(stop de)humanizing the tech

511 words | ~3 mins
ux emotions design systems technology

Many of our interactions are done via technology. Trading, talking, scrolling through other lives. The problem is those interactions are emotionless. Does it have to stay like that?

I’ve today read post ‘Rehumanization’ by the most famous storyteller and brand strategist in Poland - Paweł Tkaczyk. It got me thinking - how are current web interactions such artificial. (link to article - in polish)

Yes, it’s world of the web; it is done via internet; it is interacting through computer or phone.

On the other hand. Does it have to be like that?

Everything in virtual world is done by us. We have control over tech. We have developed the web.

How are we dehumanized?

Have you ever wondered about shopping in an e-commerce store?

  1. You enter store,
  2. You are presented list of products,
  3. You add product to basket,
  4. “Product has been added” - depersonalized messages appear
  5. You either:
    1. buy and pay
    2. leave a basket
  6. You become good customer who has left some money and may leave some later on or customer who may be bombed by ’left basket’ messages.

It looks like person is just ‘walking wallet’.

Let’s take another example. You scroll through social networks. You could leave comments, share or leave ‘reaction’. No real interaction, just poor substitute of meeting with someone.

So, why is tech such emotionless?

I see why is this a thing.

One point is that we get used to it. In the early days of internet there were no tech possibilities to interact in rich - emotional way. People got used to it.

Next, it is simpler. It is easier to simply show product’s image, a generic description and wait till visitor will throw product into a basket.

What could be shown instead? Why bother talking with customer and ask him what is he looking for. Take some time to know her/his needs?

I looks like too much hassle. Why bother? Why bother talking when we could get cheaper result?

By cheaper I mean generic way; way which could be compared to fishing with grenades. Throw one into a lake, you’ll catch something, right?

If you interact with people - emotional path can give you competitive advantage. How so?

What can we do with emotions

Start with people servicing these applications. What’s their attitude towards customer?

Can it be more emotional, more real? More fun?

Next, redesign is always an option. Go with research on user experience (UX). Observe and react. People on the other side are humans.

Visitor’s goal might be more important than category your product or content belongs to. It’s harder to detect; that’s why most shops have categories of products, not categories of what buyer wants.

What else?

With good design emotion-ful implementation should come. What does it even mean? Just an ability to talk with someone real is often step towards making tech more human. Expose it.


Everything in virtual world is done by us. We have control over tech. We have developed the web. We can make it more human.

What do you think? Let’s talk :)