The early days of user-centred design were driven by the need to improve the interaction between people and complex technologies such as aircraft and power stations to improve significant failings in health and safety. The last few decades have seen the focus shift to computer based technologies and increasing emphasis on producing a pleasing user experience. The constant quest for new functionality, and rapidly evolving user experiences, have changed behaviour so that many people are persuaded to continually upgrade to the latest gadgets. Offering convenience to constantly more mobile users has resulted in a plethora of cloud-based services, which, together with leading blockchain and crypto currency applications have enormous requirements for power and computational resources.
But does focusing on the user at the design stage makes us forget to consider the broader implications for society, such as how the requirements for production and disposal of new technologies affect the environment, or how necessary these large scale infrastructures that consume enormous amounts of energy are? Is it now time to bring back the focus of user-centred design to consider health and safety implications, not just for the individual users of technology, but for the planet and the communities in which we live? How can we fix the problems we have created, and change the way in which we design and develop the next generation of technologies so that similar challenges to our very existence do not emerge from potentially negative aspects, or unintended consequences?
Join us to examine these issues and enjoy your first drink courtesy of our generous sponsor, Akendi, at The Panton Arms, Panton Street, Cambridge. Our SIG Champions will provide a brief introduction and this will be followed by informal discussion amongst attendees. One of our objectives is to gather ideas for a more formal event to be held later in the year, so we will particularly appreciate suggestions for topics or speakers that could contribute to this.
Please note there is limited parking near The Panton Arms which is a 10-15 minute walk from the Grand Arcade car park. An Irish folk group plays in the room every Thursday night from approximately 8pm - delegates are welcome to stay and enjoy the music, but for those who wish to continue the discussion more quietly we can do so in the main bar or outside area.