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Scotland The Brave? I Hope So!

Karl Smith


There is an identity problem in Scotland, it’s trying so hard not to offend its throwing away its destiny to lead.

I remember over fifteen years ago going to a well-respected marketing and design agency in Edinburgh and talking about User Experience. The response I got was they could see no value in it and that their clients would not pay for it (of course they never asked their clients). They were not alone in seeing it as unnecessary, a drain on time and costs. Since then things have changed a great deal, the early adopters of User Experience have wiped the floor with people of limited vision. UX has established new ways of doing things that could never have been imagined by people who considered themselves the creative heart of Scotland. But this goes back to the core of UX; it’s all about the end user, not about an elite imposing their own vision upon people.

Over the last fifteen years there has been a dramatic change too in what UX does. It used to lead, innovate, invigorate and work with the CTO, CIO and CFO from the top down and produce an ROI of 2000% to 3500%. Then came the data analytics crowd to carve out their space in Customer Experience (CX). Completely bypassing that UX has always been driven by quantitative and qualitative data produced by the same person who creates the solutions. Then the influx of graphic designers turning the UX into a design activity without any proof that the solution created was the right one for the end users. More recently everyone is now UX, front end UX developers, UX data architect and I believe refuse collection has a UX option too.

The next revolution will just be for UX and CX people as graphic user interfaces are not required in the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT operates at a machine to machine, machine to semantics and machine to data manner without GUI’s. There will naturally still be visual systems but the IoT enables quicker more meaningful systems using voice, touch, proximity and eye movement to select, interact, transact and acquire. The use of AR, VR and MR further exacerbates this major change in information consumption and interactive behaviour by moving content out of containers into user context. Top down container websites lost their meaning years ago as side entry to content became common, AR, VR and MR will draw the content into their containers and websites will go the way of record shops.

With the rise of IoT, we are once again in an early adopter’s situation. Will Scotland be as reserved as it was fifteen years ago with UX, waiting for others to create the market? Or will it shake off its subservient hang-ups and step up, Be Brave and take a leadership role in shaping this next revolution?

Karl Smith

CEO, EVP, Consulting Director of Transformation & Change

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