July 17-19, 2019 / Vancouver, BC

Hunting and Gathering in a Digital World

Why humans are confused and what we can do about it

Sophia V Prater

We humans evolved in constraints of the physical world. But digital spaces don’t have to follow all those petty rules of physics. Awesome! In digital spaces, you can teleport with hyperlinks! You can be in two (or more) places at once thanks to video chat and social media! You can undo. Digital spaces make magic possible.

But here’s the thing. Sometimes the magic that digital designers create is confusing and disorienting. Even though our digital world is liberated from physical constraints, perhaps we designers should hang on to some of rules that humans expect out of objects. Sure, let’s ditch the annoying things about meatspace, but let’s keep what works. Mainly, let’s keep what our poor lizard brains are always going to assume about any space — physical or digital.

Based on Sophia’s work in bringing object-oriented principles to UX, this talk explores how to align design with how humans naturally understand environments. We will explore four design principles that will help you create digital products that even a caveman could use.