Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Why Would Anyone Say That?

"Psychology has run its course in user experience". Someone relayed that statement (possibly paraphrased) to me today as having been said by someone who works in .... I'm not quite sure.

It doesn't matter where this person works, it is the idea that matters! What could that possibly mean? My colleague and I kicked around a few ideas.

Perhaps "we" (the collective "we", which by the way does not include the individual "me") have said all there is to say about the application of psychology to interactive design, web design, mobile app design. Perhaps there is nothing new to say. The underlying principles have been hashed out and now it is just a matter of applying them. Is that what the person meant by "has run its course"?

Or perhaps we don't need psychology any more? Is that what the person meant?

Is the statement's author bored, or jaded, or perhaps bored and jaded? I could speculate on that:

Perhaps she or he comes from a cognitivist background and is sick to death of numbers and statistics and timing how long things take, and where people look, and how fast they respond, and drawing little colorful graphs that may or may not have any meaning in a practical setting? [Cue: Yawn... ]

Or...perhaps she or he comes from a background in affective psychology and is sick and tired of trying to intuit the deep inner angst or elation behind barely discernible vocalizations? [Cue: Scream!]

There must be other interpretations as well. BUT WHAT? As someone with plenty of background and opinions in this area, I'm dying to kick this one around some more. If only there was an opportunity...

Heh Heh. Next week I will be moderating a panel of people who have something to say about psychology in UX at the monthly meeting of the San Diego UX Speakeasy group. As moderator I am in a position of power! (of a very limited nature and of short duration). Aside from taking steps to see that our panelists and audience have an interactive experience, I think I'm going to try and slide this question into the conversation.

Unless someone else brings it up first.

Does the statement about psychology having run its course in UX sound bizarre to you? Do you even have any idea what psychology in UX is all about? If not, then clearly you want to find out. If yes, then you know this is a perfect question for inciting an audience. Of course now the cat is out of the bag. All the better.

1 comment:

  1. The question baffles me! Looking forward to this week's discussion.