As working from home becomes the new normal, and everyone is scrambling to find virtual solutions such as Zoom, Google Hangouts or Microsoft Teams, it’s a great time to pause for a moment to ask ourselves:
Who are we designing these meetings for? What is the purpose of the interaction? And what are the various technologies and platforms that can help us best achieve that purpose?
It’s time to redefine digital. There is a tremendous opportunity here to take a human-centered approach to designing impactful experiences versus taking a reactive approach, grabbing whatever solutions are available and stitching them together.
As meetings, conferences, events, classes and workshops are cancelled, it’s time to take a step back and reflect on some fundamental questions. For example: if we are designing for a cancelled training class, what was the purpose of that class? It’s likely to be a combination of learning new things, connecting with like-minded individuals, and sharing knowledge in a sustainable, referenceable way. So given this purpose, how can we design a virtual experience that may best fit these objectives in a human-centered way? What technologies were designed to promote learning new things, connecting and sharing in a more sustainable way? Which technologies were designed based on the science of learning, and which help develop 21st Century skills?
When we take a tech-driven approach, we often miss the subtle nuances of the powerful human experience. Take video conferencing, which is now a critical part of our daily work. The purpose of video conferencing is to chat and meet virtually. It wasn’t designed for structured, sequential learning experiences, as learning requires reflection, application and sharing. You can’t connect with people on the conference call or webinar after the webinar or even keep track of the conversations when the call is over. Video conferencing is useful for having virtual conversations at a predetermined time in a synchronous way. It’s not ideally designed for asynchronous communications; for example, watching 60-minute recorded webinars is not usually enjoyable or interactive.
So what is required to connect the dots that will enable participants to have an integrated experience - both synchronous and asynchronous - that better aligns with how humans naturally engage and connect with each other? Here are five tips for redefining the way we use digital in a socially connected way.
With greater physical distancing, digital has now become a critical tool to enable social connections. Crisis creates opportunities to innovate. Before we jump to react, let’s take this opportunity to redefine digital using a more human-centered approach. Humanity calls for it.