UXPA 2018 Closing Keynote with Jorge Arango
Hi. Everyone, can. Y'all hear me I can't tell these this is on ya Boop I better. Lower my voice so. Thank, you all this is such a pleasure. That's. Not what's supposed to happen is it. Let's. Try that again. There. You go so, thank, you so much it's, such a pleasure to be here first, of all I have to acknowledge. How. Much of a pleasure it is to be in Puerto Rico. This. Island. Has gone through a difficult year and when. I heard about the, hurricane, we had already talked about doing. This presentation. And. You know I started getting nervous like what's gonna happen is are things gonna be alright and things, have been fabulous, so, I just want to acknowledge that I also. Want to acknowledge how. Much of a pleasure it is for me to be at a uxpa, event, and it's, for me it's long overdue I. Have, been. Aware. Of the. Community since. Way before, you. All had an X in the name and. I. Saw, the addition, of the X as an, exhortation for. This community to start thinking, more broadly about. The. Remit of your work right and. That. Is very fortuitous for me because that is what I'm hoping to do with this presentation. If. You've seen. My name at all it, is because I am the co-author of, the fourth edition of the. Polar bear book on information, architecture, for O'Reilly, with. My, friends, Lou Rosenfeld, and Peter morville, and. I've. Just published a book it came out two weeks ago a, new, book called. Living and information responsible. Design for, digital, places, and. My. Background is, in architecture. Although. Architecture. Is in the design of buildings right places and but. As Sarah mentioned I've been, working. In. What. We now call user experience, design for, close. To 25 years at, this point I left my career in architecture a long time ago and. This. Book is about. What, people. Who do the sort of work that we do can learn from architecture. So that we can create places. That better support, our needs and. There's. A. Kind. Of interesting symmetry that I must acknowledge here, the. Last time I gave a presentation in Puerto Rico was a, little, over, 20, years ago I spoke. To a conference of architects, about the. Wonderful, things that architects, could do with this brand-new, thing called the World Wide Web and. Here. I am you, know kind of closing the circle talking to an audience of people who design digital experiences, about the wonders of architecture, so. I feel there's a good. Symmetry in that. So. Because. My background is in architecture, I tend, to look at the world through an architect's eyes and my. Presentations. Often start by, looking at a building, and this. One is no exception. I. Didn't, mention this but I am based in the San Francisco Bay Area are. They who, here is from the Bay Area you can raise your hands. Do. You all know what this building is have you seen it, yes. So. This is a fairly, important, building in San Francisco, it's called one Montgomery, Street and, this. Is a very, interesting building for, a variety of, reasons. It. Was designed by an architect called Willis Polk who's responsible, for a lot of really great architecture, in the city but. The reason or, one of the reasons why this building is really interesting, is that. It. Was designed a hundred and ten years ago or over, a hundred ten years ago to. Be a bank, it. Was designed as a bank and it's. Still serving. Its role as a bank it. Now houses a branch, of the Wells Fargo Bank and. California. Is in the overall scheme of things a relatively, new place and finding. A building that is over. A hundred years old and it's and is still serving its original purpose is, really, fascinating, especially. Because Wells Fargo has maintained, it kind, of in the state that it was when it was designed, and, when you cross that front. Door the portal. It's. Like you're walking through a time portal somehow like you're you're, you're walking, into the space that where. You get the feeling of what it was like to be in a bank a hundred, and ten years ago, so. It has these incredibly. Ornate ceilings. And marble. Cladding, everywhere, and. It. Has this raised station. For the bank's manager because, they didn't have computers so how else would they oversee, what was going on with the tellers right. It's. A it's a marvelous, place if you've seen the movie Mary Poppins, George. Banks would feel right at home here right. And. Among. The interesting, architectural, details that this place has is it, has these carved. Stone tables, that. Bank patrons, use to, sign, checks and write. Deposit, slips and that sort of thing and. These. Tables, have carved, onto the, top of them onto their surface ink, wells. Because. At the beginning of the 20th century there were no ballpoint, pens people, used fountain, pens to to do this kind of stuff right and.
The. Ink wells have been dry for a long time. Because. Most of us don't use fountain, pens anymore, to do our day-to-day business and, increasingly. Many. Of us don't do our banking's, in places like this anymore. More. And more of us are doing the sort of activities. That we used to do in places like this in, places. That look like this. Right. So. We. Are moving many, of our key, social. Activities. From, physical. Environments, to. Environments. Made of information, information. Environments. And it's. Not just banking. We. Are, increasingly. Moving and consuming. Our arts, and entertainments. To, information, environments. We. Are, doing. Our shopping in information. Environments. You, all may have heard of something called the great retail apocalypse. Of 2017. And I. Know there are people from Amazon, here in the Audion if you want to raise your hand. Right. We. Are increasingly. Learning, in information. Environments. Some. People are finding their mates in information, environments. You, know the I know people who have gotten married who met online, this doesn't cease to surprise me, because this is something our, species has been doing in physical, space for a long time. Critically. We. Are holding, important. Parts, of our civic, discourse in. Information. Environments. More. On this a bit later and. Of. Course more, and more of us are working, in information. Environments. This. Photograph, on the left is, of. A, magnificent. Building this is the great work room in, the Johnson wax headquarters. She's. A building designed by Frank. Lloyd Wright the, architect Frank Lloyd Wright and this. Building was designed this. Is but I first must note this is one of the very first open, plan office, spaces in the world so. If you work, in such an environment now and hate it you, know who to blame. But. This. Building this, space was actually. It's. A fairly famous. Physical. Environment, it, was. Created. According to the, architecture, critic Paul Goldberger, to, give the, Johnson, wax companies clerical. Workers a sense. Of community and nobility. I. Think. That today if we want to give our workers, a sense, of community. Many of us carefully. Consider, how we're going to structure our slack channels and. Unfortunately. Many organizations. Have given up on the notion of giving us a sense of nobility in.
Any, Case the, main point here is that these, information. Environments. That we, are responsible. For, are taking. Over from physical. Environments. As the, places where many key activities, in our societies, are taking place. Like. Physical, environments, these, things create contexts. That, influence, the way we think and therefore. The way that we act the. Problem. Is that we have not been designing them as though they are contexts. As though they are places. If. You, listen. To the language that we use when, we talk about the word the. Work we do and its, language I've heard over the last couple, of days here and which. I have used myself you, know guilty as charged we, talked about designing, products, or designing. Services, or, designing. Interactions. Or, designing. Experiences. And these. Things are. All ephemeral. And, transient. And. Transactional. They. Are not settings. If. You look at the tools that we think, of when we think of, digital. Design, they. All lean. Towards. The user interface. The surface. Layer the, screen. They. Don't lean towards context. One. Of the results of this is that. These places are not serving, us very well as contexts. We. Have, we, are living in a time of incredible. Polarization. Regardless, of where you sit in the. Political, spectrum and. I think it's in great part due to the failings, of our community. To, recognize that, these things that we are making are. Places. I. Also. See a lot of despair, among my colleagues and peers about this situation, as though we don't know what to do and. My. Message I hope is a message, of hope I want to instill. In you in the words of, the. Great polymath. Buckminster. Fuller you. Know, to. Start encouraging, all of you to start thinking like architects. Who, are responsible. For designing information. Environments. That. Are shaping our social, and cultural, interactions. As. For me I have, a question, that I've been grappling, with and which is at the center of the book and of this presentation, which is how. Can we design information. Environments, that better support, our needs, as a society, in the, long term. We. Are besieged. By short-term, thinking in this field and. Architecture. Provides. Insights. Into how we can do that so I bring you three ideas, three big ideas I hope from. The field of architecture that can, hopefully help us do this create environments. That better support, our needs in the long term.
The. First of these ideas is that. All environments. Are. Supported. Underlied. By a conceptual. Structure. And. What I mean by conceptual, structure is we. Establish. Distinctions. Between parts. Of the environment, we. Set parts, of the environment apart, for different uses in. The. Best of cases. These. Differentiations. Help. Us recognize what, different parts of the environment or for. While. They maintain, a coherent. Whole that, gives us a sense that we are in a place that has. Coherency. And that has purpose. These. Conceptual, structures, are what make environments, understandable. What make it make they, make it possible for us to use them and to figure out where we are and what we can do there it, influences, how we think not just about the environment but, about what, we can do there and our role within it. So. When I when. I checked in to the hotel on Tuesday night I was given, up. This piece of paper do. You all have one of these, yeah. So if you examine, this this. Piece of paper is a, map to the distinctions. That this environment has established. Upon, this place and. You. Know there's graphics, in it and you can see that there are you, know a series of overlaid. Floor. Plans for the hotel there's. A lake, and the, series of roads and stuff and then there's a list right, of the different places and. Did. You all read through this list it's very curious. There's. A bunch of pools here. One. Of the pools intrigued, me it says. Adult. Pool. Ages. 18, or over 18. And over sorry, it's, an important, and/or distinction. And. That. Made me wonder you know what does that mean. What. Does it mean about that pool and what does it mean about the content, of the other pools especially, right so. I. Haven't. Been to the pool by the way not. Because of that but. The. Point is this is a series of distinctions. That have been imposed on this environment, by default. This. Very space that I'm standing on at one point looked like this. Okay. And this. Environment doesn't, serve our needs very well if what we want to do is have a closing keynote at a conference or a conference, at all right. So. The. This. Architectural. Gesture, that is hosting, our experience, together today, is a. A design, gesture, a very intentional, one and we. Do this all the time in architecture, and I. Think we do it when we're designing digital. Experiences, as well. We. Label. These parts of the physical. Environments so that we know how to move around and where things are right like I was, completely disoriented. On Tuesday, I took a red-eye that helped right but. I was like looking around and trying to figure out where the conference was and I saw this sign it's like oh well you know I don't really know what these labels mean at the moment but. I know that there is a labeling system to this environment that helps me figure out where things are. You. Know that you're crossing, thresholds. Even, when you are moving. Into. Parts of the environment that are quote-unquote. Undesigned. Right like the, hotel is telling you something about the. The scope of their responsibilities, towards, you but with this sign they're, marking. One part of the environment against. The other this is a distinction, that they, are establishing. Again. We do this sort of stuff all the time when, we design digital experiences. And. There's this exercise. That I like to do on websites, where I. This. Is the website and cover the branding, and try, to see if I can get a sense of what that context.
Is That this thing is creating merely, through the labeling they use in their navigation, systems, a. Lot. Of people in our field still, think that information architecture. Is about creating, navigation. Systems. Or site. Map somehow, yes. That's, how these things are manifested. How they you. Know how you experience, them but. The key thing is what, are the distinctions, that are created, and what do those distinctions, do to your mindset. When you visit this place. If. You. If. You recognize. The colors this is Bank of America but I don't think I need to tell you that this is a bank right just, the label's banking credit card loans investments. Put. Your mind in a banking. Frame, set. Right it tells you the, stuff that you're going to do here is Bank. Like and you bring certain expectations. To that experience, that. Have nothing to do with branding, and a lot to do with the. Options, that are laid out before you through the navigation bar. Now. Why am I telling you about these. Conceptual. Structures, in the context, of designing, information, environments, for the long term it's. Because these, things are. The. More long-lived. Parts, of the experiences. That we design and, this. Is something that I have known for a while kind of intuitively, but. It only really came home to roost when I was working on the fourth edition of the Poor Bear book because. One of my tasks. In that project was updating, all the examples I had, to revisit a lot of old websites, right and. The. Process of doing so, something. Became apparent that, are used, interface technologies, had evolved a lot in the, ten years that that. Separate, the third edition and the fourth edition we in, 2016. 2015, we had bigger displays, we had greater color gamuts we had great, typography right, we, had higher bandwidth, so we could do these enormous photographs. So, the the sights tended to look quite different. But. When you looked at the navigation, structures, you could clearly, recognize, them you could see that they were kind of the same and perhaps, you have experienced, this in your work as well when. You talk about doing a redesign often, you're talking about the surface, stuff not the structural, stuff the, structural stuff usually manifests. Kind. Of deep. Distinctions. That have to do with how that organization, operates. In the world and you don't tinker with that stuff as frequently, as you do with user interfaces. So. The, takeaway here is, that these things that we design change. Are, composed, of elements that change at different rates they don't all change at the same speed. And. Websites. And apps, and, digital experiences, are not the only things that that. Evolve, like that in the world. Buildings. To do. It buildings. Change like that as well can. I get a show of hands for how many people have seen this diagram before, all. Right so it's worth covering it not many this is a. Diagram. Is, usually called a paste layer diagram, this. Is something. That comes from the field of architecture but. It was. Originated. By an architect called Frank Duffy but. It was popularized by Stuart brand in a book he published. In 1994. Called, how, buildings learn what happens after they're built and. This. Is a book about how, buildings evolve how buildings change, over time, which. Is very much germane, to our subject here today right and. What. This. Model says is that buildings don't all change at the same rate they're they're composed of layers that change at different speeds, so they. Are the. The slower changing layers are at the bottom and they get increasingly, faster, as you go towards the top of the diagram here, so, this law is changing layer is. What, brand. Calls the site and you can think of that as the ground upon which the building sits right if, you want to make an, intervention. On this space. Changing. The foundations, changing the site that this thing is sitting on it's probably very expensive, time, consuming and, it. Would require a lot of effort right so it's not something that you want to do frequently. The. Next layer up is structure, and by that they mean the stuff that holds up the building that keeps it from keeps.
A Resisting. The force of gravity you can see structure, here I hate these laser pointers, but I'm too far from the wall to show you so. You see these these. Are, probably structural, elements, right if. You want to make an intervention in this space, cutting. Into those would be really expensive because you could have a potential, collapse in your hands so, people don't do that right, if. They want to intervene usually they will go one layer up to the layer. They call skin and skin, is the sheathing of the building right you. May have seen in some older cities these, old buildings, that have had huge. Holes cut into them to accommodate car garages right, that. Usually. Those holes go through skin they don't go through structure, right so the skin changes more can change more quickly than other layers then. You have services. Which are things like plumbing, and electricity and that sort of thing those, change faster, a. Space. Plan it's, convenient, that we're in this room because I can actually demonstrate one, space plan are the internal, divisions in spaces you, see this. This. Room can be divided into two rooms right by moving these panels, fairly, easily. So. That's what they mean by space plan and. Then. The final layer the one that changes the fastest, they. Call stuff and by stuff they mean all the furnishings, and and the stuff that you place inside of rooms once. This presentation, is over and we, all head out to. The deck to enjoy cocktails. There. Are cocktails right I don't. Want to over. Promise and under deliver here. Folks. The folks who work in the hotel will probably start disassembling this room by taking away the chairs and perhaps reconfiguring. Them and you change. The space the character of the space entirely, just, by moving around stuff right so that, is the fastest, changing lairs it's, the easiest one to change. This. Is a super, useful model, this applies to a lot of things in the world and seeing it laid out in this hierarchy, is very useful, and, in. A subsequent, book. Brand. Expanded, the model, how. Many people have seen this version. All. Right so. It's worth going into it as well because not, too many so this, is the. Pace layer model that he published. In a book called the clock of the long now which, came out in 1999. And. What. He's doing here he's saying it's, not just buildings that change like this. Civilizations. Changed like this. That's. Like much, much, broader right and, the. Layers here also go from slowest at the bottom to fastest, at the top the. The slowest. Changing layers what it calls, nature, which. That change is kind of at an evolutionary. Pace like. The, the. The form of our bodies hasn't really changed that, much. Over, time where it has changed but it changes relatively.
Slowly At, least compared to these other things, the. Next one up he calls culture. Then. Governance. Infrastructure. Commerce increasingly, getting faster, and faster and faster and finally. He has its lair he calls fashion, or art, and, you see it's a squiggly line right. That's, because that changes really fast it changes all the time think of fashion. It's like you were in you know fashion last. Year's fashion or whether you're unfashionable. And we're incentivized, to keep it changing all the time and. It's. An important, point because he. Says in. This, version of the of the model he says. The. Civilizations. That endure the. Ones that that stick around. Manage. A healthy, combination of, fast moving, with. Slow, changing. Because. The. Fast-moving layers are. Were civilizations experiment. With new ideas that's. The reason for the speed you want to try new thing try new things try new things how, long ago was it that people are playing Pokemon go and, it seemed like everyone is playing Pokemon, go right like that's like a trend. And. That's an experimentation, it's like wow AR it's happening right. The. Ideas that are worthwhile the ones that really kind of have, teeth. Become. Commercially, successful and, they, enter, this layer of Commerce which which changes a little more slowly, eventually. They start making it down the stack and the, ones that are really super, useful and super successful end up, becoming encoded. In our cultures and cultures. Change relatively. Slowly right so, what he says here which is a phrase I'm, gonna paraphrase it but it's an idea that I love is, the fast layers are where civilisations, learn and the, slow layers are where civilizations, remember, that's. A that's a really great way of thinking, about how to make things. More resilient, and long-lasting, it's. A super useful model that has lots of applications which. Is why I've cribbed, it and used. It for my own work and I've. Mapped out the work that I do using. A paste layer model, and. I'll walk you through it really quickly so as with. Brands models the slower changing, layers are at the bottom and the faster changing layers are at the top. So. The slowest, changing layer is what I call purpose, which is. The. Reason, why your organization, or this thing that you are working on exists. In the world what is its purpose what is its doing what is it in service to changing, write that. Purpose, gets articulated. Encoded. As a strategy. That differentiates, the way that that thing. Exists. In the world and competes in the market. That. Strategy, in turn gets encoded into various, governance. Models. Right, how the organization. Operates well. How it divides its teams up how it relates to the market how it sells its wares how. It deals with regulation right like that's all governance stuff. The. Fourth layer is where we come in. We. Are, called to then start designing these digital, experiences. And we, must. Structure, them by Korea during these. Conceptual. Distinctions, that I was talking about at the beginning. And. These these structural, distinctions, and you would be surprised. To learn that I think that's where our information, architecture, sits here, these. Structural, distinctions, get articulated, as forms, you. Can think of that as user interface right, that. Is where people are touching, screens, and, clicking, on mice and stuff like that I. Think. That in our discipline. We've been thinking for a long time that these things are kind of at the same level and that they change kind of at the same level they don't right, as I pointed out earlier there's. Evidence that the structural, layer changes, much more slowly than the user interface, layer because, the the advances. In. Human-computer. Interaction. Are, happening, much faster than, our, organizations. Are changing so the distinctions, don't vary as much as the UI does. The. Other reason, for, separating. It is, that. We. Are now functioning. Within a world where these. Structural. Distinctions, can take on many many forms so you can experience an information, environment, on your mobile, phone as an app or in. A website so Wells Fargo which I showed earlier has an app has a website they, probably have IVR systems, that you can call in to at. Some point all these things are going to have voice agents.
That You're going to have be, interacting, with and which, all need to have. Their foundations. In, a. Coherent. Structural. Layer I'm not going to say consistent, because it's. Not necessarily consistent but at least you have to have coherency. Between. These different things right. The. Problem is that a lot, of us who, are in the design field gravitate, towards form because, form is cool. Form, is. Shiny. Form, is the stuff that executives, like to look at they don't like to look at these abstract, conceptual. Model diagrams, right so. We spend a lot of our time in that, layer kind. Of at the expense of the structural layer. So. Structure. That. Is a first big idea. This. Is the second big idea the. The. Notion that these structures, and these forms, and the all these things that we are working on do. Not exist, as independent, entities in. The world they. Form. Part of and create, systems, and. We. Have not, been doing, our job of acknowledging. And, paying, attention to the way that they create systems, and enable. Systems and I'll tell you what I mean by that. Again. I'm going to use architecture, as a model so this. Room that we are inhabiting, at the moment is, not. A simple. Rectangle. Of space, okay. For this place to be inhabitable, and the way that it is now and. Have. It be useful, to us as conference. Goers there. Are a lot, of things. That need to happen simultaneously. It's. Not just the physical. Stuff. That is keeping the. Rain off our heads we. Need to have a an. Electrical, grid that. Is making possible for you all to see this presentation and hear my voice there. Is a an. Air conditioning system that is keeping the temperature, cool, there. Is a, plumbing. System that, is allowing, us to get up and use the restroom if necessary, right. There. Are telecommunication. Systems there's a variety, of different systems that are coming together in, this. Space that we are inhabiting, that, make, it possible for this to function as the environment. That. That, allows. Us to accomplish. Our goal of holding a conference. We. Do the same thing with information. Environments, but, many folks, do not see. It or do not acknowledge it and I'll give you an example. I. Think. That the one of the cleanest, examples, today is right sharing out right. And, where's. Carol so. We, have at least one person from uber right so that's, what I'm talking about here right and when, you think about uber, you may be tempted to think that uber, is the thing that you install on your phone right and. You. Know somebody may say I am working. On the design of the uber, app but. I don't, think and I don't know I don't have any insights into it you may correct me if I misspeak. But I don't think that you can effectively, design, the. Uber, app this. Thing that you as a passenger install on your phone if, you don't acknowledge that uber and its and. Its, competitors. Are, marketplaces. That. Match. A demand, with a supply so. That passenger. App that you install on your phone has. A driver app counterpart. That is essential. To its functioning, and you, must understand, how these two things where, these two things overlap and come together so. That you can be effective, at matching the supply and the demand so. It's. A system it's. Not a product it's a system it's an it and it's creating a and, an, environment, right. In. Order to successfully, design, any one of the parts you at least need to be cognizant, of the. Role that that part, fits. Place. Within the, environment. Within. The within this broader system. And. It's. Important, for us to acknowledge that. The. Boundaries, of that system, don't end cleanly. With. The organization. So. These right sharing, apps would. Be incredibly. Costly, to create. And build if. The organizations, that produce them also had to go out and map all of the streets of the world right. So. They are relying on, services. That are provided by a third, party and it's. Not just mapping. Think. Of the global positioning satellite system right. That's. Something that uber, and its competitors, did not put up in the sky but it's essential, to the functioning of this thing as is. The cell network. You. Know these things rely on getting real-time information between. The different. Actors. In this environment and. Of. Course you do all these things through a smartphone, that was built, by Apple or Samsung or, LG, so, all these things are part of this system but, they are not under the control of the company that that is. That. Is commissioning, the the, the thing that you are working on as a designer and. Of. Course the, systems, don't stop either, don't. Stop there either the. Societies. That these things function. Within our systems. As well and, one. Of the things that we have to start vying for as designers, is that the things that we introduce, is that we are placing within this broader system, don't.
Compromise, It and. Ride. Sharing apps such as if the nuber have, less. So these days I think but in the past they've gone into, in. The news because. The. Local. Guilds. Of like taxi drivers and stuff like that protests them right because all, this unlike its, a major change, into the economic. Echo system that they're launching. Into and and. I'm, happy to actually, I'm happy to see that this, organization these. Companies like uber and I'll are, acknowledging. That and I just want to read something that I saw in the job board which was awesome because I think it exemplifies that there's, a job posting from Hoover and it starts, with the following, paragraph. Which I'm going to read to you. It. Says about us this. Is how they're introducing, themselves to you we're. Changing the way people think, about transportation. Not. That long ago we were just an app to, request premium, black cars in a few metropolitan, areas. Now. We're. Part of a logistical, fabric, of more than 600, cities around the world. Right. That's. An acknowledgement, of. This. Evolution. From thinking about it as a free-standing. Thing, to whoa, we, are starting, to become part of the psycho system of this fabric right so. That's the second big idea this idea that we are really. Working. Within, systems and we have to understand, how systems work. The. Third big, idea is. That, systems, are not static, they're continuously, evolving, and one. Of the things that we need to do as designers is vie, for their. Continuing. By viability. As. As. Systems, so. We need to ensure that they are somehow. Sustainable. And resilient. This. Place was, hit, pretty hard. Nine. Months ago I don't. Know the extent of the damage to the hotel but I heard someone tell him someone told me on Tuesday evening that it was pretty bad that. This place was wrecked by, this place I mean the place we're in now was. Wrecked I mean it's it's Ocean facing you can expect it and I. Was, surprised, the. Grounds, are perfectly, manicured, you. Know last, night I enjoyed. A cocktail. Called a rainforest adventure. And. It. Doesn't feel like a place I was hit by a major hurricane nine, months ago right so it's uh somehow. It sprung back to life. So. Why why did it spring back to life why. Is, it in as good shape as it is now I, think that there's various factors at play not. Least of which the fact that this is a pretty solid, infrastructure. We've got here right but. There's also vested. Interests, in keeping this place. Working. Right, so somebody has put a lot of money into. Having. This be, in. Good. Enough shape to receive us here right, so. The. Viability, of these environments, rests, in great part on the. The, perceived, value that, they offer, us as members, of a. Society so, when I think about sustainability. I, think, about it in three spheres. And. These. Fears reflect. The three pillars of sustainable, development as they were defined in the 2005. World. Summit on sustainable. Development. They. Are the, economic. Pillar. Or economic, sphere the. Social, pillar and the. Ecological pillar. And they. Apply as much to businesses, and physical. Environments, as they do. To the, things that we work on and I want to cover that now, so. Let's start with the economic, pillar which i think is the easiest to, grok because, it's I think self-evident, the. Things that we make need, to generate enough, value to. Be what. The business, folks call a going, concern. Which. Means they can't lose money for very long right. And. I. Think that that sounds, a little self-evident. And perhaps, facetious. Of me to say but. We. Have been operating. Within. This construct where major. Major. Civic. Discussions, happen in information, environments, that have. Either. Unclear, or perhaps. Even dubious, business models. Twitter. Has. Been trying to sell itself or at least was in the past and could get no buyers. It's, a it's. An interesting thing because this. Thing has taken. On a pretty, important. Role in in, our society, right, and it's. Unclear how. How. They will generate, the revenues necessary, to keep it as, a going concern and, that makes it vulnerable from, a sustainability. Perspective right. The. Second pillar is a social pillar and you won't be surprised to learn that it's related to the first. These. Things that we are working on depend. On a well-functioning, society. Right. And we need to fight to make sure that they. Don't compromise, that, society, and. I. Think. That we, are running into trouble in great part because many. Of the most important, ones that we are relying, on have.
A Business model that is. Based. On the, notion of selling your attention. You've. Heard this phrase I'm sure that if you are not paying, for it then you are the product right. And. That. Is a case here and I don't, want to sound like I'm coming down too hard on advertising, I think that advertising. Is, more. Relevant for some types of information. Environments, than for others I think, a lot depends on how well aligned our, objectives. As users, as, people. Who. Use these things, how. Well aligned those objectives, are with the objectives, of the people who are paying for the environment, right. My. Personal, take on this is that, it's, a hard goal of having a civic discussion, in, an environment, that is designed, to, literally. Persuade. You so, you can consume more by. Dividing. You, and I into, ever smaller demographic, segments. It. Seems to me that that is the exact, opposite, of what you, want to do if you want to have a well-functioning, civic. Conversation, you want to figure out ways of getting. People to work together and be on the same footing. So. I think that we need to move beyond, this for, some. Of these important. Information, environments. That's. A social pillar. The. Third pillar, the. Ecological, pillar is perhaps, a. Bit. More nuanced, and requires a little bit more explanation, and. You. May be wondering what does ecology, have to do with all this stuff that you're talking about isn't that isn't the ecology about the whales and, you. Know saving the planet and the rainforest and all this stuff. Well. So, if you yes, it is that and if you think about what ecology, is it's, talking about a system right an ecosystem and, our. Environments. Our physical, environments. Their. Ecological purpose. Is to somehow support life if, you think about it that way and we and when we talk about a physical, environment, that has become polluted you. Talk about an environment that is no longer capable of, supporting life somehow and. Information. Environments, they. Don't necessarily support life but they support, the transmission, of meaning, that, is, what they do and. When. We talk about information environments, becoming polluted we, mean that their ability to convey meaning successful. Has become compromised. There. Is a media theorist, who worked in the mostly in the 70s and 80s called, Neil postman, and he, has a great model, to think about this he called it the semantic, environment, and I'm not gonna go into it now but suffice it to say that, he, said that for. Us for meaning, to be conveyed successfully.
In An environment, all. Participants. In the environment need to be clear on the, meaning of the vocabulary they're using this, the social norms, and the. Hierarchical, distinctions. That the, different actors in the environments, have and. One. Of the things that we are kind of at risk of doing here, sorry. He also said one, of the ways that environments. Information, environments, he called them semantic environments become polluted is when, we start using the terminology, of one context, in another. Context, and changing, the meaning of words and we're. Starting to see that happen, so. We. Have this term this word in the English language which, I think is a key, word for. Well-functioning. Societies. Especially, in liberal democracies, the, word is news. News. Is the feedback, mechanism. For, the, system that is our society, and. We. Have been much too cavalier, with our approach to this feedback mechanism, and, we. Talk about the. News feed. It's. A Facebook screenshot. I don't want to sound, as though I'm coming too hard on Facebook. I know there are Facebookers, here right. I love. You all I love Facebook. But. I think that we need to move beyond, some of these things okay. This. Idea that the news used to be something, that where you got information about, the state of the world is now, being replaced with this notion that we all have this personalized, news feed that, is creating, a small, picture of the world that. Is only showing you what. Will. Engage, you, so as to, keep you. Providing. More dollars coming. From advertisers, and that. My, friends is a, recipe, for disaster and, I think that we are starting. To see it play out and I. Think it's a, it's. In great part why we, are in this situation where. Political. Discourse has become essentially. Impossible. We. Are living in different worlds quite literally. So. To recap these are the three pillars the. Economic. Social. And ecological. Pillar. Now. When we talk about sustainability. In the physical environment we, think of. Critical. Non-renewable. Resources, right, like the things that we, can't make more of that our key to life and we, talk about the air and about. Water right, and these things like we know we have to preserve them we have to protect them and I, think that in information, environments, we also have a key. Non-renewable. Resource, and we have to become fierce. Advocates. For its good use. That. Is the attention, of the human beings who use the, things that we make. Think. That all of us need to ask ourselves. What. Are we doing with this resource. How. Are we using it. Are. We using it to help our, our. Fellows. Become. Better citizens. Better. Parents, better, co-workers. Or. Are we using them to generate, dopamine, hits so, that people keep clicking on ads, and. It's a fundamental, misuse of this resource. I'm. Nearing the end I promise I'm. Trying to rant which is good I. Would, I bet the rainforest, adventure, is starting to sound pretty good about now right. So. Alan. Cooper has been, exporting. The. Design, profession, to. Start, thinking about what we can do to be better ancestors. I, love. That right, that speaks to the long-term that's what I'm really. Passionate about and. My. My. Answer at least from my little corner, of the UX profession. Is I. Aim. For you. Know trying, to ensure the long-term viability, of the. Contexts. Where we are increasingly, living our lives and more. Importantly, the societies, that they enable. Now. One thing that I I must. Admit to is, when. I've been working on this and writing about it and talking about it my, audience is primarily designers, and because. I had never been to a uxpa, event I didn't know what to expect I thought I said these, are these folks are kind of my nerds right like this is this is part of my crowd and, I got here it's like oh my gosh there's, a lot of researchers, here it's. Like I wasn't expecting that and I even asked him it's like do you think of yourself as a designer. Researcher. It's. Like well so. I'm what I've, been thinking you know over the past couple as a sec what, can I tell folks, who are more on the research side what can you do like are you are. They gonna get back on to, work on Monday I think man this stuff that I'm doing what can I do to help change this and, I. Wanted. To encourage. You and say as. Perhaps. You don't think of yourself as a designer if you're a researcher, but as a, researcher, you have this incredible. Superpower. In. That. You. Are, oftentimes. The, people who are defining, the framing, questions. That. Are going to lead to the insights that then, lead to design. Way down, the stack right and. This. Is something that Dan, Hill. Designer. And author calls, the, the, architecting. Of the problem. Architecting. The problem has incredible, power so my invitation to you is you. Know when you. Go. Back to work on Monday hopefully, recovered, from all the fun you've had here you.
Think About. Framing. The the problems, the research problems, that you're undertaking in. Terms of these three things so for, example. What. Are the. Conceptual. Distinctions. That we currently. Impose, upon the world with our environment. That's. An interesting, research question, I think. What. Systems, are we participating. In and creating, where. Are the boundaries of those systems, what. Agency, does, this, organization, have. What. Agency do our users have on these systems, and. Finally. And perhaps kind of more ambitiously. How, can we make these systems more sustainable, where is the money coming from what. Are these things doing to our social, fabric. What. Are they doing to our language, to the ecology, of the. Ecology. Of meaning really. As. We move more and more of our activities, into information environments, those. Of all those, of us involved in the design of these things have more agency, and. Responsibility. Than, ever before. Through. Our work we, can bring. Wholeness, and healing, to. Societies, that frankly are desperately, needing it. We. Can and must, choose. To do so. I think. We're gonna take a couple of questions if. Nobody, is tired of hearing me talk and not. Desperate, for a rainforest, adventure. It's. Not that good don't think that I am advocating. No. No questions I. Can't. See there's a slight. Hello. And thank you so much for for speaking I was so excited to see that that you were the speaker here cuz I love information architecture, but I have a really hard time explaining, it yes it's the worst right it's tried, talking about research to business stakeholders, and then nevermind oh we. Need to complete an information, architecture study or reassess, it I mean it's like it's just it's, vapour to them so what. Methods. Have you used to help your business stakeholders, or anyone else kind of Buy in someone who's outside of completely, outside of our profession. You. Know it's it's a bit of a tricky question for, me to answer because, because. Of the position that, I'm in a lot of folks search me out for information architecture, so they already kind of come primed for it. One. Thing that is important. For. I. Think everyone to be aware of is, that. This. Is gonna come across as being cheeky by something. Said by an information architect, is that we need to stop obsessing so, much about labels, right. The. Important thing is that the work be done and if, the label information architect. Confuses, people, then. Don't use it talk. About you, know we need to figure out what the navigation, is you all know the term MacGuffin. This. Is this, word ringabel so MacGuffin, is it's, one of my favorite words it's, a it's a word that was coined by Alfred, Hitchcock it, comes from the world of cinema and. The. MacGuffin, is an. Artifact. In a movie plot that, the whole plot revolves, around but. Which is ultimately kind of inconsequential, to the plot, it. Just precipitates. All the action that ensues right so if you think of the arc in Raiders, of the Lost Ark. That's. A MacGuffin like everyone spends the whole movie, chasing, after the arc, and then, at the end they conveniently carted, into this government warehouse right, because. You don't want something as powerful as the Ark out in the world. And. Because it doesn't really matter I mean it was just an excuse to have this interesting. Adventure. Movie right and. Oftentimes. I. Find. That. The. Conversation. Needs to be framed in terms that, the people who you're going to be engaging with understand. And care about and, that. Requires, that we look for MacGuffins. Oftentimes. The people. Say we need to redesign our navigation. To. Me that's a MacGuffin it's like no you need to rethink your information, architecture, but. I'm not gonna tell you that because you're gonna be Ryze are gonna glaze over and, then, I'm gonna have a harder time sex, sure let's work on your information architecture and then you do all this conceptual. Modeling and, thinking. Through language and all that stuff that helps. Yeah. Yeah. I really. Enjoyed your talk it's great to see someone finally thinking. About this you know kind of the implications, of a lot of this stuff I just, wonder if you had any insight into how. This happened, because sometimes, if you're really gonna change things you kind of have to figure out well, how did we get here, yes, yeah. I'm. Not going to. To. Lie, and say that I have original. Opinions on this but.
The, Writer jar so, you know Jaron, Lanier he's. An early VR pioneer he has written it I, think it's three books at this point about this stuff, there, is also a great. Book by Tim Wu called. The. Attention merchants. That. That. That. Recaps. The story of art of advertising, how it came about and. What. It means for for the future so that's when I would definitely recommend looking into I. Can't. See. So. Yeah thank you for your talk, so when, I entered, this, field. I was thinking about the are coding architects a role model of yes you're doing now. There's a big, difference between. What. User experience. Of, how off his experience, today into the power, of an architect, so. His. Experience, is still fighting for its role in the development process, and. The. Building architect. Is the lead and. Erecting, a building so he's driving, this project. And making. The key decisions, so. I see a big difference, between the, power of his experience, today and, of. An architect, so my question to you is any. Ideas, how to close that gap yes. I'm. Going to actually flip back flip. Back. To mice that's. Not what I wanted. Yeah. We need to move down this stack, that's. That's the answer to that architects. Did this a long time ago right like they. They. Figured that out like you need, to architect, the problem we we, have been as, a discipline. We, have been much, too. Meek. About, recognizing. The power that we have and the impact that our work has and we, have, kind of viewed ourselves, as people. Whose, role. It is to, make. Things easier. To find easier to understand more usable, right so, and that doesn't really even that. That implies that you're not even questioning the premise of the thing you're making right whereas. Architects. You know we as designers expect that we are going to be given requirements, somehow, architects. Define, requirements. Like, when you're going to build something I can bet you and I don't know anything about how this building, that we're in was designed but, I can bet you that whoever. Commissioned. This building, did not have very, tight. Specifications as, to what this building should be like part. Of what architects, do is they help figure, out how. To frame the problem properly, and what and what the solution is going to be and they've. Been doing this for a long time you. Know there's there's a whole series of conceptual.
Conceptual. Idea, tools. That, architects use you know the party the. Programming, phase right things that we have not been doing as. Part of our work and actually. There's, a roll called product manager that has emerged to kind of meet the need that we failed, to serve right. So. We have this kind of dual role with a product manager that, kind of does, what the architects do that's. My sense anyways. That. It. One. More one. More and then rainforest, adventures. Notice. I said it in the plural that time. No. Neither, the. Rainforest Adventure sounded too good all. Right thank you so much. You.