• Monika Verma

The Social dilemma: The Future Challenge for UX Designers?

Updated: Sep 16, 2020

Recently, after watching the documentary "The Social Dilemma" which explores the dangerous impacts of social networking. This show deftly tackles concepts like technology addiction, social engineering, and surveillance capitalism. As an aspiring Human-Centered Interaction Designer, I wonder if it is a challenge for future designers to design a better social network platform.

In the Human-centered design thinking process that a UX designer essentially follows, the main focus is to create meaningful and engaging experiences for the users in any product. While we make sure that a design will be understandable, satisfactory to a user by performing user research and finding their needs and pain points. We basically study users, understand them or their culture/environment, and the motivation behind using the product. We refer to human psychology and emotional design. We design websites including social networking websites, mobile applications, advertisements, and even every product that people usually use in their daily life.

This article points only to technology that we design focussing on users. The Social dilemma documentary points out the flip side using technology. Tristan Harris founder of the centre of humane technology, whose mission is to reverse ‘human downgrading’ and re-align technology with humanity. He indirectly points out to the future Designer that we need to uplift the game of UX design. Since we are designing for users and stakeholders at the same time, we think of making both happy. BUT ARE WE THINKING OF USERS?

As AI has already been implemented and its accuracy of prediction is increasing at the rate of thousand folds every year. Generally, we don't realize that AI is working for us, with us, and around us. The advertisements, recommendations, and suggestions in your youtube, Instagram, Facebook, etc are the results of working AI around you. In this show, the cinematography shows how it is being done and unfortunately, users are slowly getting addicted to technology and even falling into traps of wrong information.

This show challenged every technologist in silicon valley but designers too in my opinion.

Should we continue thinking about user engagement more than the benefits of users?

How can we use our knowledge of human psychology and the power of research and designing skills to mitigate the dangerous impacts of using social networking?

Do you agree?

Let me know your thoughts!

For reference, Please check out the show "The Social Dilemma" on Netflix.

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