The UX of Star Wars
In the lead-up to the new Star Wars movie, Star Wars the Force Awakens, I have been re-watching the existing Star Wars movies. Partly to acquaint my wife with them so that she can share in my enthusiasm, and partly to… why lie? I don’t need a reason to watch Star Wars.
As I watched however, I noticed some things that I’d never took note of before. For example: Did Lando Calrissian plan his betrayal of the Empire on his smart watch?
Rewind! Yep, he’s communicating with his cyborg friend to ambush the Empire troops and try to save Leia and Chewbacca.
First smart watch to grace a sci-fi movie? Maybe. But it made me start to think about the ways that we envision technology helping us in the future, and how that technology evolves in reality. After all, if George Lucas could think of it in 1980, why did it take so long for smart watches to become a commonplace occurrence?
For a long time the evolution of products and services that we use have been driven by technology. For a long time things were built just because they could be built and the focus of those doing the building was to make something functional, but not necessarily focusing on if it was usable. Case in point, the Seiko Data 2000 or the Seiko RC-1000. Thankfully we are living in a new age, we are living in an age where we understand users and their needs better. Can you imagine if we had Lando’s watch today just as it was conceived in 1980?
Research & Innovation
Innovation should be driven by user needs and product opportunity, not just by the availability of the technology. It is the only way to ensure that what is being built actually is beneficial to end-users. After all a product can’t truly be called innovative if it doesn’t meet a need.
The best way to be sure about user needs or whether there is a need in the market for a product is to do research. Proper research. But what is proper research?
In essence when you remove guesswork or conjecture, when your methodology allows you to find answers to the questions in an unbiased, and impartial way you are most likely doing good research.
Methods for this kind of research includes ethnography, contextual inquiry, interviews, diary or journal studies and task analysis.
The key to choosing the right method lies in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each and layering them in order to provide a complete picture of user needs, and product opportunity.
Research helps us take the guesswork out of the decision-making process when designing products and services.
Having said all of that, I’m excited to see what this fresh crop of Star Wars films has in store for us in terms of future facing tech ideas.
May the Force be with you.