“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes a lot.” — Mark Twain
UX analysis is based on a study of the contextual environment.
UX analysis is informed by behavioral events.
UX is now so pervasive that it is becoming an implicit expectation.
UX is becoming trivialized as clever design.
Soooo … Is UX History?
“Usability” is the underlying assumption that any device – particularly a smart one – is implicitly easy-to-use.
Digital Interactive UX existed previously to ~2002, but it really got an identity and flourished around then because the marketplace achieved both huge investment + huge audience. It arose from multiple disciplines
The “commoditization” argument follows on that pervasiveness theme. How that takes form within the organization will be interesting, tho I expect it will reflect the larger culture. A framing question I always ask corporate stakeholders is :
“So, Is UX under Marketing? Is it under IT? Is it under the Business? Is it (or should it be) UNDER anything?”
Implicit = invisible/transparent
This “Histomap,” created by John B. Sparks, was first printed by Rand McNally in 1931.
As a historical reference of cultural influence, it reflects some of the “western civ” bias of its own moment in history. But it’s still assumption-jarringly informative.
Edward Tufte would be proud.
- “The Visual Design of Quantitative Information” (1983)
- “Envisioning Information” (1990)
- “Visual Explanations” (1993)
- “Beautiful Evidence” (2006)
History is helpful: If you didn’t learn the first time around, it repeats itself. — John Vaughan
An Early Model
Thanks to George Lilly for this reference. George was my team leader and mentor during the groundbreaking Booz-Allen Hamilton “Home Information Systems Study” of 1981, which established the credibility – and to a certain degree the model – for the interactive consumer services market … just a little before the Web.
Bill Gates has this idea …
… and it’s a pretty good one
“… to offer a multifaceted historical account of any given subject through a friendly user interface. The site, which is open to the public, would also feature a password-protected forum for teachers to trade notes and update and, in some cases, rewrite lesson plans based on their experiences in the classroom.”
PS: Does anyone remember Jacob Bronkowsi and his wonderful series, The Ascent of Man?
Disruptive Innovation meets History
… and receives a long-awaited, well-deserved smackdown. Read it. You’ll feel better. I promise.
“Disruptive innovation is a theory about why businesses fail. It’s not more than that. It doesn’t explain change. It’s not a law of nature.
It’s an artifact of history, an idea, forged in time; it’s the manufacture of a moment of upsetting and edgy uncertainty.
Transfixed by change, it’s blind to continuity. It makes a very poor prophet.”
Context is Everything.
© The Communication Studio LLC