Prompted by “Designing for Post-Connected Users — Part 2, the Recommendations”: http://alistapart.com/column/designing-for-post-connected-users-part-2
“Try getting back to an application after a week or two of inactivity. If you recently returned from vacation, you already know the result: a massive user pain.
I tried it, and it felt like all the applications and websites were yelling at me: You’re late! You’ve missed out on so much! Piles of notifications and unread messages pointed an accusatory finger at me: you shouldn’t have disconnected, you shall now suffer to get caught up.”
At least in many ways, improving technology relations means removing technological awareness, so tech is optimally seamlessly tuned in with the user’s life.
When I design my websites, I focus on simplicity for convenient access and smoothest interactive flow. People want (or need) to access a lot of information during the Information Age, so respecting that access is paramount. I do what I can to ensure my audience avoids informational clutter. Instead of the newspaper style of website, with loads of links and layouts unfit for interactivity beyond just turning a page, so prompting the inevitable ‘eye darting around’ effect upon landing there to get a ‘lay of the land’, I focus upon the smooth flow of the user session.
I also focus upon designing a relatively crude version of what the future will logically become — when the computer finally disappears into the human brain. Our hands and fingers have reached size limits using portable devices. Thought interactivity is the ultimate solution, and computer monitors, smartphones, etc. will disappear as a result. I predict a lengthy duration prior to achieving that interactivity, not due to technological limits, but the seriously challenging logistics and ethics towards implementing computers in the human brain. For prime example, how will they be upgradeable? You can buy a new computer today to achieve that simple goal, but if your brain has an old computer inside, then you would be SOL, if that computer was not very well thought out prior to implementation (e.g. serious modularity is key). And that only scratches the surface for brevity here.
When humanity truly embraces the absence of objective distinction, the natural result is a purely energetic ocean which subjectively contains humanity, technology, and any other relevant influence in this case.
Improving technology relations (like anything in life) is about improving healthy/unhealthy stress.
On the one hand, even the best computers humanity will ever make will never actually be human, so they will never truly learn to adapt as humans. So while techies continue building algorithms to anticipate our needs and desires (sometimes with conflicts of interests — e.g. advertising annoyances), I favor examining human intention as the driver of technology in a way fit for healthy stress.
On the other hand, automatic pilots are often preferred for a good reason, and that remains true for technology relations. As we better understand ourselves as a species (including where exactly we need consideration for survival versus processes better left to subconscious flow), we’ll hopefully be able to leverage that result to form better technology relations.