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Often time, many of the established perspectives about UX were derived from the ideals of the “common” — but these commons are problematic in many ways. These commons can be biased towards the western, developed, single-language world. Compared to design in general, UX isn’t a truly inclusive practice — within itself, and for the users it serves.
I feel like there is a lot of things that can be done with good UX to create better experiences for people. Not just for people in the urban centres, but for people in villages, towns. Not just for people in the developed nations, but people in the developing, struggling nations. Not just for conversions, but for impact. Not just imagining the next big thing for flights and cars, but big thing on fixing how they can actually help the wider community, not just the working class, or the elite class. How to design better experience that creates a lasting impact, that solves a real-world problem, and considers how it improves the quality of life of the “forgottens”.
I’ve been designing user interface and experiences for close to 13 years. I’ve worked in various companies and industries — from IT, e-commerce, banking, travel and media, in different scales and impacts. From being an individual contributor, to being a manager. From handling one simple portfolio, to multiple portfolios that spans geographies. From startups to multinational corporations.
If there is one most important thing that I learned from my career so far, it’s this: companies and products try very hard to solve business problems, and they are probably pretty successful with it, but often time, at a cost: without considering the human or cultural problem.
There is nothing wrong focusing for business, but, to solely focus on it, I feel like we’re missing out a lot of opportunities. I think we can be profitable, but still impactful or be relevant to the market. If you want to win that market, then, by all means, understand that market. If you already make a profit out of a market, it’s always better to contribute something to that market by going deeper and making better product for that market. It’s a win-win solution.
It is then useful for us to take a step back to unlearn everything we know about UX, design or product and see if we can be more open to learning new things, including uncomfortable truths, as futurist and philosopher Alvin Toffler once wrote: "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."
This isn’t a journey of preach. This is more a journey of discovery. I am still learning, and I am asking you to also get onboard and learn the same. With each post, I will highlight some of the finer examples of products or companies who go the extra mile to understand its users, and take something away for us to learn, and apply in our own products.