Title: Computer-Assisted Embarrassment
Context: The only things that regularly embarrass my kids more than I do are their “smart” devices.
Synopsis: We’ve all surely been embarrassed by technology at one time in our life whether it be an overly creative autocorrect text substitution in an outgoing message, critical data failure when it is needed the most, or simply an unwanted behavior you were sure that you turned off in a complex preferences pane. The embarrassment comes within the context of social interactions which are increasingly becoming the norm for our digital systems as we communicate, collaborate, and simply interact with software and devices in the presence of others. Very often, the source of shame emerges from the absence of consideration given to communal contexts at the design stage. We spend so much time thinking about the personal interactions that we rarely consider how the responses and outcomes we are designing might impact the wider environment surrounding the user him or herself. As connectivity becomes increasingly ubiquitous, and technology takes over more and more previously analog workflows, there is a need to consider the ambiance we are inadvertently creating outside the individual clicking our buttons and tapping our screens. We may only be designing for one, but we are invariably effecting the world at large whether we intend to or not.
Best Bit: “We must expand our usability methods to cover not only the isolated user in one context of use, but also the social user, who interacts with the system in the presence of others, and the communities of users that use systems together.”

via nngroup.com