Golden Krishna

Golden Krishna

Author of The Best Interface is No Interface

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON October 23, 2015

Discussion

Golden Krishna
Golden Krishna@goldenkrishna · "The Best Interface is No Interface"
Hi Everyone, Golden here. I'm the author of "The Best Interface is No Interface," and a designer. I've worked for innovation labs at Samsung and Zappos to imagine, design, and build the future of technology. I began my career working at the world-renowned interaction design consultancy Cooper in San Francisco. I am also trying to get you to stop looking at your stupid phones by trying to make sexy experiences with little to no screens. Ask my anything!
Harry Stebbings
Harry Stebbings@harrystebbings · Podcast Host @ The Twenty Minute VC
@goldenkrishna thanks so much for joining us today! Would love to hear your thoughts on human interaction with their screens in the coming years? Are we going to be staring at them more or will the likes of wearables reduce screen time? Also, what was the holacracy like to work in when you were at Zappos? Can't wait to hear your thoughts!
Golden Krishna
Golden Krishna@goldenkrishna · "The Best Interface is No Interface"
@harrystebbings Hi Harry! Super excited to be here. Holacracy? Crazy. Fun. Self organizing is right up my alley. But it's a risky endeavor. There's been good and bad, but I hugely applaud Zappos for taking a risk that few ever would. Zappos is a very unique company. And, there's no doubt, we're addicted to screens. Children spend 2 hours a day looking at a screen, teens for 7.5 hours a day, and adults, we stare into the light in the United States for more than 8 hours a day. But I don't blame the customers, I blame the makers. We need to make technology so we can reconnect with one another. I think younger people realize this, and are making faster, easier, and more seamless experiences. Mobile First was a fascinating movement years ago because the design philosophy forced complex desktop websites and software to be paired down for the small screen on a mobile device by prioritizing what was important, resulting in more elegant experiences. But sadly, as phones have gotten larger and larger, app makers have responded with more and more complex, desktop-like applications in your pocket. We've gone from simple back to complex. That's unfortunate. Although the average consumer is under the impression that they can do more with a larger smartphone screen, software makers seem to be taking that opportunity to revert to bad design habits. The Apple Watch has been dominating headlines lately, and a fair amount of the articles about the actual use cases show off standard, screen-intensive interactions. Here are all the screens you have to use to hail a cab on Uber. Here's how Facebook notifications look. Your Instagram feed. They’re boring. And repetitive to what a smartphone already offers. If Watch sales take off, I'd love to see companies take on the challenges of a Watch First experience. Pair down to little or no UI. Embrace the idea that the best interface is no interface. When I was doing research and development at Samsung, I got to work on a number of wearables -- some things released, many not -- and all I can say is that if you take advantage of the correct radios and sensors in the correct places, you can do great things. Things that go far beyond the screen.
Melissa Joy Kong
Melissa Joy Kong@melissajoykong · Content, Product Hunt
If you could "redesign" anything about your career so far, what would it be? What would you do differently, and why?
Golden Krishna
Golden Krishna@goldenkrishna · "The Best Interface is No Interface"
@melissajoykong Super interesting question Melissa! When I look back on my life, I sometimes think I should have understood "the game" better. Understood that the awful metrics of GPA and SAT in high school, radically shifted my whole life by altering what school I went to, what people I would meet, and the perception of my intelligence...but then, I realize, fuck that. Being safe, following the road most taken, just makes you another number. If anything, I wish I took more chances. When I first published the blog post, The Best Interface is No Interface, it took a shot at a whole industry, and I couldn't be happier I took that chance. We don't need arrogance, but we certainly don't need more minions. Take a shot at change, the worst thing that'll happen is someone will thing you're stupid, but the best outcome is that you change a life, a field, or maybe a community.
Jacqueline von Tesmar
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
What are some of your favorite non-screen related things to do? Hobbies?
Golden Krishna
Golden Krishna@goldenkrishna · "The Best Interface is No Interface"
@jacqvon Jacq! I love to write. I love baseball. I love to run. I actually love to run at night. Like midnight. It's cool at night here in the Bay Area, and after starring at screens all day, it gives me time to think, and my eyes to rest from all those bright LEDs all day long.
Sarthak Pranit
Sarthak Pranit@liberosist · App Designer @Booking.com
@goldenkrishna *insert fanboy scream* Thanks a tonne for this. Great design should always be transparent and work in the background without taking much cognitive overload. Your book definitely supports that. But if you have seen the current industry (which I am sure you have), we rely a lot (and sometimes solely) on visual impressiveness. Dribbble and Behance have definitely accelerated that thought in the majority of the design community. Now if I were to be very objective about my question, let me give you this situation: Say you are recruiting a designer to work with on a product that aims towards having a screen-less experience. What would you be looking for in his/her portfolio?
Golden Krishna
Golden Krishna@goldenkrishna · "The Best Interface is No Interface"
@liberosist Ha, Sharthak! You're ridiculously flattering. Don't believe the hype! ...Great question. You're absolutely correct. But don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong and it's absolutely necessary to have great visual designers to execute visuals. Take a look at some job postings right now and you'll instantly see a problem, a weird sort of trend: http://www.indeed.com/jobs?q=ux%... Of course, UX is not the same thing as UI. UI is about making and composing elements for a screen. For a User Interface. It's an important job, but it's very different than UX. That's where the Behance and Dribble you identify is actually helpful. But UX is about understanding customer problems and solving them. It's about making a great overall experience. Look, I hate acronyms. They cause confusion and are a tool to generate exclusivity for the talentless to provide job security. A blurring these two design acronyms seems harmless. But when it's your job title, it changes how you're evaluated. How you're promoted or fired. And when you're expected to be a UX/UI designer? Well, it's your job to solve problems with screens. Good experience design isn’t good screens, it’s good experiences. There's a lot of confusion about the role of design in technology. Partly, because the default road map for a lot startups and major technology companies is to get people more and more addicted to their technologies. We're evaluated by how many clicks, how addicted we can make customers instead of more beneficiary. In the book, I talk about the shift in the field, towards something I call Addiction UX where the designer exists to generate more clicks, not more joy. When you try to find a designer for this new screenless world, it's a different set of considerations. - How well can they empathize with customers? - How well can they observe patterns and behaviors? - How well can they do user research? One area of design that I hope to see continue to grow is service design, deliverables like customer journey maps that look beyond the screen, beyond the wireframes. I've become a huge fan of high-level customer journey maps that show customers experiencing the product. The most visual, the better. They're a fantastic way of showing the full journey. When I wrote for UX Booth earlier this year about Backpocket Apps, I included a high-level journey maps: http://www.uxbooth.com/articles/... There is a nice overview of customer journey maps here: http://designingcx.com/cx-journe...
Sarthak Pranit
Sarthak Pranit@liberosist · App Designer @Booking.com
@goldenkrishna I completely agree with you on the 'UX/UI' nomenclature fiasco. It's almost like the twerking of the design community - the absolutely wrong thing to have just caught on. But thanks for your insights about screen-less design thinking. Service design deliverables is definitely something I will be looking into. Cheers :)
Vadi
Vadi@vadivelk · Craftsman
@liberosist @goldenkrishna IMHO, any UI that born out without improving UX is useless. Emphasize on pixels and just pixels is not good enough. Can't wait to read your book. Thanks for responding to this question.
Golden Krishna
Golden Krishna@goldenkrishna · "The Best Interface is No Interface"
@vadivelk @liberosist Thanks guys, hope you get a chance to see the book!
Russ Frushtick
Russ Frushtick@russfrushtick
@goldenkrishna What will revolutionize interface design over the next 10 years?
Golden Krishna
Golden Krishna@goldenkrishna · "The Best Interface is No Interface"
@russfrushtick Russ! Happy you could be here. Product Hunt is an awesome community. If you want to be a designer in technology, you always have to be ready to grow, change, learn, and adapt. UX design principles will never change, but how you execute those principles will always flux in your career. We'll see whole teams change. Data scientists will become better integrated. Sensor technology will finally make its way into Adobe prototyping software. The thing that I hope will change most over all else is a shift in methodology, we've been making software the same way since Xero PARC in 1978: windows, icons, menus, and a pointer. Wireframes. Lazy rectangles. Asking ourselves how we can help an 82 year old diabetes patient with a fucking drop down. (nointerface.com/fuckdropdowns) I'd love to see a shift from expecting the user to tap and click to seeing the computer automatically make decisions, or ask us questions with a lot of confidence. I think we're shifting from phase 1 (human goal, asks computer, ex. google) to phase 2 (computer asks us if it can help, ex. google now), and eventually a phase 3 (computer just solves the problem for us, ex. your startup?).
Lejla Bajgoric
Lejla Bajgoric@lejlahunts · Intern, Product Hunt
Thanks for being here :) What do you think it will really take to get us to stop looking at our stupid phones?!
Golden Krishna
Golden Krishna@goldenkrishna · "The Best Interface is No Interface"
@lejlahunts Lejla! Thanks for joining. I hope that it's only a matter of time before we see change. After discussing The Best Interface is No Interface, I often hear positive sentiment from two age groups that are usually thought of as very different: the very old and the very young. I think the older folks saw technology sweep over the human interactions of the past, and the young don't admire swiping and tapping like their parents; there's nothing novel about another screen to either. That said, this book, the idea of The Best Interface is No Interface, is a journey into just one possible future. Along the way will be battles to be fought inside companies and classrooms, privacy issues to tackle, and other unforeseen hurdles. But when the philosophies settle, the debaters come to agreement, the doers understand how to get it done, and the business plans start to fall into place, we could have something utterly revolutionary in our hands. Or not. It’s up to us. Like Abraham Lincoln said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
Emily Hodgins
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
@goldenkrishna how did you get into design in the first place? Did you always know this is what you wanted to do?
Golden Krishna
Golden Krishna@goldenkrishna · "The Best Interface is No Interface"
@ems_hodge I remember thinking as far back as elementary school that the art world was stupid. That painting was a dated practice. That drawing was unnecessary. I blew it off. But as I got older, and started to learn about design, I found a huge amount of joy. Solving problems. Connecting people. Art with purpose. I started making websites back in the days when ISPs offered 5MB of space to make your own att.net/~username or geocities page. And eventually, I went to study design at CalArts, an art school in the LA area that's so tough to get into, but so rigorous -- I slept 0 hours 2-3 days a week -- my skills got way better, and I'm so happy and proud to be in design today. The possibilities now are endless. Design can and does so much.
Tom Masiero
Tom Masiero@blendahtom · GM of LaunchBit
@goldenkrishna How has Jobs to be done thinking influenced your thinking of the best interface is no interface? It seems like they are compatible on many levels.
Golden Krishna
Golden Krishna@goldenkrishna · "The Best Interface is No Interface"
@blendahtom Steve Jobs taught us so many lessons about making mainstream technology work. He, much like Taylor Swift, knew how to get so many of us all screaming for them, even if we're holding their album, er, phone wrong. One piece of inspiration that I recently told a Fast Company writer... A number of years ago, it was rumored that Steve Jobs took his inner circle on a corporate retreat to talk about company priorities. At the retreat, he went around the room and asked his inner circle their top priority for the year and jotted them down. At the end, he erased all but one priority and said, 'This is what we’re going to accomplish this year. We’re going to crush this one thing and do it better than anyone ever has.' You could send 100 tweets a day, 400 emails, and fill the world with more crap. But great productivity to me is having quality output, so each day I try to focus on one thing that I’ll absolutely nail. You want to be productive? Focus. Do one amazing thing each day. It could be for the world, your life, your partner, or for a friend. But if you do one great thing a day, well, that’s a fucking productive day. http://www.fastcodesign.com/3048... ...But all that said, don't just idolize Jobs. He did a lot of things poorly. He alienated friends, partners, and didn't donate any of his massive wealth. There are many very smart people who don't get recognition. The team that built webOS, for example, fundamentally changed the way we interact with our smartphones, the Zune team (yes, ZUNE!) introduced flat design. Like movies, the blockbusters get known, but they're not the ones that are always pushing the field forward, they're just making the dollars. Sure, enjoy, love, see Jurassic Park 4, but also look again at the indie movies that are truly resolutionary...excuse me, revolutionary.
Tom Masiero
Tom Masiero@blendahtom · GM of LaunchBit
@goldenkrishna doh.. I meant "jobs to be done" thinking popularized by Clayton Christensen -> Perfect example here
Golden Krishna
Golden Krishna@goldenkrishna · "The Best Interface is No Interface"
@blendahtom Ha! And here I assumed, Steve Jobs.... Ha! That's hilarious, and shows his power. Agreed. Clayton was and is on point. Focusing on the jobs to be done is something easy to rally around for any designer, and I definitely agree with the premise. Good design is there to make elegance, efficiency, ...not rely on lazy rectangles.
Anwaar Ansari
Anwaar Ansari@anwaaramjad · Student
@goldenkrishna Thanks for doing this! What do you think will be product/service which can , in one way or another , change our lives?
Golden Krishna
Golden Krishna@goldenkrishna · "The Best Interface is No Interface"
@anwaaramjad Anwar! I don't have that answer yet, but I hope someday to be working on it. And when I do, should I contact you?
Melissa Joy Kong
Melissa Joy Kong@melissajoykong · Content, Product Hunt
It's so hard to find a balance with our phones because they are simultaneously a great distraction and a great benefit. They disconnect and connect us. Some apps improve the quality of our lives, others cause us to waste time. It occurred to me the other day that we create great technology, which often creates some problems, and then we create more technology to try and autocorrect for the problems we created. What's the right balance? How do we use our phones for the good stuff—but not overdo it? How do we use technology in a way that enhances the quality of our lives, relationships, and the world—but avoid becoming addicted in unhealthy ways?
Golden Krishna
Golden Krishna@goldenkrishna · "The Best Interface is No Interface"
@melissajoykong Great question Melissa. Sometimes, when I'm starring into the light, my girlfriend threatens she's going to post a picture of me on the Internet and point out to the world that I'm a terrible person and hypocrite. I don't blame her. I hate that we're glued to our phones. And I'm part of it. But when every company, startup, and smart entrepreneur is trying to solve all of your life problems in screens, and making a new services to get you addicted to those screens, of course we end up looking at screens all day. Recently, I was on "The Innovation Engine" Podcast (http://www.3pillarglobal.com/ins...). When I exchanged emails with the host Will Sherlin, I got an unusual auto response: "Thanks very much for your email. In an effort to have more focused time during the workday, I will be checking and responding to email at 9:30 AM and 3 PM ET each day. If you need to get in touch quickly, please feel free to call me at xxx-xxxx" What a fascinating approach. I genuinely believe I was better at email before my smartphone. Having dedicated time to handle these tasks -- email time, twitter time, facebook time, etc. -- lets us focus on what's important at the time it's happening. Like spending time with family when we're around family, or focusing on work when at work.
Gilbert Bagaoisan
Gilbert Bagaoisan@gbertb · Developer
@goldenkrishna What's your take on Sherry Turkle's new book "Reclaiming Conversation" and how has her work influenced your thinking?
Golden Krishna
Golden Krishna@goldenkrishna · "The Best Interface is No Interface"
@gbertb Welcome Gilbert. Awesome you could join. Sherry's book is fantastic. And I really loved her piece in NYT recently (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/2...). She's providing the qualitative data we all need and want and crave to make the world a better place. She's identifying the problem, the changes, and it's up to people like you and me to make better choices with what we create. If you think the world is filled with terrible music, complaining that people listen to it doesn't do anything, you need to make better music.
The point of using no interface also goes against principle defended by a lot of app makers and startups these days where the principal goal it the you to participate with the interface has much has possible. But in fact we will have to basically change the measure of success and not do it solely on the interface but on other way to relate with our users/customers. At this point where they are receiving more the 150 request from their phone per day.. how can we interact with them without directly require their attention directly at each moment..
Golden Krishna
Golden Krishna@goldenkrishna · "The Best Interface is No Interface"
@jeffpoulin Jean-Francois! Lovely to have you here. You're absolutely correct. It's frightening. Earlier this year, the Verge had a piece about how Silicon Valley is taking inspiration from gambling addiction...not good. (http://www.theverge.com/2015/5/6...). Alan Cooper once taught me an old joke. There are only two industries in which we call our customers "users": technologists and...um, drug dealers. A recent study done in UK found that the average smartphone user checks his/her phone over 220 times a day. Not good. One of the outcomes of all the screen time we’re doing everyday is that we now have what I call digital chores. The maintenance of our digital lives. It demands a lot of our time, and many of us don’t even realize it. Among the many chores, software updates must be downloaded and installed (last year, Chrome had eight different version updates, iTunes had nine; not to mention, you had to delete apps and photos to make room for the updates), passwords must be reset (don’t forget to do it every 30 days), and friend requests and notifications must be attended to (some active Quora users get 150 to 500 a day). In Sherry's NYT piece I mentioned earlier in this chat, she points to an empathy study done by the University of Michigan. Every decade or so they track the amount of empathy in the general population. When they repeated the study, I believe last year, they found the lowest empathy levels since they started doing the study. Sad. Another person, seeing that study, then removed phones from people's lives and measured empathy levels before and after. The result? Empathy levels skyrocketed when they stopped starring at all those services buzzing, beeping, and annoying us...trying psychological tricks to get us addicted. As you identified, we need startups building services that actually result in me using our phones less often by removing these digital chores. We need to go back to what design has always been about: making our lives better. Solving problems. Digit is one recent startup that's absolutely on this track. Okay, it’s not technically an app, but I love the idea that the service just takes care of it for me, meaning less time I spend on my banking site making sure everything is withdrawing correctly. Unroll.me can automatically compile promotional emails into a single digest to save you on email time. Dropbox’s Carousel can automatically backup your photos and remove them from your phone to save you space. These just a handful of digital services that are actually working actively to spend less time on my phone, which is such a refreshing alternative to the ones trying to get us to spend more and more time on our phones.
gayathri
gayathri@ga_ya_thri
Which recent product/app would you consider to be well designed for UX?
Golden Krishna
Golden Krishna@goldenkrishna · "The Best Interface is No Interface"
@ga_ya_thri Hi Gayathri! I wrote a piece not long ago on UXBooth that talked about the shift in UX thinking that Lockitron made when going from 1.0 to 2.0. They rethought not their UI, but their UX, and entered a type of app I call a Backpocket app. (You can see the piece here: http://www.uxbooth.com/articles/...). Other companies, like ginger.io have an app that just works in your backpocket -- no daily taps and swipes necessary -- that studies your patterns to deliver better mental health care.
gayathri
gayathri@ga_ya_thri
@goldenkrishna That is insightful. Thank you.
Vadi
Vadi@vadivelk · Craftsman
What is your suggestions on starting up a designing process? How to begin and what is your approach?
Golden Krishna
Golden Krishna@goldenkrishna · "The Best Interface is No Interface"
@vadivelk First, define the problem you're trying to solve. Then understand the customer for that problem. Talk to them. Observe them in the context. Find how others have solved the problem. Iterate, and draw in a way so that you take us a leap forward. So that you provide something truly innovative.
Golden Krishna
Golden Krishna@goldenkrishna · "The Best Interface is No Interface"
Thank you everyone! What a treat. Hope you get to read more about my book at http://www.nointerface.com, and feel free to reach out anytime: golden.krishna@gmail.com