels on your face?
As an Experience Architect, I derive digital experiences from the tangible world around me. When crafting a form, I like to approach it like an actual conversation. What order do we ask questions? What terms are used (labels on input fields)? Or when designing an icon, look for real-world analogies. Everyone is familiar with a garbage can being used to represents an action like deleting a file, right?
It’s ok to turn off, unplug, disconnect and experience the real world. It might see like strange advice coming from someone who creates digital experiences, but trust me, I do it all the time to recharge, to get inspired, to observe and experience the real world around us! Have tactile encounters. Not ‘multitask’, but actually be present.
Senior Experience Architect