The 20tab Alien Experience @ Fuffa Day

March 29, 2023, by Claudia Mazzullo




A UX/UI designer and a scientist (complete with a lab coat) on the Fuffa Day stage.

Topic: Aliens and User Experience.

Can you imagine creating a system for aliens that came to Earth? How would we even talk to them, and what could we find in common?

Only Virginia Capoluongo and Fabio Armani could bring together such different topics and make it feel like a fun and light-hearted chat. They got us thinking about serious subjects like Agile and development in a relaxed and playful way.

The talk

The User Experience, which basically describes how people interact with a product, was redefined as the Alien Experience in this context. We used four films as examples and compared them with the actors involved in the creation and use of a product.

The first movie we discussed was "Forbidden Planet" from 1956. The story is about a planet populated by robots and other weird creatures born from the subconscious of the planet's inhabitants. We compared this to the challenge of researching and interviewing users, where we have to be mindful of people's subconscious and not let their fears cause problems. Instead, we need to focus on understanding their needs and problems to come up with useful solutions.

Unlike the robots in the film, who have an electronic subconsciousness that obeys preset laws (such as not harming people),we humans are complicated creatures with thoughts and feelings that can't always be easily controlled or programmed. Sometimes we have biases that are hard to get rid of, like the "confirmation bias" where we tend to believe only what supports our opinions. This can be a big problem when we're doing user research because we might end up ignoring what users are telling us and just trying to prove ourselves right instead.

The second movie we talked about was "The Day The Earth Stood Still". It's about aliens that come to Earth to protect our planet, but they end up wanting to destroy all of humanity because they can't find a way to solve the problems. It's a good intention with a really bad outcome. We compared this to the importance of communication with the stakeholder. You can have great ideas, but if you don't know how to share them and listen to other people's ideas, things can get messy really quickly.

The stakeholder isn’t really the enemy (even though they can be scary sometimes!). The key is to work with them and keep the communication lines open so everyone is on the same page. We need to remember that the user's experience is super important, but we also have to think about what the business wants. So by working together, we can find the best solution for everyone.

With "Arrival" the main focus was the language. It's about a woman who tries to communicate with aliens using symbols and signs. We talked about how important it is to establish a common language between stakeholders and users, so everyone can understand each other and minimize the risk of misunderstanding. We also talked about how important it is to verify information to make sure we got it right.

The last film examined (and the most known one too) was "Alien". We focused on how the main character changes over time, and we related that to the user persona, which is a tool that helps us understand our users. We talked about how important it is to keep updating our user persona (continuous delivery) because people's needs change all the time. This way, we can make sure we're always developing products that meet the needs of our users.

Fuffa Day was held on December 2 in Rome, within the spaces of Binario F.

That’s a wrap! See you next year.

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