Digital Dependency: Good UX Makes Us More Reliant On Technology!

31st January 2019 / 5 minute read

getting around before google maps

With a core focus on user experience (UX), it’s always our objective to create good experiences for our users. But are good user experiences making people more reliant on technology?

Digital wellness is prevalent in the tech world. As technology advances, people are relying on it more and more. And because of this, questions are being raised over the effect it’s having on our health and wellbeing.

January is seen as the month for self-reflection and change, and as our last blog looked at putting your website on a diet to improve its UX, it’s time to reflect on whether UX is lending a hand into making us more tech reliant.

The underlying instigator of digital dependency…

Ease of use. Everyone looks for the quickest and easiest solution to achieve something. It’s human nature. That’s essentially the aim of UX too, to help users have an enjoyable experience with a product or service.

Does UX contribute to digital dependency?

To say that UX is contributing to the digital dependency issue is a stretch too far, but what I will say is that the best user experiences will encourage a user to utilise a product time and time again, especially if it simplifies a process and meets their needs.

If something is easy to use and it solves your problems, then why not keep on using it?

Digital dependency: real life situations

Technology has its advantages and disadvantages for sure. It has transformed so many of life’s day-to-day actions, opportunities and prospects. Without it, we would not be as advanced as we are, many people would be out of a job, and hey, you may not be reading this blog right now.

But when you see that people are completing basic sums on a calculator, texting whilst driving and having a meltdown when their phone battery runs out, questions have to be asked. I myself have even shown signs of being dependent on tech, “how did people ever get around without Google Maps?”

Seriously, how?

I read an interesting blog which took both sides of the argument. There was a key quote in it, “Technology is not the problem. It is the way we use it.”

It’s a fair point, we have invented amazing technological tools, but we’re failing to resist the easiness it provides, whilst using it beyond it’s requirements. A prime example being the debate of video games… put the pitchforks down, we won’t be going into that in this blog.

There are two sides to digital ‘dependency’

The way people rely on technology differs. Differentiating the two sides is significant to both acknowledging and combating the issue.

You have those who are addicted to technology; video gamers, mobile users, TV and film services. And those who use technology as a solution to a problem or need; the usefulness of tech.

A prime example of digital usefulness, the Shell App:

the shell app graphic

“Access your loyalty points on the go, pay for fuel with your mobile and take great service with you on every journey with the Shell App.” It’s the easier way to pay with Fill Up & Go.

This has transformed the way in which Shell customers are now filling up at Shell garages – speeding up the process and making it less of a hassle for their customers.

Who is it useful to? Many people. The first type of driver that comes to mind is a parent – they don’t want to leave their children in the car whilst they pay. Now they don’t need to, they can just pay on the app.

Another type of customer being someone who is… lazy. Or someone who doesn’t want to leave the snuggly warmth of their car, especially in the current snowy climate!

Good UX Makes Us More Reliant On Technology!

It’s true, a good user experience could make us more reliant on technology. But we’re in a digital age where the technology available to us is the best it has ever been. Our offering will expand too in the coming years.

Is that necessarily a bad thing? I guess that’s up to you. From our prospective if it makes your life easier we don’t see an issue with that. We as a UX agency want you to have the best experience with anything we design and develop.

The only issue with technology is when it begins to take over your life without adding true value. Driving to a shop when it’s in walking distance, gaming for ten hours a day, or watching Netflix all day every day. You must assess your digital usage and ensure that you’re not becoming completely reliant on technology.

A positive user experience will ensure you can gain a solution quickly, which should result in less time spent on technology in the first place!

In response to this blog I decided to focus on my own dependency on digital and tech.

Turns out, writers don’t have time for digital wellness. Find out more in my latest LinkedIn article.

writers blog image

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