In the past few weeks, the world has seen just how important the connection between humans and machines is. As people continue to self-isolate and practice social distancing, the need for online technology is more apparent than ever before.
COVID-19 has humans considering the best way to connect to one another using machines, and how to connect with the machines, which are most often websites and mobile apps.
Companies such as grocery stores and pharmacies are experiencing a lot of traffic and demand for their online services at the moment. From ordering groceries to allowing people to request refills for their medications without going to the store, the convenience and safety of purchasing online is changing consumer behavior.
In the field of User Experience (UX) Design, we define how digital interfaces work and connect together to create experiences like online shopping. It can also be applied to public spaces and how we design them.
A newly prioritized constraint will likely be related to preventing outbreaks like COVID-19 in the future. We’re asking questions like, “How can we build airport check-ins or screening to deal with contagions better?”
Human psychology also plays an important role in connecting humans with machines as we ask “How can we create messaging to change the most amount of behaviour the quickest?”
Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, there was a significant shortage of skilled UX professionals. To help employers bridge this widening skills gap, we’ve added extra sections of our Certificate in User Experience (UX) Design.
As we move towards the other side of COVID-19 we will see humans adapt to the “new normal”. Habits formed during physical isolation that are beneficial will stick and the role of digital tools will be even greater. Organizations and tools which facilitate intuitive human experiences through their designs will continue to have a competitive advantage over those that don’t.
How Can Companies Ramp Up Their Digital Capacity in COVID-19?
The demand for digital expertise continues to grow in organizations across multiple industries to combat the challenges faced from COVID-19. As such, professionals in the field are not only being brought in, but given senior roles to make the necessary changes and help shift to digital. While there may be initial pushback from within the organization (as Carmen Branje mentions in the above video) as well as a delicate period of transition, the long-term benefits of becoming more data-driven and technological will be worthwhile.
You can learn more about the continued efforts to transition Canada’s economy to digital by reading this article from the Government of Canada.
Carmen Branje, PHD
Carmen has been a designer, researcher and teacher for more than a decade. He has achieved degrees in computer science and management science at Ryerson University and then went on to obtain his PhD in Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. His PhD thesis entitled The Vibrochord – Investigating a Vibrotactile Instrument, explored the design, creation and use of the world’s first digital, fully vibrotactile musical instrument. Carmen went on to become a Professor at Centennial College where he led several applied research projects including MagnusMode and a Mixed Reality Mobile Game. He then left the world of academia and went into the financial industry to design online and mobile user experiences for CIBC and RBC. After starting and leading a small prototyping team at RBC Carmen left to establish the design practice at a small company based in Markham called Orbit Group.
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